The Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 185
Revitalization in a church certainly requires good planning, strategy, and execution. However, undergirding all of that is the necessity of spiritual health. A spiritually unhealthy church may find short-term gains, but sustainability only comes when people, and in particular, church leadership, are right with God and others.
Beginning a revitalization process in the church should first include an introspective look at the spiritual condition of those working on the revitalization plan. As a part of this week’s episode of the Church Revitalization Podcast, we’ve provided a free download of our Spiritual Formation Worksheet.
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1. Revitalization Starts with Prayer
How can we pursue the things of God or be in right relationship with him if we’re not in communication with him? Churches that truly value prayer excel at this. Others need to be intentional about cultivating this value to a greater degree. Below are several key areas that we suggest churches pray about specifically while going through a revitalization process.
- Pray for guidance by the Holy Spirit – We are to pursue the things of God and seek to discern those things. Too often this step is skipped and instead God is asked to bless our own plans.
- Pray for Unity – This is especially important for the leadership team working on the revitalization plan. Positive anticipation of what God will do through the church should flow out from the team and bring in the rest of the church.
- Pray for Vision – One of the chief issues in declining churches is a lack of future-focused vision for making disciples of Jesus. This is not always easy to capture and requires movement by the Holy Spirit to open people eyes to the opportunities the church has before it.
- Pray for Endurance – Revitalization is not an overnight fix. It took the church years to decline, and it will take years to recover. Some positive movement can come quickly, but it will take endurance on the part of the leadership and the people to continue pursuing healthy things to sustain revitalization.
- Pray for Divine Protection – Satan will see the gains you make and will oppose you.
- Pray for Gospel Opportunities – It is what the Apostle Paul truly cared about at the most basic level, and we should too. The mission of the church and every individual follower of Christ is to make disciples of Jesus. We should be praying for opportunities to do so.
- Pray for the Strategic Leadership Team – It’s not an easy job to lead a church through change. Those participants need prayer to lead well.
2. Revitalization Requires Healthy Relationships
The first page of the Spiritual Formation Worksheet focuses on our relationships with God and others.
- Relationship with God: Repent & Confess Sin
What a gift God gives in the opportunity for us to continually improve our relationship with him through confession and repentance. These are spiritual practices much less talked about in protestant theology, but nonetheless important. In prayer, we should consider our sinfulness, and seek God’s power to overcome.
- Relationship with Others: Forgive & Be Forgiven
In a team environment especially, we must set the stage for the best possible outcomes. By Jesus’ command, we should pursue reconciliation with brothers and sisters and forgive others as we’ve been forgiven. This will help cultivate an environment ripe for creativity, unity, innovation, expression, and ultimately, Kingdom expansion.
3. Revitalization Depends on Healthy Attitudes & Actions
The second page of the Spiritual Formation Worksheet focuses on how we handle ourselves. With a healthy level of self-awareness and emotional intelligence, we can control our attitudes and actions. Doing that will make the revitalization process more enjoyable for the team and more successful overall.
- Align your attitude
Negativity and cynicism can suck the air out of a room instantly. A healthy leadership team will allow others to express themselves, and seek the best from everyone. The church needs your best effort.
- Align your actions
A healthy, positive attitude should help aline you to positive actions as well. The team needs truth to be spoken. Sometimes that truth may be hard to hear, but when spoken in love and care for the future of the church, among the revitalization team, may the appropriate venue. Another primary function of the team will be to cultivate fresh ideas. Shooting others down will stifle conversation and innovation. Keep it positive and build each other up.
Your church will not get a lot of chances at revitalization. Setting up for success is important, and investing in spiritual health is always a good investment. Serving as a leader in the process changes people for the better when they enter into it right, and seek God throughout.
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A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive and travels internationally to teach and train pastors to lead healthy disciple-making churches. A.J. lives in the Ft. Worth, Texas area, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.