April/May 2016 Vol 2 Issue 2
“A Revitalization Retreat in Every Issue”
Being Bold for the Cause of Church Revitalization!
“The only magazine dedicated to Church Revitalization.” ~ Tom Cheyney
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Intentional Prayer for Intentional Boldness
Preaching with Boldness
32 Donâ€™t Be Like
By Joel R. Breidenbaugh
By Lee Kricher
By Chris Irving
Boldness and Risk Taking By Greg Kappas
Being Bold vs. Being a Bully By John Kimball
INSIDE THIS ISSUE 10 Do You Have the Guts to Take On a Fixer Upper? By Tracy Jaggers
Pastors, are You Providing Leadership Touchdowns? By Glenn Stewart
Always Faithful By Ron Smith
THE LEADERSHIP LINK… By Michael Atherton
12 28 30
To Boldly Go - God’s Call for Today’s Church Revitalizer’s By Darwin Meighan
“The only magazine dedicated to Church Revitalization.”
Triage for the Stuck Church By Steve Smith
Leading From a Seat of Boldness in Student Ministry By Drew Cheyney
Characteristics of the Mister Rodger’s Type Worship Service By Tom Cheyney
36 Mobilizing an Army of Church Revitalizers By Tom Cheyney 38
Revitalizing Through the Power of Partnering with Parents By Bill Hegedus
Three Kinds of Takers By Jim Grant
Turning Around An Invisible Church By Bob Whitesel
God’s Unlikely Choices By Terry Rials
Is Your Marriage Revitalized? By Estelle Myers
The Possibilities Are… (Part 1) By Kenneth Priest
When a Lack of Boldness Hurts the Church Revitalization Process By Mark Weible
Rescue You! By Rob Myers
The Church Revitalizer Book Reviewer: Rob Hurtgen
57 Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together 57 God Dreams: 12 Vision Templates For Finding And Focusing Your Church’s Future.
Rob Hurtgen is the Pastor of First Baptist Church Chillicothe, Missouri. He holds an M.Div from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree in Church Revitalization from MidWestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to Shawn since 1995, and they have five children.
Your One Stop Shop for Church Revitalization and Renewal Resources!
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Revitalizer Volume 2, No. 2
The Church Revitalizer is published bi-monthly by Renovate Publishing Group 1906 West Lee Road Orlando, FL 32810 Email: ChurchRevitalizer.guru
PUBLISHER Dr. Tom Cheyney Associate Publisher Mark Weible Associate Publisher Circulation & Marketing Linda Goans Executive Editor & Brand Manager Tom Cheyney Magazine Designer & Format Editor Gerald Brown Executive Director of Advertizing Linda Goans Web Ad Traffic Director Mark Weible Digital Media Architect Josh Trotter
by Tom Cheyney
Welcome to the the Church Revitalizer Magazine: A Church Revitaliztion Retreat in Every Issue!
After a great inagurial year of having church members and revitalization pastors asking would the Renovate Publishing Group consider publishing a magazine exclusively on the subject of Church Revitalization and Renewal, we have launched a bi-monthly subscriber donation based magazine for the purpose of raising up the conversation regarding this critical need in the local church. Our goal every other month is to provide you with a Church Revitalization Retreat in every issue. During these issues we are assisting with a clearer understanding of revitalization terms. With the field of church revitalization and renewal expanding so quickly, here are a few of the key fundamental definitions to begin ones journey: Catalytic Event: As a church deals with its stuckness, most often it will see in the reoccurring patterns that the church will be lead back to a catalytic event which serves as a critical moment from which the germs of paralysis begin to take hold of the church fellowship. The principle is that the negative patterns in a churchâ€™s life began at an event or a small series of events, which radically and perpetually altered the life of the congregation. Entrance Points: are those unique opportunities for connection a local church has which will draw prospects into the church. Most stuck churches need to add a minimum of eight new entrance points into the church to begin a movement towards turnaround. Stay connected, more is coming... This issue is focused around
For subscription information contact this office at: www.churchrevitalizer.guru/subscriptions. Subscriptions donations are $30.00 per year for six issues, $52.00 for two years (12 issues). Outside the U.S. add $10.00 per year prepaid.
Stock images from ISTOCK Photo or where otherwise noted. ÂŠ Copyright 2016 Renovate Publishing Group
Being Bold for Church Revitalization!
Dr. Tom Cheyney is the Founder and Directional Leader of Renovate National Church Revitalization Conference and Executive Editor of the Church Revitalizer.
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Do You Have the Guts to Take On a Fixer Upper? My wife and I love to watch HGTV and The History Channel. One night a week we rush to the basement to watch Chip and Joanna Gaines from Waco, TX on Fixer Upper. Their catch phrase/ question, at the beginning of each episode, is the title of this article. I realized one night how this home renovation series parallels revitalization. It is a risky proposal. It is a process besieged with many difficult decisions! It is amazing how each week the stark reality of the original structure determines the cost of the renovation and the subsequent timeline required for the transformation. This is true of revitalization. So what is required to be a fixer upper? You will need to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly…. oops, sorry! That’s the Boy Scout motto! Here’s the list: • Everything must be evaluated. Nothing can be left to chance. The initial inspection reveals whether the bones are good enough for revitalization to proceed. A renovation without a full inspection can easily start with a faulty foundation. Some projects need to be “bulldozed” and started again from ground zero. In our process, we scrutinize every ministry, committee, team, program, event, system and all the documents of the church. No rock can be unturned. Everything the church does must adhere to the values and mission of the church! I have even seen Constitution and Bylaws that keep a church from moving forward. Start with a strong evaluation and a solid foundation. Get a good inspector. You can find several in this magazine.
• It requires a variety of tools. The revitalization process should start with a sharp tool – say the Sword. The Word of God provides the biblical basis for evaluation, church health, transformation, teamwork, strategic planning, etc. Take a long look at the book of Nehemiah for the steps to revitalization. Second, a hammer/ sledge is helpful when something needs to be broken or demolished – and some things should be done away with, especially if they dilute the vision and direction of the church. In some cases, the past needs to be buried for the new foundation to be laid. Could dynamite be considered a tool? Probably not! The detail tools must never be overlooked. A finish-nailer makes a tiny hole and yet holds with more than adequate strength. Revitalizing is best performed when the gaps are filled and the wounds or scars are dealt with and conflict gives way to unity and harmony! My favorite tool is the pliers! I love putting the squeeze on those who don’t want to go along with me! Yes, that is a toolbox hyperbole! You can add your own tools to the box or contact a revitalizer who has already put together a toolbox based on previous experience and expertise gleaned from other wise rebuilders. • Know the Materials needed for restructuring. Some building materials and decorating items don’t appeal to me, but my wife loves them. Our preferences don’t always coincide. This is also true of revitalization, but it is the opportunity to strive for unity and compromise. The most important material is PRAYER. Prayer helps people find the mind of Christ and settle on
by Tracy Jaggers
a resolution to which all can harmoniously accept. Wallpaper the entire process with prayer as you restructure and rebuild and move forward. Also, revitalization leaders need to recognize that we will not make everyone happy all the time. What is required to gut and renovate the body may disappoint or anger some. It hurts to tear down that structurally unsound wall that was built by someone’s relatives many years ago, but the renewal will not be safe and beautiful unless it is dealt with. • Be willing to count the cost – The Gaines have faced many set-backs in fixing up homes for their clients. At times they were over-budget and other times way beyond the renovation timeline. The process of revitalization is not a perfect process, but we have a perfect God Who joins us in the task of making His Bride ready for His return. The Gaines chose to sacrifice TV time to be on TV. Ironic! But we, like they, must be willing to offer normalcy and comfort to become relevant, innovative and productive for the Kingdom of God. The time and discomfort is worth the renovation. “DO YOU have the guts to be a fixer upper?”
Tracy W. Jaggers D.Min.
Associational Director of Missions Gateway Baptist Association
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Each and every week, the RENOVATE National Church Revitalization Podcast publishes a free audio training covering various aspects of church revitalization and renewal. Hosted by Tom Cheyney, each podcast features content for this week’s edition of his Church Revitalization and Renewal training. Included in this series of equipping tools are interviews with key Church Revitalizers and in-depth commentary and analysis from pastors, revitalization coaches, laity, and practitioners in the field of church revitalization and renewal. RenovateConference.org/podcast
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“A Revitalization Retreat in Every Issue” RenovateConference.org/magazine 11
Pastors, are You Providing Leadership Touchdowns? “What do you mean provide leadership? I’m a pastor; of course that’s what I do.”
picture of the future of the ministry, as you believe that it can and must be.”
I agree… to say we as pastors must provide leadership doesn’t sound like an “aha” moment. But it can be. Truly forming a full understanding of what it means to provide leadership and implementing a servant leadership culture in your church is a huge touchdown. Success can lead to renewal of enthusiasm, energy, and enjoyment. And we all want to enjoy ministry!
Conveying your vision involves the following critical steps:
The Three Components of Providing Leadership:
Dr. Jim Laub is the author of the Organizational Leadership Assessment (www.olagroup.com), a heavily researched model of servant leadership. He identifies six disciplines that when practiced make for effective leadership and a successful organization - yes the church is an organization as well as an organism. As you can guess, one of the six core servant leadership principles is providing leadership. “Providing leadership” may sound as simple as “Go get ‘em tiger,” but in actuality it can be as difficult as facing an undefeated team in a championship. There are three critical components to providing leadership: envisioning the future, initiating action, and clarifying direction. 1. How to Envision the Future You, the pastor, are responsible for establishing vision and direction. Professor and church consultant, Aubrey Malphurs, states that, “Vision is a clear, challenging 12
• Paint a clear picture of the preferred future. What is the desired end state? • Take into account the dreams and aspirations of those you lead; they need to see themselves in the picture. • Test your vision with your leaders and be open to their input. • Articulate the vision clearly, deliver it passionately, and implement it relentlessly. Crafting and casting vision requires boldness, a sense of daring. Just like football coaches, leaders have to be willing to step out and take risks, to step into unknown territory. The known has you where you are. It’s time for the unknown, uncharted waters of uncertainty based on the clear vision God has given you, the passionate picture of a preferred future. I have found, particularly in smaller churches, that being caught up in management costs you effective leadership. Do all you can to free yourself from operational management so you can champion the vision and develop strategies to fulfill it. The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. - Helen Keller 2. How to Initiate Action Leaders are active not passive, they act rather than react. A bold
by Glenn Stewart
vision without corresponding execution is only a dream. Taking the initiative to act involves being dissatisfied with the status quo, seeing the changes that need to be made, and seizing new opportunities. Perhaps church problems, malcontents, or conflicts have gone unattended for years before you arrived as pastor. Rather than bemoan the situation, it’s time for you to lovingly, patiently, and firmly address the issues. Do not see the hurdles as barriers, but as challenges to overcome, as doorways to new and improved ministry effectiveness. It may be that everyone and everything is “fine” within your ministry but the church’s mission of making disciples lies dormant. Through prayerful preparation you must develop a plan, communicate a sense of urgency, and establish high expectations for your people. Pastors need to take the initiative in moving the ball down the field. Progress isn’t all about the fifty yard touchdown bomb; rather it is the consistency of three yards and a cloud of dust. Leaders and teams can always celebrate one hard fought first down after another, because that’s what leads to progress and advancement in ministry. Proverbs 6:6 uses the illustration of ants to teach some valuable lessons about initiating action.
Lessons from the Ant:
1. The ant takes initiative on her own without needing external prompting.
The ant has no chief, officer, or ruler. No one is prodding, pleading, or motivating her to do something. We can emulate the ant in taking initiative by pursuing opportunities, figuring out how to get the work done, and disciplining ourselves to stay focused on the task. 2. The ant takes action. She knows what to do and when to do it. She doesn’t postpone activity, or make excuses for not doing the work, but says “Let’s get it done.” When the ants’ mound is destroyed, rebuilding begins immediately. Nothing stands in their way. It’s easy to succumb to talking about what needs to be done instead of doing what needs to be done. Ideas are easy, executing is hard. There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded. – Mark Twain 3. How to Clarify Direction A key aspect of leadership is getting everyone on the same page; imagine a team huddle if you will. It is building ministry alignment. The leader (pastor) and followers (people) know where they are going, why they are going there, and who does what to help get the team there. Ask yourself, “Do people have the direction they need to carry out their ministry responsibilities?” This requires clear communication.
Two Vital Aspects of Clear Communication: Structure Some people don’t like much of
anything to do with structure. It seems stifling and inhibiting. But for clarity of communication, time must be taken to determine what to say and how to say it. As a pastor, you do this every week with your sermons. It also needs to be done with your leadership communication. Meandering doesn’t work well when preaching and teaching and it doesn’t work well in setting direction either. Well-structured messaging gives confidence to the listeners that you know where you are heading and where you are taking them. Here are some quick tips for delivering important, clear communication: • Spend time anticipating questions and objections, and forming appropriate responses. • Establish your mental and emotional framework. • Determine which attitudes you want to express. • Say the words out loud - try out different combinations to hear how they sound. • What tone of voice will you use? What facial expressions and body language will match the words and attitudes you have chosen? This may all sound like too much work for a seemingly simple leadership communication. But misunderstanding happens easily and takes precious time to attempt to overcome.
Inspiration For some this is a strong suit, while others of us have to consciously work at being inspirational. Inspiration helps leaders gain buy-in and reaches people at the level of their emotions. It provides positive energy for the group and the achievement of their goals. Effective leadership communication delivers the message with passion. Being expressive says “this is important.” At the same time it is positive and encouraging. We can do this together. Encouragement gives confidence and hope to those you lead. It helps them feel good about the work they are doing in advancing the mission of the church. The Bible exhorts us to, “Encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). We do this personally but also with the congregation as a whole. The Ball’s in Your Hands:
Envision the future. Initiate action. Clarify direction. Which of these three areas do you need or want to develop? You may find it helpful to select one and prioritize one or two action steps that you can implement beginning this week. As the shepherd of God’s flock, you are the leader taking the sheep to the green pastures of responsibility as well as rest. There may be unexpected obstacles when you’re coaching in the most important championship of all, but the good news is that you’ve got the ultimate head coach! He’ll see you through.
Glenn C. Stewart, is the pastor of Faith Community Church in DeBary, FL. and the founder of LifeEquip, Inc. (a coaching and consulting ministry for pastors and churches). You can reach him at email@example.com.
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Triage for the Stuck Church “They didn’t teach me anything about that in seminary.” Has that thought ever crossed your mind? We all started ministry somewhere. No matter where it was, we faced an array of challenges for which nothing we studied in school prepared us. The most common challenge I find is most pastors do not know what to address when they come to the place of asking, “Why is my congregation stuck and going nowhere?” They sense there is still life in the congregation. They notice that there are lost people peppering their neighborhood who need the gospel. They are not ready to throw in the towel and walk away from their church family just yet. But they are not happy that they do not know what to do. Perhaps you are one of these pastors. You have worked at leading your congregation to new growth. You have tried a number of tactics: special meetings, new programs for children and youth, outreach events, prayer times to pray that God would spark a hunger for the lost in His people. You have worked to improve your preaching skills and chosen sermon topics that will speak to a wider audience. Perhaps you have changed the church’s name, updated the worship style and adapted to the local culture. Maybe you personally have become a presence in the community, going to local Chamber of Commerce meetings, becoming a chaplain for the police or fire departments, coaching a local sports team, or lending your abilities as a counselor to help troubled people outside the church. But the church still has not grown.
To top it all off, possibly a new church has opened its doors close by. You have seen as you passed by on Sundays how people from your neighborhood are going there— people you wish would come to your church. Or it maybe you are the new pastor of the church. You have found out that the church is friendly but unready to grow. Note that I said unready, not unwilling. They may also be unwilling, but that is because they have lost sight of who they are in Christ. Am I hitting a nerve? You are pastoring a church that is essentially inward-focused. The attenders love being together or, at least, are stuck together by history, theology or proximity. They probably will stay together until members move away or die and the survivors have to close the doors. They may be glad you are their pastor but they’re nowhere close to being ready to be a thriving church. And you may not have the foggiest idea how to change the church’s direction because they didn’t teach you anything about that in seminary. Your ministry to them doesn’t have to continue being like this. Where you need to start is doing a triage evaluation so you can discover what is at the heart of what is wrong for your church. What this triage will do is help you face where you need help and direct you where to find help to redevelop your congregation into a healthy, outward-focused church. Triage is a term created by doctors for medics on the battlefield who were the first to deal with
By Steve Smith the wounded and dying. They recognized that not all the men they were handling were going to recover. So they invented protocols to sort the wounded into categories: those lightly wounded whose medical treatment could be delayed, those who had to have immediate help there at the medical tent in order to survive and those who needed to be made comfortable because they were not going to make it. The triage process looks at identifiable signs so that a decision of what to do with the wounded person can be made as rapidly as possible. A church triage process involves looking at identifiable signs in certain critical systems to see what they reveal about the congregation’s health. If some of these systems are broken, rebuilding them will be your first step in renewing the church. If all of these critical systems are down, the church is moving toward death. Just by knowing this harsh reality can give you the direction, empowered by the Spirit, in which to lead the congregation. A local congregation is more resilient than a dying human body because Jesus, who reigns over his Church, is in its midst. He can breathe life back into the congregation. Jesus has the power to change their minds and hearts. And he is willing to use you as his undershepherd to bring this about. Do not forget that. Which systems are critical for understanding the level of health in your church? If you look closely at any church, you will discern the presence of
Continued on Page 22
Leading From a Seat of Boldness in Student Ministry
You have probably heard this early on in your leadership, but you & I as leaders are supposed to be leaders of “boldness.” The decisions we make, approaches we take, and ministries we develop are supposed to reflect that very trait. However, it seems like the longer we do this “ministry thing” the easier it is to actually lead people from the ever so popular comforts of stagnancy and the proverbial seat of “this is just what we have always done” mentalities. Conversely, the longer we as student pastors lead students, parents, and leaders, the more we should all feel burdened to push further, harder, better, faster, stronger, and every other adverb/ adjective you can find in Kanye West’s 2009 song “Stronger.” The truth is, there are times where we all settle for the exact opposite of boldness when it comes to leading our Student Ministries and church’s, so here is the question at hand: Are YOU Currently Leading YOUR Student Ministry Boldly? A great place to start when you are answering this question is to look at your fan club. For ministry in general, every single one of us have the goal of creating raving fans who love not only what we do, but rave about the ways we are engaging and leading our ministries. Having fans of our leadership and programs allows us the trust we need to change what may not be working as we continue to create a culture that allows students to develop and explore their relationships with Jesus. Nevertheless, the longer we lead our ministries the longer we will ALL encounter the proverbial parent, student, leader, or even team member who would just like what we do to stay the same. You may not have people like this in your church (wink wink) and if that is the case, that is a
blessing in itself, but there are some situations of leadership where “our people” will like what we do as long as what we do stays the same. However, leading from a seat of boldness means recognizing that while you may have a handful of people upset with you at times (or even weekly), bold leaders are the ones who are willing to walk through the messiness of people and frustrations and still push towards what God is calling our ministries to be in his Kingdom. What happens for most of us though is we tend to fight our desire to be leaders of movements and community impactors because with change comes uncomfortable conversations about our structures and approaches. To be clear upfront, I whole heartedly believe conflict is not a bad thing to have in seasons of ministry. In fact, confrontation is actually a healthy practice that defines great leaders from the rest of the pack. On a typical week, I have 3-4 parents/ students who do not like the approach our Student Ministry has taken with a specific situation, topic, or camp, and that is okay. In fact, I welcome that critique because it either shows me I am on the right track with the way God is challenging me to lead from a place of boldness, or if what I am doing really does not make a ton of sense. You see, conflict is going to happen, but how you work through your conflict not only strengthens you personally as a leader, but it also strengthens your influence by the way you handle uncomfortable situations. Everyone loves ministry when it’s a season of bliss, but it is the bold leader who figures out a way to love Student Ministry through the mess of his/her calling. One complication in leading from a seat of boldness is that it challenges
by Drew Cheyney us all to talk change. As leaders we are tasked with the responsibility to create sustainable environments that last, but a sustainable ministry is not one that does the same things all the time, but one that takes on the D.N.A of change. It is no shocker, but we as leaders are known for dreaming, creating, planning, and plotting day in and out. However, it is when those dreams and plans lead us to cut dinners that have been happening for 10 years, a camp that has become an institution, or an Awana’s curriculum that has been in place since the church was founded, that all “hell” breaks loose with our people. It is in these moments I would challenge you to ask yourself this question; were you brought into the position of leadership you are in to help lead people to Jesus boldly, or to make your regulars consistently happy with your decisions? Obviously this is a little tongue and cheek because we all know the answer to this question, but the truth of the matter is a lot of us are consistently choosing to make decisions that make our regulars happy and comfortable instead of leading in ways that bring restoration and transformation to a group of people (students) searching for something interesting and worth their time. Leaders, I cannot speak for you, but I can speak for myself; I am tired of playing church just trying to do things that make people happy, all the while wondering if the way I am leading is making God happy. Therefore, I encourage you to forever resign from a life of complacency, a marriage of stagnancy, and a leadership model that focus’ on just doing what has always been done. I implore you to fight for what gives you
Continued on page 36
Intentional Prayer for Intentional Boldness By Chris Irving
Last month, I went to a Lifeway Christian Bookstore because I needed to pick up a few things that you can’t find at your local Wal-Mart. I enjoy walking through the bookstore, looking for the next gospel gimmick for the church I pastor, or picking up a book on the latest trend in preaching. But the one thing I needed most, I couldn’t find at the local Lifeway or Family Christian Store or on amazon.com. They simply do not carry what I needed that day. BOLDNESS. I needed to open up a can of BOLDNESS. Remember that bold leader in the Old Testament who embodied every part of boldness, but not before he made a bold-mess? His name was Joshua. The first glimpse of boldness in Joshua’s life was crossing the Jordan River. It was the high water time for the river when God would call the people to cross over into the Promised Land. It would make much more sense to wait for the water level to drop, but they crossed because God and Joshua were close. Joshua met with God and listened to Him on a regular basis. God said it was time to go and Joshua knew that when God calls you to lead, then you must lead. Joshua led the people through the River Jordan and on to Jericho. Any military strategist would not have liked the plan the Lord gave to Joshua, yet Joshua had a certain faith in his God. The people marched and marched and gave their mighty shout and the walls came down just as God said. The next foe to fall was Ai. This is where Joshua stepped out and really took the lead. He heard the report from his men on the status of Ai. Joshua must have assumed that God would act just the same way He did at Jericho. The boldness of Joshua in this moment led to the bold-mess I referred to above. You know the story. Joshua sent 3,000 soldiers that day and they were completely embarrassed by an opponent that did not require the full army (at least according to reports made to Joshua). What were they lacking? God’s plan. Why were they lacking His plan? Because Joshua failed to seek God through prayer prior to the attack on Ai. It was Joshua’s own boldness, not boldness from the Lord, that filled his heart and mind with assumptions without direction from God. Remember, Joshua met the Lord on a regular basis. Prayer is such a vital link in revitalization and without it, you will find yourself in a bold-mess because of your self-generated boldness. Boldness, courage and strength does not come from our own planning, devising, or scheming. Rather boldness, courage, and strength comes from the Lord. If you do not pray and seek the Lord then you will find yourself in a bold-mess. Revi-
talization can be like real life...messy. But wading through the muck and mire of revitalization takes boldness and courage to keep moving forward as the Lord guides and directs. Pastor, as you pray, God places in your heart that thing which fills you with boldness, courage, and a quiet yet calm assurance that He is leading the revitalization effort. Listen to Ephesians 3:7-11 and pick up on Paul’s boldness and confidence... 7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.1 The Call of God is the Anchor of Boldness The anchor of boldness gives the ship a point at which it is secure and steady in stormy waters. Paul knew he was called to reach the Gentiles for God’s glory. In fact, his life motto was, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Pastor, you need some of what Paul had! Paul always referred back to his call. Read any of the greetings in Paul’s letters and you will always find a reference to his call. Romans 1:1, says “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God...” Do you see the anchor of Paul’s courage? Paul’s life and ministry revolved around this call to live as one sent and set apart for the Gospel. Could boldness in revitalization first come by the assurance and trust that God is in fact in the business of revitalizing churches? Yes, we gather assurance from God’s work of revitalization. But the real question you must wrestle with is, “Has God called you to lead revitalization?” Pray on this because like Joshua, you don’t want to go into battle before the Lord calls you. Your calling is the anchor you need to see revitalization through to completion, and 1 Scripture quotations are from The ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
without the anchor, you will surely be tossed to and fro like a ship lost in the storm. You’ll be headed for a boldmess, just like Joshua at Ai. The Gospel is the Catalyst for Boldness The catalyst for Paul’s ministry was his Damascus road conversion. He began a ministry not only preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but also preaching against false teaching and pollution of the gospel. Even in Paul’s day he had to write letters to churches, particularly the churches of Galatia, regarding Gospel pollution. He proclaimed the true Gospel. He was passionate about the Gospel because the Jesus of the Gospel changed his life. Gospel pollution is just as rampant in our churches today. The catalyst for you is the very Gospel which Paul so fiercely defended. The Gospel ought to drive you to pray for your people and grant you confidence to face each day as a day for revitalization. Look again at Ephesians 3 above...It is God’s power, not Paul’s that served as the catalyst for life-change. The Gospel is the source for life-change in people and the gospel is the catalyst for revitalization and life-change for a declining church. Through his access to the throne, Paul was able to write the Ephesians and claim to be the “very least of all the saints” while at the same time urging them to have “boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” Pastor, as you pray for your church and her revitalization with confident access through Jesus Christ, you are drawing on the “the unsearchable riches of Christ”. There is no greater source than Him. If you want to be a bold and courageous revitalizer, then you must be bold and courageous as you approach the throne of grace. We pray not with pride, but as the very least of all the saints. The Community Needs Boldness as Well It is not just the revitalizer that needs a fresh source of boldness, but your church needs to be reminded of her need for boldness in the face of revitalization. It is not only the pastor’s calling to make disciples, but the entire church is set apart for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote many of his letters to churches in a particular city or region, but one thing he frequently referenced in these letters was his habit of praying for each church. Pastor, you must pray for your church to find boldness in the same Gospel you are called to proclaim. Listen to Paul again in Ephesians 3:13-14, 16. “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father...that He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being...” Pastor, you must bow your knees before the Father and pray for your church to have the same boldness and confidence so they can walk the road of revitalization with you. Bold and courageous churches exists and turn around from decline because they first had a pastor who boldly prayed for the sheep they led.
Let me tell you of another bold servant of Christ. He was just a shoemaker. But he used his spare time to study Greek and Hebrew as well as other foreign languages. His world was small and somewhat insignificant in his little English village. Many in his life argued that he would be better off working a second job to provide for a family. But he could not shake the burden of knowing that millions of people outside of Europe would never hear the gospel. By seeking God’s direction and help, he figured out a way to serve. He boldly traveled to India to serve as the first Protestant missionary in the modern era. Because of his boldness, others like Adoniram Judson, and Hudson Taylor took up the cause of missions. Because this one man, William Carey, sought God’s direction, he boldly followed his God-given passion to a part of the world and reached an unreached people. What drove Paul, William and Adoniram? What will drive you? Prayer. Keep in mind that you cannot out- revitalize the Revitalizer which often happens when assuming too much without seeking Him first. You are called through Jesus Christ to approach the throne of grace with confidence, that you may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. I’m reminded after the Israelite loss at Ai, Joshua and the leadership fell before God in mourning because of the loss. They complained and questioned God about the defeat. God spoke and they received the truth that Israel had sinned. They had to repent, and destroy the false gods in their camp along with the people who took the devoted things from Ai. Have you tried or are you trying revitalization in your power? Does that power source grant you boldness? How is it working out for you? Have you found yourself in a bold-mess? You might need to repent of getting ahead of God. Pastor, intentionally seek the Lord on your knees and pray for intentional boldness. Be reminded of your calling, the Gospel, and the church you serve. Friend, do not lose heart over suffering, but remember in Christ you have boldness and access with confidence through your faith in Him. Pray! Pray! Pray! Chris Irving is the Lead Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Gonzales, TX.
Chris has served in ministry for 15 years in Texas. He led a small rural church to revitalization and is currently involved in the revitalization process of First Baptist Gonzales. He earned his Masters of Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Doctorate of Ministry in leadership studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Irving aims to help pastors equip the lay leadership of the church to serve in ministry. He and his wife, Amber have been married for 14 years and have six children.
Triage for the Stuck Church CONTINUED...
eighteen distinct systems. Yours may not share the same outward features as found in other congregations, but structurally, they function to accomplish exactly the same things. Now take a breath. I am not going to suggest that you need to triage all eighteen. That would be discouraging and a waste of time. In reality, triage for a stuck church involves looking at only five systems. Other systems can be problematic as well, but they are only symptoms of being unhealthy, not the root cause of unhealthiness. The five systems that matter for your evaluation are Spiritual Life, Vision, Evangelizing, Discipling and Leadership Training. These five are the core builders of church health. All other systems are linked to them. These are the starting point of church renewal. They empower your church to make and retain more disciples. You can obtain the Triage for Stuck Churches at www. churchequippers.com. The triage asks you to evaluate 5-6 aspects of each of the above systems. It is a weighted evaluation, based on what is there or not there, instead of how you feel or think about the system. The cumulative score will immediately tell you where each system is on the health spectrum. If you are facing the challenge of rebuilding some or all of these five systems, understand that they must be addressed in the order they appear. These five follow a sequence, with the first system providing the foundation for the next and so on. Healthy spiritual life leads to being ready to receive a vision from God. A healthy vision from God gives the congregation a passion to evangelize the lost around them. An influx of newly minted believers gives you people to disciple. Discipled believers supply potential new leaders to train. Your church is then ready to grow. You cannot jump into the middle of the sequence and expect to produce a healthy system. While you can prepare a system for evangelizing or discipling, how effective will these systems be if your congregation does not even see the lost who need the gospel? Or what value is pursuing a vision from God when your congregationâ€™s heart is not turned toward God? Following the sequence will get you to your goal of
By Steve Smith
a healthy congregation, even of it takes longer than you thought it would. You will need a coach to help you. Since there are a lot of things you never learned in seminary, you will need help grasping how new ideas will or will not work for your congregation. If you choose to pursue a coach, you will also benefit from having a copy of The Increasing Church Capacity Guidebook: Developing and Linking Church Systems by Dr. Steve Smith. This guidebook is unlike other resources which are heavy on reading. The Increasing Church Capacity Guidebook is a practical step-by-step workbook in building each of the systems you need, asking you to define your theology and answer pertinent questions so you can design each system to fit your congregation. If you want to find a coach or purchase resources, visit www.churchequippers.com.
Steve Smith is founder of ChurchEquippers Ministries,
a nonprofit organization training pastors, leaders, and churches in spiritual transformation and increasing church capacity. He has been involved in strategic church planting movements for 30 years. He is a strategic thinker, a relational networker, a mentor and coach to pastors and young leaders. Steve is the author of several books including The Key to Deep Change and The Increasing Capacity Guidebook. Born in Virginia, Steve is has been married for 40 years to his wife, Shirley, they have 4 children and 4 grandchildren. Their home base is in central Florida.
Or it maybe you are the new pastor of the church.You have found out that the church is friendly but unready to grow. Note that I said unready, not unwilling. They may also be unwilling, but that is because they have lost sight of who they are in Christ.
"Wearing too many hats to grow your church?"
Expand your capacity
WITH CHURCH SYSTEMS Increasing Church Capacity Primer available on Amazon.com. Increasing Church Capacity Guidebook and other Church Systems resources available at
Preaching with Boldness by Joel R. Breidenbaugh Once upon a time a pastor stepped into the pulpit of the church he had served for the last ten months and preached against the sins of pride and lukewarm-ness. He noted how people in the community described his church in those terms and loudly proclaimed, “I want to see those things kicked out of our church!” No one said, “Amen.” A few men cleared their throats. A couple of women quit looking at the preacher. The sermon continued and ended without any compliments. Rather than wait for the next deacons’ meeting three weeks later, the deacons called an emergency meeting without the pastor. They agreed their preacher didn’t really know them and had no business being so angry in his preaching. They adjourned and two of them went to visit him in the pastorium. They informed him it was time to look elsewhere, because he wasn’t being effective at their church and was making people upset. The pastor resigned the following Sunday with a mixture of sadness and madness. Wasn’t God’s church supposed to treat him better than this? This fairy-tale story isn’t from a make-believe world of what-ifs but rather a real-life account that could be told by many preachers. In light of such events, some pastors leave the ministry. Others go on to another church, but they become a soft-spoken preacher, losing the boldness they once had. If you have been a pastor for more than a few months, you will regularly face the temptation to preach softly—without conviction, confidence or boldness. Much of the fear lies with wanting to be liked so you can remain employed and pay your family’s bills. Step on the wrong toes, and you can find yourself out on the street. So how do you revitalize a church if such a threat exists? How do you preach with boldness when that very boldness may get you fired? Let me offer a few suggestions. 24
First, love the people. Visit them in their homes, at their jobs, in the hospital or at the ball field. Eat with them. Talk with them. Laugh with them. Cry with them. But most importantly, love them. When problems arise (and they arise at every church), people will deal with you differently if they know you love them. Second, mix love and truth, grace and judgment. Too many preachers hammer their people over their darkness without showing them the light. Have you ever read through the Prophets? If you are like most people, you avoid them, because you assume their message is nothing but doomand-gloom. But it’s not. There’s plenty of judgment in what they say, but each one offers rays of hope. Yes, Paul wants us all to “speak the truth,” but to do it “in love” (Ephesians 4:15). We must preach on sin and the judgment to come, but not without providing those wonderful words of the gospel of God’s grace in Christ. Third, plan to stay. The work of the pastor is not easy and a difficult church won’t turnaround overnight. Many struggling churches are in their predicaments because they have had a string of short-term pastors. Sure, some were forced out but others left on their own, long before they should have. You must make a commitment to endure and persevere. Eugene Peterson once defined perseverance as “long obedience in the same direction.” That’s what pastors need. Fourth, listen to the Lord. Sure, I could have listed this one first, but too many guys abuse it. They say things like, “I’ve prayed about it and the Lord wants me to deal with such-and-such an issue,” hardly caring how insensitive or uncaring it will sound. Don’t hear me say: “Don’t address the big issues in a church,” because I’m not saying that. What I am saying is the people need to know and experience your love for them before you tell them what’s wrong with the church they’ve been part of for
years. And you need to tell them that. Just make sure you are telling them God’s Word for their lives in love. Fifth, find the right time. You cannot say everything you need to say in any given setting or sermon. You also don’t want to unload all the problems on your audience in one setting. If you do, they will feel overwhelmed, defeated and hopeless. They will also probably get angry. Address an issue or two at a time, including ways to make the changes they need. Think of it this way: if you go to your doctor every year and he never challenges you to eat better or exercise or take vitamins, you go away feeling pretty good about yourself. But one year you show up and he says you are overweight and are low on vitamin D and need blood pressure medicine and should start exercising extensively and more. You will wonder why he hasn’t said some of those things to you before so your health wouldn’t have gotten into such a mess (I actually had a dentist do something like that to me once after I had religiously visited her for a few years. I found a new dentist who shoots straight with me every visit). If we can feel that way from a visit to the doctor, why would we expect our people to take it all at once in a sermon? Sixth, preach through books of the Bible. You are probably wondering how this fits with the other advice I’ve given. It’s actually pretty simple: preaching through books of the Bible will force you to deal with a myriad of sins and problems in life. You can address them in a timely way, as well as the way the Lord addressed them to the original hearers. And you get to spread them out so you aren’t dumping them on your people all at once. Expository preaching has a way of declaring the whole counsel of God over time and that’s exactly what we all need. Finally, say what needs to be said. After you have shown love to the people, read God’s Word, prayed and looked for the right time, follow through and say what they need to hear—not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. Tell them about their pride or about their greed or about their lukewarm-ness in appro-
Once upon a time a pastor stepped into the pulpit of the church he had served for the last ten months and preached against the sins of pride and lukewarm-ness. He noted how people in the community described his church in those terms and loudly proclaimed, “I want to see those things kicked out of our church!” No one said, “Amen.” A few men cleared their throats. A couple of women quit looking at the preacher. The sermon continued and ended without any compliments.
priate messages. They may not like to hear what you have to say, but if you do it out of love and mix grace with judgment, they will most likely listen. And if they don’t change right away, your plan to stay can help them with that. And you and your church can do your best to “live happily ever after,” at least as you preach boldly with a view toward eternity. So may it happen and may you preach with boldness— by the grace of God and for the glory of God and the good of His people.
Joel Breidenbaugh is the lead pastor of FBC Sweetwater where he has led the church in revitalization and renewal. He is a contributing author to a new Christian Theology book due out early next year. 25
Characteristics of the Mister Rodger’s Type Worship Service The Mister Roger’s type of mild monotone worship is killing us! Question: Is your worship service more like a Mister Roger’s program or an energetically charged Toby Mac concert? How can you tell for sure? Here are some characteristics of the Mister Rodger’s worship service: • • • • • • • • • •
Quiet in its demeanor Soft mild mannered in what is does weakly! (Opps I mean weekly) Very tranquil Insufferably boring Plods along with no variety (pace is methodical) Monologue based Orderly Un-engaging of the young and masses Music that is regressive rather than progressive! Tame, Safe and Sterile
This is why most men and the majority of young men would rather spend eternity in Hell rather than sit in our church pews! (Book recommendation: Why Men Hate Going to Church) Worship should sparkle like a diamond not like the mud it came out of. Boldness is like percussion in the right hands. Boldness is characterized by: • Edgier rhythm and sound • Instruments that captivate the soul. (Drums, flutes, brass, guitars, electric pianos.) • A never ending array of the visual in worship at various levels. • Photos • Paintings • Drawings • Lighting that is exciting and varied! • Sound that is more than the turn it on type. WE ARE LIVING IN THE ERA OF THE BOLD! So be bold. The boldness of the Christian faith is found in Jesus Christ Himself! Bold does not rise above Jesus’ boldness. Do not soft peddle Jesus. Go bold with Jesus because He was the ultimate in bold! If you go Bold, you will take the church out of the building and into the streets! Bold lives on mission and is mission driven to go therefore unto the entire world! Go public in a bold way and watch the community be drawn to your church! The bolder your church becomes to the general public the greater opportunity you have to draw them into the offerings you and your church provide. - Tom Cheyney
Always Faithful! Semper Fi is the Marine Corp tag line and greeting. Semper Fidelis is Latin for “always faithful.” When a Marine says this we are expressing our loyalty to God, Country and Corp. This statement is a statement of boldness, integrity and intention. As I reflect on my Marine Corp training I realize I have utilized so much of it as a Pastor. The “battles” we fight as a minister of the gospel are just as real and even more spiritual. God used my time as a Marine to prepare me for the calling of ministry. Let me share these lessons and adapt for the ministry.
Seven Bold Lessons I Learned from the United States Marine Corp #1 – We must be Faithful in Dealing With Fear and Uncertainty. Courage is pushing through the fear. Leading the charge to move a church to be on mission for Christ will always involve an element of fear and uncertainty. The work of ministry in areas of revitalization, church growth and church planting will have elements of fear. Of course I’m not talking about the spirit of fear that we know the Bible speaks against (I Timothy 3:7). The fear I speak of is environmental fear. You cannot find a servant of God in the Bible that was not the least bit timid of the task before them. We are not immune to the same feelings of fear. We fear things like finances, opinions, direction, and provision. You have to know that Noah faced these fears. Noah must have asked questions like these: - What if the townspeople are right? - What if it doesn’t rain? - Will this thing float? - What if only one animal out of a pair shows up? We, like Noah, fret over things in ministry. Fear and uncertainty are part of the path we walk as we follow God’s direction. God repeated to Joshua – “Do not fear…” God knew that along the way Joshua would encounter things that challenged his trust in God. Never break one of God’s laws out of fear. Fear will paralyze you and cause you to second guess God and sidestep His path. Fear seeks to intimidate so it can permeate your thinking. 28
by Ron Smith Feature Writer #2 – We must Be Faithful in Developing Trust and Respect. Nothing you can learn about leadership is as important as earning trust. Trust is earned and established with consistency and quality of character. Great leaders must first be great men. The standards of our calling are in print for all to read. We find them in I Timothy 3:1-7. Strength of character and depth of trust carry a pastor when a bold declaration of direction or vision is stated. Being able to say, “Trust me, this is the direction we need to go” is important. Often the church will follow the man they trust more than the direction they see. Leading a church requires bold tenacity to make hard decisions. Almost anyone can make hard decisions. Making hard decisions the right way with the right heart sets you apart. People will follow a leader they trust. When the time comes to step out on a decision as a leader it will be character and trust not charisma and talent they follow. Trust is earned in ministry. As our lives line up with scripture the people will instinctively know they can follow you. How is trust earned? I Thessalonians 5:12 says, “…as we labor among…serve over…and admonish them.” Roll up your sleeves, get knee deep in renovation, lead them and love them. #3 – We must be Faithful in Taking Risks. Courage is most obvious when choosing between what is popular and what is right. We like the early church face three futures. Every year thousands of churches close their doors. As a minister you must show the church the choices before them. Our three futures: 1) Risktakers, 2) Caretakers, or 3) Undertakers. To step out in faith is to take risks. Again, we now that faith in our God is not risk but c’mon if you were Daniel in the lions den wouldn’t it feel risky? If you were Gideon, Moses, or even more so, one of the twelve disciples that were told to never mention the name of Jesus again – wouldn’t you feel like you were risking life, family, and future? As believers if we aren’t a people of faith then what are we? We don’t need reasons why it can’t be done,
we needs reasons why we should do it!! The worst decision is indecison. #4 - We must be Faithful in Equipping Others. You can’t lead very well from the rear. This one does not need a lot of words. As leaders we must boldly ask people to serve, give and go. It’s our job! Yet too many pastors are not equipping people for the work of ministry. Get out from behind the desk and ask people to come alongside of you and serve. #5 – We must be Faithful in Clarity. Making sure the people understand the goal. Leadership is an action verb. Don’t just talk about the vision lead them to it. Communicating the win…defining the result…casting the vision…laying out the direction. All of these catch phrases capture the meaning of this point. As ministers it is our job to show them the Father and the Frontier. Discipleship is not a circular process of ever learning and seldom serving. We are not called to make “spiritual porkers” we are called to develop active believers. Declaring direction and announcing a vision takes boldness. The more faithful we are clarifying the “what” the fewer “why” questions you will receive. #6 – You must be Faithful in Training Yourself. “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching…” I Timothy 4:16 Here it is: You must manage yourself before you can manage others. Here is the greatest church growth tool: Focus on your call and everything else comes in to view. A Pastor is a living example of what it means to move forward in Christ. If everything rises and falls on leadership then the continual development of our call must be a priority. As ministers we must train ourselves everyday. As a Marine in the 80’s we were trained to be ready for a 48-hour deployment anywhere in the world. Our calling as Ministers is to be ready for any season. We must ready to be called upon to live out our calling. Our calling is not a 9-5 job. Our calling is a lifestyle. “Follow me” were not words spoken of convenience. These words re-stated are, Let’s Go!
Read books. Stay fresh, current and relevant. There is nothing worse than stale faith and dry sermons. Everyday is training day. #7 – We must be Faithful in Endurance. The difference between victory and defeat comes down to endurance. The Marines call this Bearing. You may have heard it expressed this way, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine.” From the moment one becomes a Marine it is made crystal that you are forever a Marine. You are taught to hold high the standards of the Marine Corp – live out your training. As Ministers we hear the same words echoed in Paul’s writings. Paul, tells us in Philippians 3 verses 13 and 14, “This one thing… I press on…toward the prize… which God has called me.” Once a Minister Always a Minister. Endure. Start well – continue well – end well. Vance Havner sums it up well: “A preacher should have the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child and the hide of a rhinoceros. His biggest problem is how to toughen his hide without hardening his heart.”
t e G s ' et L , y a d n o ! M y a d It's un S r o f R eRoan Smdityh By Ron Smith is the Lead Pastor
of WaterStone Church in Longwood, FL. Ron serves as Co-Leader of Renovate One Day Training as well as serving on staff of the Renovate Coaching Network. Follow Ron at RonBSmithJr.com for leadership material and sporadic blogs. Ron is the author of Churches Gone Wild. You can follow Ron and receive free resources at RonBSmithJr.com.
Being Captivated by Jesus I am a fanatical believer in the life of the local Church! I realize that there are some who have given up on the church, for multiple reasons. However, not only have I not given up on the Church, I (and likely you) find myself energized at the thought of helping the Church to become all she was intended to be in the eyes of God. Why? For starters, the Church is the only institution in history with a mission which ultimately has the ability to change one’s eternal destiny. Therefore, it can be said that the Church has an eternal mission. Think about that for a moment. There are millions of organizations throughout history who are working to make your here and now as good as possible. But, the influence of the local Church has the ability to impact you for an eternity. That is an awesome reality! The Church is being built by God himself (Matthew 16:18). But, flesh that out just a bit more. There have been countless individuals who have made tremendous sacrifices for the betterment of their organization. But, nobody has ever made the type of sacrifice that God made, in the giving of His one and only son, for the establishment and proliferation of the local Church. To be clear: there is, was and will not be a plan B. God has invested everything in plan A; the Church Finally, I believe we have in the church, the best understanding of what heaven will eventually be like. Though to be clear, I am not suggesting that the church is perfect. In fact, it is far from perfect. However, the local Church is where we experience the fellowship of the saints. The local Church is supremely interested in facilitating worship. The local Church is concerned with the protection and preservation of all that is holy. These are all disciplines that we will see and practice one day, in heaven I am a big believer in the local Church. It thrills me to serve the church. Although I am also involved in some extra-church ministries (teaching in the academy, denominational leadership, writing, consulting, etc.), I would not trade my ministry in the church for all of them combined. Even still the 30
by Michael Atherton question remains: how do we, as leaders, present a church to the Lord which is indeed, pure, and holy, and blameless upon His return (1 Thessalonians 5:23)? How do we produce healthy, vital, and effective ministries that bring more people into the Kingdom over pushing people away from the Church? From my time in the church, study of the church, and thinking about the church, there is one lesson that I am growing more and more convinced of: All church growth, church health, church vitality, and church revitalization plans hinge on the simple reality that the people of God must have their hearts captivated by God. Show me a church that is captivated by God and you will find a church that has powerful worship, active evangelism, on mission, disciple producing, and strong! Show me a s church that is captivated by budgets, programs, traditions, buildings, or philosophies and I will show you a church that is confused, bewildered, anemic, plateau, declining, and unhealthy. As leaders in the local Church, we must make it our aim to help people be captivated by God. Let me explain… Consider the life of Matthew, the tax collector, wherein it says in Matthew 9: “As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him” (Matthew 9:9, NASB). There are a number of fascinating realities about this one, single, verse of Scripture. Consider how Jesus clearly knew Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector, which many times people want to make synonymous with a present day IRS agent. More on that in just a moment. People in Jesus’ day would not have been any happier about paying taxes as people today. How wants to have to pay taxes? But, in many respects, Matthew’s occupation was even worse than how we see present day tax collectors. Why? We know by his position, he worked for Rome and therefore his first loyalty would be to Rome. His responsibility was to collect the taxes
for Rome, but any overage that he was able to collect, he could line his own pocket. To put it another way, Matthew had virtually unlimited power to tax people whatever he desired. His business amounts to many today as extortion. Even still, don’t miss this: Jesus desired Matthew! As unfortunate as it may be, many of our churches are in need of such revitalization because we have lost sight of the fact that Jesus is in the business to change lives. He desires to call people out of sin and bring them into a life changing relationship with Himself. We, on the other hand, desire to push sinners out of the church, hoping that the church down the street will deal with them. Jesus knows us and knows what we are capable of and even still bids us to come to him! Akin to the first point, but diving a bit deeper, notice that Jesus knew Matthew and called him while he was in the middle of his sin. Here is Matthew, the tax collector in the middle of this tax collecting, when Jesus calls him. In the next passage of Scripture, the Pharisees would question Jesus’ disciples, desiring to understand why Jesus eats with sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:11). The tax collector’s life was so foul they could not be included with all the other “sinners”, they received special distinction. Yet, here is Matthew, in the middle of his sinful practice and Jesus walks by and calls him to leave his life of sin to follow Him. This brings us to the most important reality of this passage: Matthew followed Christ. Here is a man that likely had a strong allegiance to Rome, more money and opportunity for money than he likely knew what to do with, yet when Jesus called him, he dropped everything and followed. This we can be sure of: Matthew knew a good deal when he saw one. His heart was captivated by Jesus and his life would never be the same. Here is the point, in order for revitalization to come into the life of the church, we need people to be captivated by Jesus, like Matthew was captivated by Him. Why? Because ultimately, budgets,
Show me a church that is captivated by God and you will find a church that has powerful worship, active evangelism, on mission, disciple producing, and strong! Show me a s church that is captivated by budgets, programs, traditions, buildings, or philosophies and I will show you a church that is confused, bewildered, anemic, plateau, declining, and uhealthy.
programs, buildings, philosophies, committees, and the like do not have the ability to change someone’s life, like Christ has the ability to changes someone’s life. That is not to say that budgets programs, and buildings don’t have their place; surely they do. But, only one deserves to captivate our hearts: Jesus Christ. Church leader, the absolute best thing you can do to help bring about revitalization in your context is to present Christ, in all of His glory, to the congregation, over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again; praying that God would captivate the hearts of His people. When that happens, revitalization is around the corner!
Michael Atherton is the lead pastor of the Cornerstone Church in Longtree, CO where he has turned around two churches through a church merger. 31
Don’t Be Like Joshua by Lee Kricher Amplify Church, located in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh, embarked on a revitalization journey in late 2003. After years of declining attendance, we were on the verge of closing our doors. Over the coming months and years, we prayerfully put into place a number of change strategies with the hope of turning things around. Thankfully, the church became healthy again. Not only did attendance increase, the average age of those attending Amplify Church decreased from 50 to 35 years old. Every generation is well represented for the first time in many, many years. More than 3000 years ago, Joshua led Israel to great victories and into a time of peace, stability and spiritual vitality. It seems that he conveyed to his peers what he had learned from Moses and they built a great nation together. We don’t have insight into what Joshua and his generation did or didn’t do to impact the faith of their children and grandchildren, but the end result was horrifying. “After a while the people of Joshua’s generation died, and the next generation did not know the Lord or any of the things he had done for Israel. The Lord had brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they had worshiped him. But now the Israelites stopped worshiping the Lord and worshiped the idols of Baal and Astarte, as well as the idols of other gods from nearby nations. The Lord was so angry” (Judges 2:10-13 CEV). I could be wrong about this, but I believe that when I stand before God, I will answer not just for my relationship with God but also for how I set up the next generation so that they will most likely have a relationship with God. As God’s servants, we know that we are expected to use, rather than bury, our gifts. I think we also are 32
accountable to do everything we can to unearth the God-given gifts in the next generation. As a result, we must be keenly aware that our church is one generation away from extinction. That begins by doing what it takes to create a New Generation Church – a church with attendees whose average age is at least as young as the average age of the community in which the church exists. However, we also need to build certain practices or systems into our church’s DNA that make sure that our church remains a New Generation Church and that it is paving the way for the next generation long after the current members of the church are in heaven. At Amplify Church, among other things, we have instituted a number of things that are designed to keep us a New Generation Church, two of which are ThreeDeep Mentoring and The 75% Rule. Three-Deep Mentoring Every leader in the church is responsible to mentor at least two people who can effectively carry out each of their key roles. That allows us to be “three-deep” in every key role in the church. Leaders are told constantly that their leadership effectiveness is best demonstrated when they are not present. If a person is told, “I am so glad you are back from vacation. It went badly without you here,” it is not seen as a compliment. It is an indictment of their poor leadership skills. Three-Deep Mentoring starts with the primary communicators who do weekend messages. We do our messages in series so whoever is speaking takes the topic that fits into the series at that time. When I am not speaking, I typically assign the weekend message to one of the young communicators that I am mentoring. I spend time coaching that person for success and making sure that they are given positive feedback and feedback for improvement. Our church has become accustomed to young leaders in the church
speaking during weekend services even when I am not away. It sends a strong message about preparing the next generation to lead. Three-Deep Mentoring applies to other areas in the church, as well, including worship leaders, our tech team, children and youth ministry leaders, small group leaders, etc. It is a common question to ask any leader, “Who are the people you are mentoring who can step in when you are not here?” Instead of waiting until the mentor is sick or on vacation, those being mentored are regularly rotated into the volunteer schedule. It is also common, of course, that those who are being mentored are younger than the mentors. That reinforces our commitment to raise up the next generation. The 75 Percent Rule I have found that people in their 50s, 60s and older tend to be open to attending a church where the majority of people in visible leadership are significantly younger than they are. On the other hand, I have found that it is less likely that young adults and young parents will be drawn to a weekend service where the vast majority of people in visible leadership are significantly older than they are. That is why we instituted the 75 Percent Rule. The 75 Percent Rule is that 75 percent of all of the people in visible leadership during any given weekend service must be the average age of or younger than the community which we serve. For Amplify Church, that means that 75 percent of those in visible leadership during any given weekend service need to be 35 years old or younger. That requires us to identify a lot of young people who can speak effectively, lead worship, play instruments and do the announcements! Think about your church services over the past month or so. If a high percentage of the people who were upfront – those who spoke, did readings, shared announcements, led singing, played instruments, etc. were older than the average age of the community you serve, chances are your services are less appealing to young people than you may realize.
I remember a comment made by a woman in her early 20s who visited our church. She came reluctantly in response to an invitation from a friend. After her first service, she told me, “I’ll definitely be coming back.” I asked her why and she said, “Because so many of the people upfront look like me.” Even if you choose a goal of 50 percent, as we did when we started our turnaround, you will at least be committed to having young people involved every weekend in visible leadership. The 75 Percent Rule requires that talented people at Amplify Church in their 40s and 50s and older be willing to step aside from being upfront every week – even when people in the church are telling them how much they are missed when they don’t play or sing or speak. I admire them greatly because they have stepped up to this challenge. They know that by letting go of their “right” to be upfront every week, they are opening the door for the next generation. This does not mean that people over 35 years old do not have significant leadership roles in our church. In fact, the roles filled by our members in their 40s, 50s, 60s and older provide a strong and stable foundation without which we could not be a strong and stable church. In addition to the natural mentoring that they do with our young leaders, they fill many of our most critical leadership roles from children and youth ministry to pastoral care. They make up our entire board of directors and a very high percentage of our small group leaders, one of the most critical roles in the church. Don’t Make the Same Mistake The bottom line is that your church will likely fail to become and remain a vibrant force in your community without embracing and institutionalizing things that ensure an ongoing commitment to connect with - and stay connected with - the next generation. Things like Three-Deep Mentoring, the 75 Percent Rule, effective succession planning, ongoing leadership development and an internship program are some of the ways we keep this kind of thinking a part of Amplify Church’s DNA. Joshua and his peers lived rich and full lives marked by God’s presence and power. I am sure that they felt that things were fine. You may feel 33
that way about your church right now. But somehow they failed to engage the next generation in a meaningful way. Their children, the next generation, did not know the Lord. Don’t make the same mistake. Don’t be like Joshua. Prayerfully consider these questions: What do you think is our responsibility as church leaders when it comes to paving the way for the next generation? How would you describe the mentoring of young people that is happening intentionally in your church? How supportive would you be if your church opened the door proactively for young people to have visible positions of leadership during weekend services?
Lee Kricher is the Senior Pastor of Amplify Church, Pittsburgh, PA - amplifychurch. com and author of For a New Generation – foranewgeneration.com
HOST A 1, 2, OR 3 DAY CONFERENCE IN YOUR CHURCH! If you and your organization wish to explore the possibilities of hosting a Church Revitalization and Renewal Conference, you may do so by dropping us a line at: Tom@RenovateConference.org For those organizations who are desiring to train and equip a Church Revitalization Assistance Team Workshop we have a retreat format for your organizations leadership which allows for group times as well as times of personal reflection and examination. You may inquirer by dropping us a line at Tom@Revitalization.guru 34
BAPTIST WORLD CHARITIES.COM 786-255-3054 / 305-388-8059
Estelle Myers, C.E.O. & Women’s Revitalizer
“Baptist World Charities is happy to participate in Revitalization Magazine! Our team is ready to help you REVITALIZE your church through Missions and Evangelism!” Rob Myers, Pastor, President, Revitalizer & Men’s Mentoring Leader http://pastorrobmyers.wordpress.com V.P. Dr. Franco (M.D.), Medical Missions
Our Motto is: If I can go, I will go… If I cannot go, I will send… But I refuse to sit and watch! Thomas Myers is an amazing 24 year old Evangelist who will travel to your church and help bring Real Revival to your congregation! His relevant and inspirational messages from God’s Word will help to “Re-set” your church.The alters are full when he gives an invitation. He can be booked for weekend Revitalizations through our website.
Join Dr. Bob & Estelle as we Launch: Teachers On Mission with the Haiti Initiative. Join us as we Teach God’s Word in the University of Haiti’s Education System in North Haiti!
Take your Church on a medical missions trip or help serve in Orphanages around the World!
Thomas Myers, Evangelist
Dr.Bob Brumley, PHD Educational Missions
HE REVITALIZED CHURCH Forfeiting Self to Follow God
he local church is the only organization that can facilitate eternal hope, lasting change, and total transformation in the lives of people and communities everywhere. Even so, today’s local churches are often in esperate need of renewal and revitalization themselves. In The Revitalized Church, astor Michael Atherton uses his ﬁrsthand experiences to show how a local church an once again become vibrant.
Building Sustainable Student Ministry Volunteer Teams that Last - Continued
I challenge you to leadjourney frommerging seats of The Revitalizedpassion. Church shares Atherton’s eighteen-month twoboldhurch communities with a common vision and discusses the challenges and the ness where your decisions and approaches have the ctories they encountered. In addition, he examines the key biblical leadership ability to impact your community. I encourage rinciples that were used to help sustain the church. Atherton shows how these you to ractical principles canlet be successfully implemented in any church he never your style of leadership settlebody, forasanything utlines the foundational elements that must be woven into a church’s DNA. less than living a life that is defined by boldness. This
therton communicates the lessons he learned in order assist other is my impassioned plea to you as atoStudent Pastor, ongregations to connect with Christ and their communities. The Revitalized but the question comes back to you again: Are YOU hurch provides guidance to help unleash the power of God in the life of our church. Currently Leading YOUR Student Ministry Boldly?
MICHAEL ATHERTON earned a doctorate of ministry from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a nationally certiﬁed church administrator through the NACBA. He has served as a pastor for the past thirteen years in Missouri, Texas, and Colorado, while also teaching as an adjunct professor on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Atherton is the senior pastor at Cornerstone Church in Lone Tree, Colorado. He and his wife, Sara, have six children. They live in Parker, Colorado.
Drew Cheyney is the Student Pastor at Neighborhood Church in Valsilia, CA and frequest writer on Revitalization of Churches through student ministry.
Revitalized Church Forfeiting Self to Follow God MICHAEL ATHERTON
Have You Seen Any Church Deserters Around? These individuals are basically made up of three types of church attenders, which bring harm to any church revitalization effort. They are those, which merely sit back and look over the church passing judgment on what is or is not happening. The first one is the lay looker, which are there for a time but are gone just about the time you get to know their name. Then they are followed by the Lay Leavers which are gone at the first hint that more is going to be expected from them then had been expected in the past. The last group of church deserters is the Lay Losers. Lay Losers are the ones which want everything to be a lose win for their point of view and opt out of the renewal effort as soon as their side cannot win. - Tom Cheyney 36
Revitalizing Through the Power of Partnering with Parents Having a children’s ministry that is fun and exciting is a top priority for most churches, and it should be. Let’s face it, as church leaders, we want kids to grow up knowing the importance of having and living out personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s so important that most church make sure they have an environment that equips kids to do just that. A fun, colorful and inviting room lead by a team of great volunteers. Lots of thought and preparation goes into this one hour the church get each week to pour into the life of a child. This hour is so important, but it’s is not going to produce the greatest impact in kids spiritual journey on its own. It can’t even come close. Let me explain. If we view church as the only means of teaching children the importance of Christ and how to lead a life that honors and glorifies Him, we are being short sighted. A recent study shows that someone who would consider themselves a regular attender, only attends church around 30 times in the course of a year. But aren’t there 52 weeks in a year? Yes, but after you take out sick days, family vacations, holidays it comes down to a national average of about 30 times a year. That means the church gets just 30 hours in the course of one year to spiritually guide and encourage those who attend, including kids. That means to a whopping 180 hours from the time kids are in kindergarten to 5th grade (their most formative years).
Think about that, just 180 hours to pack all the bible knowledge and practical teaching we think is necessary to equip kids on how to lead a Godly life. Even more sobering, these hours are not consistent; they depend on when these children attend. They may only attend every other week. This is the case more and more especially with kids of blended families. You see any education professional would tell you that 180 hours broken up over the course of 6 years is no way time enough, let alone consistent enough, to make a lasting and profound impact. This sounds kind of bleak, right? Why even try if we are not going to make a real difference? Is the church just wasting its time or worst yet are we just providing glorified child care? I want you to hear me on this. What you do in children’s ministry is so vital! Every week is important and has the potential to make an impact. So we need to do our best. What if I shared a way that would, no… will take your efforts to a whole other level. That there is a way to maximize the overall impact of your children’s ministry. What is it? What can we as the church do to accomplish this? The answer is fairly simple and chances are you have heard this before…”Partner with the Parents”. You see a parent has the greatest opportunity to impact the life of their child. After all it
by Bill Hegedus
is their child, plus they want the best for them. I know that as a parent of 2 grown children myself, I want them to succeed and have a great life. Most parents would even say “I want my child to have a better life than me.” I know I feel that way. Not that our lives are bad or difficult, just we want them to have it even better than we did. If you think about it, everything we do as parents impact the development of our children. We do so many things with our kids all in an effort to prepare them for life. Having them participate on a sports team as way to teach teamwork. We give them chores to teach responsibilities and even give allowance to teach them how to budget money. How to make the right choices with friends and in difficult circumstances. Now these are all great things and certainly lessons they need to know. But what about the most important decision they will ever make..The decision to trust Jesus as their Lord and savior. But parents bring them to church so they can learn about God, doesn’t that cover it!? Having children attend church is great and very important. I just want to remind us as church leaders and parents that the responsibly of spiritual development falls to the parent not the church. The bible clearly addresses this throughout scripture, none more famous than the passage found in Deuteronomy 6:6-8 “And these words that I
command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” This is addressed directly to parents. I absolute love this passage! It really gets to the heart of what I am trying to communicate. That it is the parents responsibility to raise their children physically, mentally and even spiritually. Often times, spiritually is the one that most parents forget, ignore or even worse, just hand off to the church all together. But why is that? In my many years of experience doing children’’s ministry I often wondered about that. But as I had more conversations with parents is the answer became clear. It wasn’t that parents didn’t want to do it, they just didn’t know what to do. A perfectly understandable reason. Well they are the parents they need to figure it out themselves. Right? Au contraire mon frère! This is where we as a church come in. Just in case you thought the church was off the hook here. Even though the responsibility of spiritual leadership in a child’s life falls to the parents. It’s the responsibility of the church to equip parents to do just that. Ephesians 4:12 that we are to equip those that attend church, that includes parents, for ministering to others (children included). I want to encourage, no, I want to challenge us as church leaders to do just that. We are to partner with parents to maximize everyone’s efforts. Both the home and the church have this responsibility. You see its not just
one or the other, its both working together, hand in hand. We do our part and encourage and equip parents to do theirs. Where do we even start with that? I am glad you asked. Here are a few ideas that have produced tremendous results for churches across the country. First and most importantly think through your content. What curriculum are you using? Does it have elements that encourage parent involvement (i.e. take home page) If not make one by creating a simple card that equips the parents to lead their kids spiritually. These should be easy tasks or talking points for parents to do with their kids during the week that reinforce the lesson they learned at church. By doing just this simple step you have taken the one-hour at church and multiplied it. Remember the church has 1 hour a week, but a parent has 28 hours in that same week. When you take out time for work, school and other activities their is an average of 4 hours a day for parents to interact with their children. They have more hours in one week than the church has in two years!! WOW! Now, of course those 28 hours are not spent in a sit down and pay attention family devotion. Yes, having that time is important, but going back to Deuteronomy, God points out to make spiritual development of your children part of your everyday life. After all, we believe that the bible applies to all aspects of life. I sure do! So give parents tools to use during these times. It could be a mealtime idea, a bedtime story or even encouraging singing along to some kids worship songs
Having a children’s ministry that is fun and exciting is a top priority for most churches, and it should be. Let’s face it, as church leaders, we want kids to grow up knowing the importance of having and living out personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s so important that most church make sure they have an environment that equips kids to do just that.
together in the car. But for Pete’s sake give them something! I would also encourage offering a parenting workshop or class at least once a year. Plan some events that foster time for families to be together. It could be some thing as simple as family game night or maybe movie on the lawn. If you partner with parents and create a culture that shows the community you are a church committed to helping families succeed, then get ready to see lots of new faces.
Bill Hegedus serves as the Family Pastor at Bethlehem Church near Atlanta, Ga. He a national speaker, coach and strategist for family ministries across the country. Bill loves developing Next generation leaders and of course, all things Disney.
Three Kinds of Takers By Jim Grant There is an old saying that people can be one of three types of “Takers:” A Caretaker, a Risk-taker or an Undertaker. Obviously each of those types of people has pros and cons. The point being made is if a person is a risk taker, there will surely be conflicts and struggles along the way. But it is better to attempt change than do nothing. The Caretaker is the “maintainer” in a situation. The risks are seen as too volatile to try because of the “fear” of repercussions and conflicts. So rather than engage in actions that should be done, there is a compromise with “Status Quo.” But as we have learned and experienced in a ministry setting, this can mean certain death, where you must call an “Undertaker.” When it comes to Church revitalization and Renewal, a “status quo” frame of mind is unacceptable. The reason churches are in need of revitalization and renewal in the first place is because when they could have done something in the Church, they elected to take the easy road, or least hazardous. This action is clearly a compromise. James 4:17 tells us “to him that knows to do good and does not do it, it is sin.” In the case of being a Risk-taker, the leadership necessary must be confident and bold about the direction to be pursued. If there is a “crack” in the plan from God, then it will show up as weakness. People in the church are unwilling to follow weakness. Now this doesn’t mean that the revitalizer needs to be a tyrant either. SO where does this boldness and
confidence come? It comes from the Lord. The revitalizer must put himself on the “potter’s Wheel” and allow the Lord to begin the revitalization and renewal work in him first. I have learned that excitement and passion are two very contagious characteristics. When a new believer speaks of the wonderful things of God, we that are observing this have two reactions: first we can pass it off and say the person will come back to earth soon, and discount the testimony; or secondly, we can remember the joy of our own salvation and be renewed in our faith having seen the Lord at work still changing lives. In the renewal of a pastor or revitalizer there are necessary steps to be taken: Prayer and the Word. I hear so many pastors and laymen tell me they don’t know what God
When it comes to Church revitalization and Renewal, a “status quo” frame of mind is unacceptable. The reason churches are in need of revitalization and renewal in the first place is because when they could have done something in the Church, they elected to take the easy road, or least hazardous. This action is clearly a compromise. wants them to do! If a person is not in conversation with the Lord Jesus through prayer and the Word, then it stands to reason that there would be doubts about what
to do, and even when to do changes. As a revitalizer, a person must determine who He is; which of the three types of people. Now before I get too far, there are plenty of ministry venues where, things are in place and a “maintainer” mentality will be at the forefront. Even so, the ministry must be evaluated and tweaked if necessary. Some 80% of pastors are maintainers/ caretakers or as Gary McIntosh calls them “Operators.1 Two calling in ministry are Risk-takers: Church Planters and Church Revitalizers; within Church revitalizers there are variations called super revitalizer and the reorganizer to mention a few. McIntosh indicates further that Revitalizers and Reorganizers make up only 7% of all pastors. When the Church is dying at alarming rates, there is a great need for pastors to know who they are, but then Be who they are supposed to Be. This is the confidence builder for a Revitalizer. When we know what we are to be doing and knowing where our orders came from, boldness and confidence from the Lord will be forthcoming. I know from my own experiences, I didn’t want to be a Revitalizer – it was too hard and too much conflict! “No God I don’t want to be a Church Revitalizer!” I HAD TO COME TO GRIPS WITH WHAT THE LORD JESUS WANTED for HIS church not the ease of ministry I wanted. What I eventually learned was that I had always been a revitalizer. Every church the Lord moved me to, I had a mission of renewal and revitalization to do. 1.McIntosh, Gary L.; Taking Your Church to The Next Level: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. Grand Rapids: Baker Books; 2009, 87-96.
Sort of like the song, “I was Country when Country wasn’t Cool.” I was a revitalizer before there was a movement. As a revitalizer there must be purpose and intentionality in the direction a pastor moves the church. This will not come from a book or the latest growth model. The direction for a particular church has to be borne out in the prayer room, not in the board room. This is a mistake too often Pastors and churches make, especially in our CEO world of management. Churches don’t need management; they need leadership – bold leadership! Pastors are called to leader People, not manage resources. Once a revitalization thrust has begun; regardless of the naysayers
Jim Grant is senior Pastor at Heartland Baptist Church in Alton, Illinois. He came to Heartland Baptist from Texas, where he served three churches. He is an Air Force veteran, retiring with 25 years of service. His extensive travels while in the military allowed him the unique ability to have served in the full gambit of churches styles and health. He has a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological seminary with a concentration on Church Revitalization. He has been married to his wife for 39 years; they have two daughters and four grandchildren. Blog: preachbetweenthelines.com Email: email@example.com
and the loss of people who don’t want change – the resilience to stay the course is imperative. Oh praise God for the testimony of Apostle Paul – “I have fought the good fight, finished the course, I have kept the faith. . . . [2 Timothy 4:7] The unwillingness to stay the course is tragic, both to the church and the man. The church will be very reluctant to attempt anything like it again; and the man will know he didn’t finish. A revitalizer must not just finish – but finish well. Success is what God does, obedience is what we do. If you know that the Father in Heaven is leading you; your confidence will rest in Him, not your own strength.
When the Church is dying at alarming rates, there is a great need for pastors to know who they are, but then Be who they are supposed to Be. This is the confidence builder for a Revitalizer. When we know what we are to be doing and knowing where our orders came from, boldness and confidence from the Lord will be forthcoming.
Kicking It Up a Notch
Boldness is nothing new, but it is something we may have forgotten! Even our society has taken on a relaxed attitude and going mild on us. Bold movement’s challenge and confront our mildness and our ambivalence. Boldness in the Book of Acts rushed in, the scripture tells us, like rushing mighty wind that made the mild mannered Mediterranean take notice as a new band of faith was forged and the New Testament Church was forged with a bold conviction that had not been seen before! Within the church today, still boldness in the pulpit wins out over the mild unchallenging pulpit! Boldness in our preaching should have a sense of: • Clarity • Courage • Creativity • Cutting to the main point • Challenge • Charge • Conviction of the heart • Charisma (energy) Boldness does not hurt the local church! But it just might help in renewing it. Boldness often rallies the passionate church member who sees a well-communicated passionate challenge. Boldness is an asset which will help the church of the Twenty-first century survive by drawing the community into the church and its causes. Boldness goes far beyond preserving the status quo. Boldness is not about harmony. It is not about the mild. It is compelling. Boldness just might offend the status quo of going back to the mild and managing what we got after all isn’t that enough? Jesus didn’t think so and that reminds me we should not either! - Tom Cheyney
Being Bold vs. Being a Bully In my denominational role, I am often called to come alongside local pastors and congregations to assist them in the work of revitalization. Congregations are often resistant to revitalization because it means significant change in areas that are important and systemic. Inexperienced pastors often can see what needs to be done, but do not have the relational capital established to lead a church through such change. In many cases, the pastoral relationship is stressed beyond repair, the powerful personalities in the church dig in their heels, and any possible revitalization is thwarted. Revitalization takes a strong leader; however, the definition of “strength” here is absolutely critical. A pastor can lead with a holy, God-given boldness like that seen in the New Testament, or he can lead as a bully. The former stems from a strong pastoral relationship and a vision from God about His preferred future for that church. The latter is borne upon the wings of a human pastoral agenda that may bear little resemblance to what God actually desires for that church.
Control There is no doubt that many congregations have power-brokers that guide and maneuver the church and her ministry to their own ends. I’ve counseled many wounded pastors who have come up against such immovable personalities. But we cannot forget that sometimes the power-broker is the pastor! Pastors can be bullies too – and the damage they can do to a church is enormous. Whether a powerful lay leader or a bully pastor, the crux of the problem is the same: each wants control. Lip service may be given to God (e.g., “I’ve prayed about this, and…”), but there is no submission to Him or His
plans. The bully is really motivated by his own advancement and power. The bully manipulates circumstances, facts and people to his own ends and then baptizes them as God’s. This is completely different than the bold leader who lovingly guides the people toward the vision God has bestowed upon them all. The bold pastor operates with confidence, and can masterfully guide the flock without manipulation. He takes the time to foster and cast vision among the people so that they all see it. A leader among leaders, the bold pastor calls people to participate in what the Spirit is doing. Where the bully pushes people, the bold pastor rallies people and they all move ahead together Division The bully pastor divides and conquers. When someone disagrees with the bully, he takes it personally and then works diligently to sideline or even remove that person from influence. And because some will always fall under the bully’s spell, he consistently leads by dividing the “loyal” from the “upstarts.” Bully’s cause conflict. Bold pastors, on the other hand, take the time and make the effort to unify the congregation for the revitalization journey. The people rally behind one vision and begin to see their own part in its beautiful choreography. Bold pastors tend to be emotionally healthy – they have nothing to prove and are rarely threatened by disagreement. Further, bold pastors have a heart for the whole flock (even oppositional sheep) and are almost always instruments of peace and reconciliation. In fact, in churches with a long string of bully pastors, bold pastors often will help bring healing and peace where there hasn’t been any for a long time.
by John Kimball Demands Bully pastors are demanding. They have their agenda and will “do what it takes” make it happen. Because of this, they quickly wear their congregations out. Congregational burnout is high under a bully pulpit. And what’s worse, the people also become soured on any kind of change or revitalization in the future. Simply put: bully pastors can kill congregations. The bold pastor, on the other hand, builds relationships. He gets to know his flock and what Jesus is doing in each of them. He listens to their dreams and desires and will often hear the Spirit’s common thread (vision). He listens to their fears so he knows how to help them grow. He identifies the unique divine design within the leaders and people so that each can be positioned to flourish as they directly participate in fulfilling God’s vision for the church. Rather than demanding of them, the bold pastor releases his people to follow their own calling, which propels revitalization and ministry forward in fruitfulness. Brevity and Brokenness By nature, bully pastors tend to have very short pastoral tenures. They move from church to church, leaving a wake of broken people and congregations behind them. They are actually easy to identify, but many congregations do not do due diligence when they are looking at pastoral candidates – to their peril. It is rare for a bully pastor to remain at a church long enough to see his agenda through. The circumstances he creates are nearly always self-defeating. The bold pastor is often a long-term pastor. It is not unusual for the bold shepherd to be in a church 15, 20 even 30 years. Some bold pastors
remain in a single church for their whole career. Because of this, bold pastors are nearly always well-loved by their congregations. The trust factor with the bold pastor is enormous. And because of this, the bold pastor has the unique opportunity to multiply himself. Because the bold pastor releases people to flourish in ministry, his church is a multiplying church. Disciples are multiplied as his disciples make other disciples. Leaders are multiplied as he gives himself away in leader development, being very intentional to open a continuous stream of other capable people (deacons, elders, pastors, church planters, missionaries, etc.) who can do what he does. Ministries are multiplied as people are released to pursue their own unique, gifted callings. And ultimately the church itself is multiplied as revitalization takes over and bears its fruit â€“ sheep beget sheep, churches beget churches. The work of revitalization is a slow, intentional process built upon Godâ€™s vision for that church. As such it requires a strong leader. But it behooves the local church to discern the foundation of that strength. The church needs a bold, confident leader who is emotionally health and takes the time to build the relational capital to lead from among the people. We must avoid strength that comes from a personal agenda and a need for control. The difference between these two is truly life and death to many local congregations.
Tick Tock Watching the Clock! What Does Boldness look Like In the Pulpit?
- Tom Cheyney
Today there is much talk about contemporary verses traditional worship! Most of this is far overblown and really not that much of a factor when it comes to church revitalization and renewal. Either one can scare off potential prospects depending on what the individual is seeking. The end result is about vitality, joy, and a positive energy in the pulpit! It is more about what works best to reach the community and not about what will enhance our own sense of good taste.
Dr. John Kimball is Director of Church Development for the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. He has nearly 30 years of pastoral experience, most of it in revitalization ministry, and coaches pastors and churches through development in his denomination and in partnership with the Praxis Center for Church Development. John serves as the Lead Pastor/Planter of Palmwood Church in Metropolitan Orlando. 43
Turning Around An Invisible Church: 7 Marks of a Growing Church - Visibility (1st in the Series)
By Bob Whitesel
Before we begin to turnaround a church, we need to know what we are turning it toward. The best source for what a healthy and growing church looks like is Hartford Seminary’s exhaustive and reliable: “American Congregations Study” (available free at www. FaithCommunitiesToday.org). I will explain how to address each of what I call “The 7 Marks of a Growing Church” in this series.
The First is Visibility. We must first understand how to overcome the average church’s invisibility. Plateaued churches don’t change very much and as a result they often get ignored and overlooked by non-churchgoers. I found that even newly planted churches start becoming invisible to the community after about 18 months. Visibility can be remedied by being in a visible location in a growing community. But, what if you aren’t in a growing community? What if you aren’t in a visible location? I have helped hundreds of churches become visible again, even when they were not in a growing community. To make a church visible again in any community involves three areas: physical visibility, social media visibility, member visibility.
Physical Visibility Physical visibility means the community sees the physical assets and structures of the church. We have long known that churches in visible locations grow faster and larger than churches in less visible locales. When people over and over again
notice a church structure, signage, steeple, etc. it can remind them of their spiritual need. And, when a spiritual need pulls them towards a church, they are most likely to attend the one they’ve noticed. This can be challenging in a turnaround scenario. However, I have helped many, many churches increase their physical visibility and here are some options to consider. Merging with a more visible church: By joining together with a church in a more visible location you can address the invisibility threat. Read Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird’s book “Better Together” to see how to make mergers work. Moving to a different location and selling your current facility. My experience has been that this often results in the church having a less usable facility. There may be fewer Sunday School rooms, less sanctuary space and even less parking. But if the trade-off is that the church has a greater visibility in the community, then the church can begin to grow toward health. Building a new facility. Though challenging in revitalization situations, new facilities are cheaper to build than their traditional and Medieval-looking forerunners. When turnaround churches have money to build they usually consider erecting a gymnasium or a fellowship hall to reach out. But, it may be better to build a smaller multipurpose facility in a more visible location.
Social Media Visibility. In 25+ years consulting churches, I have found that in all churches there are positive things going on that only people going to the church know about. Thus, you want to create social media opportunities for congregants to share with their friends, acquaintances and non-churchgoers some of the exciting things going on. In the past, churches advertised largely in the Yellow Pages and newspapers. Though Yellow Pages have disappeared (and newspapers may not be far behind) in their place have risen other media channels through which you should be advertising. Website: It doesn’t need to be professional, but it does need to be informative and geared toward non-churchgoers. WordPress and others offer free templates through which an inexperienced creator can make an informative website. Previously the church secretary was in charge of the weekly bulletins and perhaps a regular newsletter. In the turnaround church, that person learns new skills to communicate via a web presence. Facebook page: Another requisite media presence, your members can share about the positive things going on in the church. Twitter, etc: Telling about positive things going on in a church via a Twitter account
with “hash tags” (#) identifying your church, allows people to easily find postings about the life of a congregation. A church Instagram account can give opportunities for members to share pictures about the positive things happening at congregational life. Other media avenues are sure to arise and mature Christian leaders should pray about and discuss the usefulness of each. Email: Because there’s so much spam filling email boxes today, it’s best to steer away from emailing people in the community. Emailing congregants to keep them aware of what is going on is fine, but a general blast to the community doesn’t work. Get the Church a Personalized Web Address, _____(church name)_____.church: A little-known fact is that you can purchase the extension “.church” and add your church name for an easy to remember web address. The extension “.church” can be purchased through any online Domain Service (but once they’re gone, it’s forever gone so check today).
Member Visibility: Encourage congregants to be proud of what God has accomplished through their church and let people know they are a member.
When your congregants are cited in community events, awards, etc. be sure to ask them to include that they are a member of the church. Explain that this is a way to let their light shine, because the community of Christ is a part of their spiritual formation and community impact. Shirts with the church’s name on them, bumper stickers, vinyl decals, etc. have always been a way to increase congregant visibility. However, it’s always important to remind congregants they should at all times be Christlike, forgiving and humble (and never more so than when displaying something that boldly mentions Christ’s family). Let the community see the church in worship, praise and service. A YouTube channel of church events can help non-churchgoers see the community of Christ in action. And, a video of worship and ministry should be a primary feature on your website, giving a 30-second glimpse of the excitement of being part of Christ’s community. Invite the community to participate in praise/worship and food in a neutral location. This can be in a park or in a neutral auditorium. When we take our worship and praise to neutral locations, we give non-churchgoers an opportunity to see the life and anointing of Christ’s body in a familiar environment. While being careful not to invade their space, we also foster
communication when a meal is open to all. Jesus’ example of table fellowship broke down walls between his detractors and his disciples, and serves as a model for increasing church visibility today. Yes, there are ways to help make a church visible again. And, these suggestions are just the tip-of-theiceberg. For more on the “7 Marks of a Growing Church” and how to make churches visible again, attend my once-a-year consultant training at the Nov. 1, Renovate ‘16 Pre-conference in Orlando. In the next article in this series, I will delve into ideas that foster the second mark of a growing church as revealed in Hartford Seminary’s “American Congregations Study.” Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., is a award-winning writer and sought-after consultant on church growth. Founding professor of Wesley Seminary at IWU, he will hold his “Annual 1-Day Church Consultant Training” as a Pre-Conference to Renovate in Orlando including: • Credit available for Society of Church Consulting Training Levels 1&2 • Credit available for continuing education or 3-graduate credits through Wesley Seminary. • Sign up at http://conta.cc/222G0tR
Bob Whitesel (D.Min. and Ph.D., Fuller Seminary) is a sought-after speaker and award-winning writer on organic outreach, church leadership and church health; who has been called by a national magazine, “the key spokesperson on change theory in the church today.” Author of 11 books in 12 years, he serves as the founding professor of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University and holds two doctorates from Fuller Theological Seminary. The recipient of two national McGavran awards, he is a nationally respected consultant helping churches grow and regain health.
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To Boldly Go - God’s Call for Today’s Church Revitalizer’s Do you remember the television series Star Trek? During my travels, not surprisingly, I run into my share of “Trekkies” from time to time. At the beginning of each episode the narration went something like this: Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, “to boldly go” where no man has gone before. After the death of Moses, Joshua received a call from God to lead his people in the exploration of strange new worlds, to seek out new life and civilizations and “to boldly go” stepping out into the Promised Land. This same God is calling pastors today to boldly lead their churches toward the Promised Land of greater church health, renewal and blessing. As we take a quick glance at the life of God’s servant Joshua, we will discover several bold principles for church revitalizers today.
Boldness Comes from God’s Call
In Joshua 1:1-3, God said “After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.” Pastor, allow God to affirm his call on your life and ministry just as he did in Joshua’s life. Remember God is calling you to the bold reality of revitalizing your church, that is, of returning your church to a place of spiritual health and vitality.
Boldness Comes From God’s Presence
Notice God’s promise to Joshua: “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:5, 9). This same powerful presence of God Joshua experienced is also available to pastors and the churches they lead today. Where is God leading your church to take bold new steps in his power? As he revitalizes your church, how might he lead you to impact and influence your culture and world for Jesus Christ in ways you have never attempted before? Go for it. God is with you.
Boldness Comes as You Follow Only God’s Leading
Joshua 3:2-3 says, “After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it.” The Ark of the Covenant was Israel’s greatest treasure. It symbolized both God’s presence and his power. Pastor, as you lead your church through the journey of revitalization many voices and opinions of people will seek to influence and persuade you. The truth is, many times these voices and opinions of people will come from selfish and impure motives. Let me encourage you to stay above the fray and follow only God’s leading. The prophet Isaiah said, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice
By Darwin Meighan
behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21).
Boldness to Lead God’s People to New Places In Joshua chapter 3, verse 4 we find these words, “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”
In Joshua’s day, the people of God were entering new territory, crossing over to new opportunities God had promised them. These were brand new experiences in their journey not only with God, but also with each other. As the children of Israel crossed over the Jordan River and into a new land, this required an extremely deep, and pretty much an insanely, crazy level of faith and trust in God. Where is God leading you to trust him in your journey with him? He will call you to take steps into new territory – places outside of your comfort zone as you seek his direction in leading your church toward greater optimism, hope and renewal. By faith and in obedience, be open to a fresh new work of the Holy Spirit.
Boldness to Trust and Obey God’s Word Completely
God said to Joshua “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:7-8). Time after time, Joshua along with God’s people experienced favor and blessings from God because
Tick Tock Watching the Clock! What Does Boldness look Like In the Pulpit? (Continued)
Worship should be fun regardless of the style utilized weekly. Some ideas that can bring a sense of fun into any worship service: Uplifting music that is easily learned and will stick with the participant for a few hours after the service. A mix of the usual comfort in the program mixed with new surprises in the order of worship. Use of interviews where two or more people talk without a manuscript about their lives, interests in various mission activities within the church, or what God is doing in your spiritual journey or a
they did what he told them to do. Joshua 4:8 says, “So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. Obedience to the commands of Scripture are central to God’s work of bringing renewal to his church. As a church revitalizer, there are transferable principles from God’s Word which he commands you and your church to obey completely as you seek to turn your church around, once again fully embracing God’s mission together.
Boldness to Unify God’s People
Joshua chapter 3, verse 17 says, “The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.” One of the powerful truths God wants us to see here is the unity of
daily bases. This is a great way to emphasize the importance in a daily devotion time by hearing what others are doing in that area! Active “outgoing” regular attenders walking around the sanctuary before the services begin greeting everyone and particularly guest or infrequent visitors in an effort to help them feel relaxed and at home with the church family. It is amazing what 5-7 people can do to relax visitors and create good will before the services begin. Refreshments in the vestibule that allow for a time to talk casually each and every week prior to worship or after Bible study! Remember, a box of rock hard donut rounds just will not do it anymore!
the people. “the whole nation completed the crossing on dry ground.” This must have been an amazing sight to see. An entire nation of God’s people moving as one, in unity following only God’s leading. God calls his people to live, pray, serve, worship, fellowship and all the things we do as churches - we’re to do these things in the unity of the Spirit - as one. Unity in the Spirit is one of the marks of a truly revitalized people of God. What are you doing to ensure that your church is characterized by a spirit of unity? In John chapter 17 Jesus prayed for his church, “may they be brought to complete unity.”
Boldness Leads to God-sized Results
As Joshua led the people to take these bold steps, they watched in amazement as God did the impos-
- Tom Cheyney
sible. God stopped the flow of the Jordan River at flood stage and the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, crossing over the river on dry ground. A miracle of God! Revitalizing pastor, where do you need a miracle from God? No person, circumstance or church is impossible with God. Where is it in your life where God is saying to you, “step into the water?” Take that step. A miracle-working God is ready to show himself mighty in your life, in your church and on your behalf. There are times God will call you and this church to walk into the flood waters similar to what he did in Joshua’s day. God does this for several reasons: (1) to test your faith (2) to help you grow in greater dependence of him, and (3) as a testimony of God’s miraculous power to all people of the earth.
Continued on Page 56 49
Boldness – Unveiling the Glory of God A person who truly walks with Christ begins as a son (or daughter), becomes a servant, and behaves like a soldier. Every pastor can appreciate the simplicity of that statement, or at least develop a sermon outline from it! The reality is, beginning as a son is fairly easy because the journey with Christ Jesus begins by simply receiving the gift of grace by faith. Becoming a servant is harder, but not an impossible task because it does not require assertiveness or overt leadership qualities. Behaving as a soldier for the gospel is much more difficult because we must be broken to operate under authority and accomplish tasks that may frighten us to our cores. Too many pastors in plateaued and declining churches forget to be soldiers. Some are beaten down, others are burned out, and still others are bewildered about what to do next in their ministry context. Just yesterday, I received an email from a frustrated pastor who said, “You would think after eleven years in the same church that I would be empowered and confident, but that is not the case.” The task of leading a church, especially leading a church into a revitalization project is for the soldier, not for the faint of heart, and it certainly requires a special kind of boldness. Boldness is unveiling the glory of God by decisive action. Making Christ known in a world that is hostile to the message of the cross is no easy feat. It requires boldness. Allowing Christ to reign in His church, especially a church steeped in comfortable traditions, also requires boldness. Confronting sin in the camp – again requires boldness. Boldness is not just an attitude of the mind; boldness must be coupled with decisive action. One of my Revitalization Team members shared this
humorous quote with me. “Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.” Of course, boldness is more than the ability to make a decision; it is the ability to act while under pressure, to do what is right and necessary, regardless of the forces that oppose. The Apostle Paul has a great word to those who need boldness in his letter to the Philippians. He challenges the faithful there to a new level of bold living. First, Paul challenges the Philippians to govern themselves in a manner only worthy of the gospel (Phil 1:27a). Actually, Paul begins his charge to them with the phrase only worthily, an adverb, which is not easily translated into plain sense in English, but it describes the only acceptable manner in which believers can pursue the interests of the gospel. Peter and John demonstrated this worthy behavior as they stood boldly before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, exclaiming, “We cannot but speak of the things that we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Paul spoke boldly in Damascus after his conversion (Acts 9:27), in Jerusalem (Acts 9:28), in Perga (Acts 13:46), in Iconium (Acts 14:3), in Corinth (Acts 18:26), and others. Nearly every reference of Paul to boldness in the New Testament is related to his communication – boldly speaking and boldly writing. A leader cannot be considered worthy of the gospel if he or she is silent or selective about the message of God. Only worthily means that we, as revitalizers, are saying what needs to be said. We may be the only ones who can or will. Second, revitalizers can be bold because we are not in this alone. Paul reminded the Philippians to stand
by Terry Rials firm together in one spirit, in one mind, striving together for the faith (Phil 1:27b). With more than ninety-percent of churches that are plateaued or declining, it is safe to say that there are a lot of pastors who are in the same situation. Put another way, the overwhelming majority of pastors are leading plateaued and declining churches. However, one of the greatest lies of the enemy is this: “You’re the only one with this problem,” and we believe it over and over again. Elijah believed that he alone was left to be the prophet of God to his generation (1 Kings 18:22; 19:10,14), but then another prophet shows up to confront King Ahab (1 Kings 20:13). One of the great outcomes of the Church Revitalization Movement has been the development of networks of like-hearted pastors and leaders who can encourage, support each other, and offer ideas and help to each other. It is much easier to stand firm, declare with boldness, and be “in no way alarmed by your opponents” (Phil 1:28), when we realize that we are not alone. How wonderful it is to know that others are standing with us and fighting alongside us! Third, we can find boldness for the battle by recognizing that we are on the winning side. Our refusal to be intimidated by our enemies is evidence that the power of God is real in us. In fact, Paul’s encouragement is quite vivid. When he commands the Philippians to be in no way alarmed by your opponents, he used a present, passive participle (pturomenoi) that describes being run over by a stampede of animals. Paul is saying that the very fact that you are able to stand in such circumstances, instead of fleeing in panic, is a sign of salvation and victory! Pastor, you are not stuck in your church or circumstances. You are where you
The task of leading a church, especially leading a church into a revitalization project is for the soldier, not for the faint of heart, and it certainly requires a special kind of boldness. Boldness is unveiling the glory of God by decisive action. Making Christ known in a world that is hostile to the message of the cross is no easy feat.
are today because you serve at the pleasure of the King. You are where you are because Jesus has a plan that includes you, one that you do not fully understand today. If you are in the will of God, then you are on the winning side. Finally, and though this seems wrong to the western mind, it is a privilege to suffer for Christ (Phil 1:29-30). Christians are given two great gifts – 1) the free gift of salvation, and 2) the gift of suffering for Jesus’ sake. Too often we see suffering as a sign that something is wrong, but in reality, suffering can be an indicator that we are doing something very right. Paul tells the Philippians that their suffering is actually fellowship with Christ (Phil 3:10). As mentioned before, Peter and John walked out the trial before the Sanhedrin with a good flogging and also rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer
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shame for His name (Acts 5:40-41). We, as revitalizers, can be bold in the face of opposition because we know that our suffering actually furthers the gospel. It is the double blessing – we identify ourselves with Christ Jesus when we suffer for His name, and we further the progress of the gospel when we suffer boldly for our trust in Him. In revitalization, boldness is required. If we are timid, silent, absent, and tolerant, we will never experience revitalization! What happened to the prophet in you? Someone has to be the one who declares that there is something terribly wrong and this is what we must do to be right with our God once again. The time has come in the life of the church for great men and women to stand up and speak up in boldness.
Terry Rials serves as the Senior Pastor of the Crestview Baptist Church of Oklahoma City, and he serves as the Church Revitalization Team Leader for Capital Baptist Association in Oklahoma. He is a frequent conference speaker and teacher, leading church revitalization efforts in his state and nationally. You can contact Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org. 51
Is Your Marriage Revitalized? The work of the ministry is tough, and the work of revitalization is even tougher. The ministry is not for the faint of heart, and requires inner strength, personal diligence, and godly character. Perhaps this is why God created teams called marriage. Revitalization of churches takes vision and hope that God is faithful, even when people are unfaithful. Let’s be real, if the body of Christ were consistently faithful in their churches, evangelizing, discipling, and growing in their faith personally, there would be no need for “revitalization;” for all of our churches would be moving forward, not declining. Unlike the pastor who takes on an existing healthy, growing church, which is hard enough, the revitalization pastor takes on the enormous task of spiritually motivating a group of people who have become stagnant in their faith. In that type of setting, the only positive support a leader may have is that of his spouse. The pastor and his wife, when working together, become a powerfully bold force to be reckoned with by the congregation. When both partners are utilizing the gifts given them by the Holy Spirit, there is nothing they cannot overcome. Unfortunately, many a wife sees the work of pastoring, 52
By Estelle Myers or church revitalization as her “husband’s job” and she is simply there to “support her man.” At face value, this sounds good and may even look good to many from the outside. However, over time, it gets old, tired, and worn out (the concept and the wife!). When a woman sees a man struggling and does not understand the underlying dynamics of the situation, she can become very critical, especially if she begins to compare her church to the church down the road that is not struggling. Doubts can quickly creep in and cause division in the marriage and in the ministry. Why are others succeeding and we are not? Why is God taking so long to bless our efforts? Is there something wrong with my husband’s leadership? Perhaps he is not spiritual enough? Are we cut out for this type of ministry? Perhaps we should look for greener pastures elsewhere. I want out of this dead church! It has been said that behind every great man, is a great woman. There is no denying this statement; the only part that is inaccurate is the word “behind.” A more accurate term would be “beside”. The role of the pastor’s wife is not less than or equal to her husband, it is simply different, according to the gifts God has given her. An emboldened team is one in which both husband and
wife feel called to the ministry. It is one in which the wife respects her husband’s gifts and ministry within the church and the husband respects and understands his wife’s ministry as well. The Bible lists out many a great team: Ruth and Boaz, Deborah and Lappidoth, Huldah and Shallum, Anna and her husband, Joseph and Mary, Aquilla and Priscilla, Peter and his wife, just to name a few, all ministered together for the promotion of God’s Kingdom. Each of these women knew their calling, every bit as much as their husbands, and fulfilled their calling along side of their husbands. Some were prophets, judges, pastor’s wives, and the mother of Jesus; God used all in a mighty way, much the same as their husbands, and some in greater ways than their husbands. The point being that to fulfill the will of God in your ministry, husbands and wives must be working together with each other, not against one another. Solomon, in response to his own observation that a hard working man questions his work at the end of his life when he has not one to share it with, (Ecclesiastes 4:8), makes this statement: “Two are better than one; because they have a good return for their labor. If either
of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 This statement depicts the strength of a husband and wife team who love and respect each other and work together as a team. In the same way Proverbs 27:17 reminds us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Wives and husbands are to challenge each other spiritually, and hold each other accountable to the task at hand. If one begins to falter, the other is there to encourage and help the other press on to completion. Too many pastors are falling today in sin and divorce because they have either shut their wives out of their ministry or their wives abdicated their responsibility within the ministry, and left everything up to her husband. I will never forget a school that Rob and I both worked for at the same time while we were church planting in California. There was a matter that arose in which both Rob and I agreed needed to be addressed in the school. The superintendent stated that he would meet with Rob
alone or myself alone, but that he did not want to meet with both of us together as we were too much of a match for anyone together. In every church we have ministered in, the members have always recognized that they were calling a team, not simply a single man to oversee the church. We are often complemented on how well we off set each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and members appreciate the work we both perform within the body of Christ. Once they get to know us, they cannot imagine one without the other. All they see is a team, for we are “one flesh.” When I teach Master’s level seminary classes in Haiti, and especially when Rob and I have the privilege of teaching together, many of the men there tell me how they “wish” their wives were more like me and working by their side in the ministry. My response to them is all they have to do is include their wives, respect their giftedness, value their input and work as a team, and they will have just that- a force that must be reckoned with. When husbands and wives work together as a true team in the ministry great things happen. Teams promote encouragement in following vision, growth in mutual respect and in listening to new ideas, support in times of frustration and tempta-
tion, and strength to complete the task. There is no greater support that a man or woman can experience than that given spiritually when working side by side with one’s spouse. The world can be against you, but when you know you have the love and support of your spouse and God, nothing can stand in your way. This is the way of boldness in any endeavor in life.
Estelle Myers is the wife of Rob Myers and they are the lead Miami Baptist Church as it continues to be revitalized. Estelle has a weekly radio show in South Florida as well.
When husbands and wives work together as a true team in the ministry great things happen.
- Estelle Myers
Boldness and Risk Taking It is hard to see a church renewed and revitalized without being bold and actually taking risks that can build a sweat on the coolest of pastors. Church health is tied in with wisdom, boldness and risk taking. The apostles in Acts were bold and took risks. The early church knew their boldness was essential to the health and growth of Christianity around the known world. Sometimes boldness brings pain, as in attacks on the team with Paul’s missionary journeys. Sometimes boldness brings imprisonment. Sometimes boldness brings deep wounds physically and emotionally. Sometimes boldness brings isolation. Even at times, boldness and risk taking can bring martyrdom. We do not like to volunteer for that! Sometimes boldness and risk taking call us to seize the situation instead of it seizing us….that can be related to whistle blowing, the kind that the Lord uses. Whistle blowing is one of the loneliest callings in the world. It requires a boldness that is rare, as it often brings great internal pain. Whistle blowing draws us to humility to examine our own lives and to be sure that we are clean before the Lord and walking in His Spirit. Whistle blowing can scare you out of your skin but it can be the internal compass within that the Lord keeps using to say you must speak up. Whistle blowing has an emotional alarm clock that goes off saying; IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP. Whistle blowing brings fears, it stares risking your ministry in the face…but it also has a peace that lets you know you are living in integrity and doing the right
By Greg Kappas thing. Godly whistle blowing lies in the bed of righteousness, wanting to represent Jesus and His perfect will, nothing less. Whistle blowing can be prophetic like Nathan with King David, like Peter with Ananias and Sapphira, like the Holy Spirit rebuking you and me in our sin. Yet, as you may know, Whistle blowing can be speaking to a power broker in your church, after much prayer and still seeing the individual seethe. Perhaps seeing a leader or other person with abused authority threaten your very ministry and calling. Whistle blowing can put a look of worry on your spouse’s face that you may never see again. Whistle blowing hits to the core of who we are. But, the longer you delay doing what you know is God’s will, the worse your spirit will be. Restless nights, wandering thoughts, stifling the activity of God reaches a point where you jump up and say that is it, IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP. Risk taking is part of leadership. Yes, we want to measure our rebukes and weigh the nature of them. Yes, we want to respect and value relational capital. Yes, we want a long pastorate (I kind of know what some of you may be thinking by now) by God’s grace. Yes, we have families to take care of. Yes, I do care for you and a balanced life. Yet, I also care for your peace of mind…your integrity…your purity…your simplicity…your unity…your eternal rewards. There is a pastor that I love and respect who over the course of his life has had to take a scary stand that was risky and bold on 3 separate occasions. He used Biblical wisdom in his
pastoral ministry and was careful on when to speak up. Being relational and warm to others gave him healthy leverage. Yet, in his 40’s with a very large church, and yet another mid size church; and in his 50’s with a very large church, he had to stand in the gap. The first time, he and another pastor blew the whistle and they both left to other churches in time. Some of the top leaders tried to cover up blatant abuse and violations of Biblical truths. It was painful, but needed. Repentance was lacking and the very large church shrunk 200% in attendance over time. Friends, God still disciplines…and He uses our boldness and risk taking to be part of the process. Who will speak up for the Lord? Who will speak up for YAHWEH? Is it you? Or is it someone else? Will the Lord at some point in your ministry clean house and use you to be His voice. Yes, painful, lonely, depressing, discouraging, fearful, weeping, restless…and also, convincing, conviction, assuredness and peace that this is the right thing to do. Friends, WE DO NOT NEED MORE GUTLESS PASTORS IN NORTH AMERICA and beyond. One of my mentors, a beloved friend, Dr. Dennis Baker has not been afraid to speak the truth in love to many of us who he has invested in. I have had to examine myself and repent of sin in my life such as my pride, ego, desire to defend myself, concern for reputation, etc. Dennis is my friend and he loves me, which includes making me, be uncomfortable at times. He also has coached my wife and me as a couple and one time relayed to us a bold move by an incoming
pastor of a church. The newly voted in pastor, as he was settling into his leadership, found a surprise…Ananias and Sapphira revisited. This time instead of a couple, it was a team of elders. Elders who are called to lead and guard the congregation. This time that was not happening. The new pastor, in reviewing the church financials that he just currently received found some large holes from what he saw and what he had been given from the elders during his candidacy process. So large, that it dipped into a million plus dollars of varying reports. What did he do? He called the elders in, sought clarification and found out that there was deception for fear of losing him when he was evaluating his call. Reality check - they had not been honest on the Profit and Loss Statements, Balance Sheet and additional reports. Whistle Blowing – after prayer and Biblical discernment, the new pastor fired all of the elders. God cleaned house with a brave and bold man…a pastor like you and me…who had the guts, grits and calling to take action and speak up for Jesus. A Whistle Blower who did not give in to the pressure, even when he was new to that pastorate. He knew IT WAS TIME TO WAKE UP. There is more than a breeze blowing in North American churches that needs to be stopped. Our failure as pastors to adequately and effectively train paid and non paid leaders who are potential elders, pastors, deacons or key leaders in our church has now grown to hurricane size issues. Winds are stirring and they are strong. In response to Senior or Lead Pastors not being accountable enough, other elders, deacons
and key leaders, especially non paid influencers have taken internal controls and set us up as pastors. They have taken the lead, the hiring and firing and gone unaccountable themselves…the scales are unbalanced on both sides. It is time to stand in the gap. IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP! These ungodly leaders need to repent or be removed. Take the lead again for Jesus in your local congregation. God is looking for churches to be healthy, renewed and revitalized. Sometimes your godly boldness will be well taken… other times your ministry at that church could be on the line. Weigh things carefully, be soaked in prayer, be Word and Spirit controlled, encourage your spouse and children. But for all things, please speak up for God when He gives you the nod. You are His leader placed by Him for Him. When prayer takes place with genuine people of the Lord, when we are all controlled by the Holy Spirit, we will speak the Word of God with all boldness (Acts 4:31). That means new believers are on the rise…leaders are confronted and encouraged…houses of God are cleansed. That is what Jesus does through whistle blowers. He was a whistle blower Himself. Stop the bad winds and do it now. Avoid the CAT 5’s…they are always deadly.
Tick Tock Watching the Clock! What Does Boldness look Like In the Pulpit? (Continued)
- Tom Cheyney
Refreshments in the vestibule that allow for a time to talk casually each and every week prior to worship or after Bible study! Remember, a box of rock hard donut rounds just will not do it anymore! Worshiping in the park or some other outdoor area. Taking the church outside of the walls of the church! A guest musician or singer whose music will be a welcomed WOW to the majority of the participants that day. A sanctuary that is festive in its appearance and colorful. A gentle sense of humor that is good natured and not biting towards any individual. Humor can work for you or against you.
Greg Kappas, is the President of the Grace Global Network and Vice President of TTI
To Boldly Go - God’s Call for Today’s Church Revitalizer’s
By Darwin Meighan
In the Star Trek TV series, the starship Enterprise’s mission was: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, “to boldly go” where no man has gone before. Every church has been given a mission from God (Matthew 28:19-20). Remember, this is a God-sized task. What strange new worlds is he calling you to explore? What will it look like in your community, culture and world as he leads you to seek out new life and new civilizations? What will it look like for you as a pastor and for your church “to boldly go” where no man has gone before? Revitalizing pastor……where is God calling you and your church…..“to boldly go,” making disciples in Jesus’ name? As you boldly go, be assured you can trust him for God-sized results! Darwin Meighan serves as State Director of Church Revitalization/ Evangelism for the Nevada Baptist Convention. As a coach and practitioner, he encourages pastors and churches toward the process of renewal and hope – guiding them in the journey of rediscovering their God-given purpose and mission of making disciples which embraces an outward focus of engaging their community, culture and world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You may reach Darwin at email@example.com
Practical Hints that Can Help Ones Boldness in Church Revitalization and Renewal Remain upbeat and positive at all times even if you are working through a challenging scripture passage or thought. Put the Fun back in Worshipping the SON! Share the adventure. Work hard at including new participants in various forms of the worship. Use new members as “call outs” in your messages, “John Brown and I were talking about this biblical concept last week or earlier this morning, etc. Bless people from the stage more often (stop worrying you will cause them to loose a crown in heaven)! Work towards building community through challenges from the pulpit that draw people together for a cause and not for a meeting! What ever we do as a worshipping body we must continually be looking out for ways to keep it fun or make it fun. Fun is part of the doing of ministry! Drudgery and the weekly grind is deadly and poisonous for the growing & renewing church!
Shaw, Hayden. Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together In the 12 Places They Come Apart. Carol Stream, IL, Tyndale, 2013.
Sticking Points How to Get 4 Generations Working Together In the 12 Places They Come Apart by Haydn Shaw is a must read for the Church Revitalizer. Shaw masterfully and with equally valuing terms identifies the characteristics of the four generations of our time and the twelve main issues that divide them. Thankfully he does not only identify these generational chasms and leave the reader frustrated and helpless with only knowledge of their distinction. Shaw equips the reader by weaving through both principle and illustration in a five-step
Mancini, Will and Warren Bird. God Dreams: 12 Vision Templates For Finding And Focusing Your Church’s Future. Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2016. Revitalizers know the power and importance of a clearly articulated vision. Vision – what could be and what should be – is the reason you have answered the call to the ministry of revitalization. Often though leaders of all types of ministries and organizations have difficulty in clarifying and articulating vision. In God Dreams: 12 Vision Templates For Finding And Focusing Your Church’s Future Will Mancini
process that both values each generation and ushers cohesiveness. If you have ever been in a meeting and someone says something to the effect of, “In my day we did this” and you want to roll your eyes: then you need to read this book. As a Church Revitalizer you will be working with people. There is a strong likelihood that they will be of a different generation than you. They may be the traditionalist who were keeping the church together or the X-er’s and Millennial’s new to the church. A shepherd works hard to know who the people are and what has influenced them. Shaw’s work is extremely helpful in highlighting the history of each generation granting a perspective into their worldview that will not only enable you to hear what they are really saying but also speak to them in a way that really matters. The primary audience for this work is the business sector. Thus the illustrations and anecdotes stem from the Shaw’s consulting experiences in the corporate realm. Divided into three parts - though the index lists two - Shaw identifies the challenges that define each generation and then
and Warren Bird walk through a vision template process that both equips the reader to develop and articulate a vision unique to their church. A vision that is “. . . compelling, measurable, and marked by stunning clarity.” (xix) Unlike other works that give motivational and inspirational pushes towards vision, Mancini and Bird deliver templates to build from. These visual templates gives the reader a starting place and serves as fuel to ignite creativity. Working through the analysis questions and the appropriate “vision shapes” the reader discovers a place to begin in defining vision. Ultimately these templates equip the reader to refine, articulate and communicate that vision.
works through the major sticking points the generations face. One critique of the work is that there are some editorial errors in connecting what is labeled as section 2 and section 1. Namely in reading section two Shaw will speak of how he will discuss this principle in a certain chapter as if the reader had not already gone read that chapter. A minor issue in reading from beginning to end but helpful if starting with section two. As a revitalizer you must read this book – as you should read every book – through both the lenses of the gospel and into the setting of the church. As the reader from the church setting you will need to pause as you process the work asking, “how does this apply to the church?” As a revitalizer you have to work through this book. But it is enjoyable work. This reviewer will guarantee that as you read the book both faces and previous conversations will replay in your mind from the illustrated generational differences. At many points I found myself saying, “Oh, that’s why they did what they did.” Sticking Points is a must for the Revitalizers Library.
Though co-authored by Warren Bird, Will Mancini is the primary voice in the book. In addition to being an author Mancini is also the founder of the Church consulting services group Auxono. This connection emerges in the work. Thankfully though God Dreams is not a propaganda piece to solely promote the consulting service. Mancini appropriately references Auxono in both speaking to the importance of a vision in his own life towards in founding the group as well as illustrations from churches that the group has consulted with. Continued on Page 58
Book Reviews by Rob Hurtgen
BOOK REVIEWS CONTINUED... God Dreams does an excellent job of delivering the content to both form and articulate a unique vision. The content is rich, clearly delivered and so practical that reading and applying
what is read on your own will take the vision for your church to the next level. This is not a work to breeze through, pulling a few chunks out here and there. This is a work to process through. The Revitalizer would be best to read through the work, then
The Possibilities Are… This article is part 1 of a 5 part series When thinking through church revitalization, a pastor must know what the possibilities are in his present context. To know these, the pastor must first know his present reality. This addresses several areas which we will look at; people: both internal and external, and things: buildings, room sizes, equipment, etc. People (Internal) The first area to address in understanding the present reality in your church is, who do you have? How many senior adults, median adults, young adults, students, children, preschoolers; married, single, divorced, widowed; long time Christians and/or new Christians; deacons, teachers, committee members, etc. In addition to the age demographic, there is the question of what is your racial/ethnic makeup as well? Is the church all one homogenous group or multi-ethnic. Once you know for certain who you have, you can then decide what you need. The question of what you need is based on how many you have; whether 15 or 150, there is a right answer on what you need for the church to be best positioned for the future. A good rule of thumb is to have one leader for every eight members. This rule allows you to disciple a few people at a time for the purpose of fulfilling leadership roles in the church as the need arises. As you
equip one man to be a deacon, he can then mentor other men to be deacons when the timing is right for other deacons to come on board. Similarly, you can disciple someone as a teacher, and then they can begin to disciple others to be teachers, thereby reproducing the ministry of the church and your ministry as the pastor. This frees you up as the senior pastor to move on to the next needed area. People (External) The second area to address is where are you planted? This has everything to do with community context. You must consider who lives in the community surrounding the church. The church is to be a lighthouse for the community in which it is planted. So at this stage, you should not worry about the person driving from afar (unless you are in a rural community and all are driving from afar). Your focus must be on the surrounding community. Is this a community of senior adults or young singles? Are they retired professionals, young working class, middle-aged lower class? Who lives, works, and plays around your church? Then, what are the ethnicities? Reading demographics can assist with this, but nothing is better than boots on the ground work in this case. Drive through the neighborhoods, or better yet, walk the community. Treat the day as a prayer walking opportunity and look for signs of who is there and needs ministry. Is
process the work and then go over it with their team. This is one of the best recent publications on developing, refining and articulating vision: a must addition for the Revitalizers Library.
by Kenneth Priest it the down and out or the up and coming? Make a people map of your church and your community. (For more information on how to create a people map, feel free to email me). Facilities The next area to address is the campus you have. In revitalization, often times the property takes the first hit. As finances decrease, many churches begin neglecting their campus. Therefore, a thorough examination of the condition of the facilities must first be taken into account. Even if you think, “it’s not that bad around here,” the question you have to ask is, if you went to a restaurant or some other hospitality industry, would you be pleased as a paying customer with the way things look? I know, your first answer is, well people do not pay to come to church, they should be coming because the presence of God is there. If that is your first thought, and you are in need of revitalization, one might be tempted to pull out the Dr. Phil quote of “how’s that working for ya?” The reality is, the lost and unchurched are not necessarily seeking after God’s presence. They really do not know what they need. Typically they are coming to the church because they were invited by a friend or family member. You never have a second chance to make a great first impression. We must create the right environment in order
to eliminate any obstacles to sharing the Gospel with a lost person. Once you know the property is in good condition, or determined action steps to correct where it is not, you should create a facility usage map. This is a blueprint of your campus that lists what each room is used for, what equipment is available in the room, and what the capacity for the room is, based on standard growth dimensions. STANDARD DIMENSION CHART Preschoolers: 35 sq.ft./preschooler Children: 25 sq.ft./child Students: 15 sq.ft./student Adults: 10 sq.ft./adult Using this info, you take the square footage in a room, divide it by the age group listed above, and then you have the number of persons for that age group who could fit in the room. Second is to multiply by 80%, this is your growth cap. Once a room reaches 80% capacity, it is considered full. You should have a plan in place to create a new unit, or move this group to a new room by the time it reaches this capacity line. Additional facility considerations look at fellowship hall, multipurpose space, gym/recreation area, fields for softball, soccer, etc. Once you have determined “what” you have on property, and how many can fit in your rooms, you can begin to address programming questions and develop outreach strategies. For example, if you have fields not being used, or gyms not being used, could the church start an Upward type league? Or is there
䔀一 䔀匀倀䄀턀伀䰀℀ David Lema Strategical Leader in RENOVATE EN ESPAÑOL
an existing program in the community which is in need of more space and you can connect with them for using your facilities. This allows you to get people on your campus and not be the ones responsible for actually scheduling the programming or recruiting the volunteers to run the event. A church in need of revitalization, must get creative in how it uses its campus, and how it does outreach. Have a brainstorming time with key leaders to think through these types of opportunities and see what is needed in the community that your church could provide. Programming questions should center around what the greatest needs are in the community which your church can address. Again, look at your People Map, and the internal people you have. What can you
address in your community? Is one of your members a financial planner? Offer a course such as Financial Peace. Is someone a counselor, offer marriage enrichment. If you do not have these skills in your church, what do you have? People who love kids and are concerned about the next generation, offer Kid’s Beach Club. This is where the pastor has to be the prophetic voice. You have done all the above work to see what you have and who you have. Now you must develop a plan. This is knowing the possibilities. So what are the possibilities…well that’s for God to show you, and for you to follow through with His leadership.
Kenneth Priest serves as the Director of Convention Strategies for the Southern Baptists of
Texas Convention in Grapevine, TX. Kenneth has been leading revitalization endeavors since 2008 with the SBTC. He holds a Doctor of Educational Ministry degree with an emphasis in Church Revitalization from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO. Please contact Kenneth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When a Lack of Boldness Hurts the Church Revitalization Process “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest… (Matthew 25:26-27). Let’s face it, none of us wants to offend anyone nor do we want to see people leave our churches because they felt offended. However, if you have to choose between two groups of people – one that is committed to the church’s past and one that is concerned about the future, which would you choose? Or let’s put it this way, the former group wants to stick with the old traditions because that is what they are most comfortable with and the latter wants to reach the next generation with the gospel. Sadly, church revitalization often comes down to making undesirable choices such as this. Of course, we would all love to keep the peace and unite both groups and that is what a many pastors hold out for. However, lack of action on the part of church leaders may result in unintentionally driving away the group of people who are most likely to implement church revitalization principles while pampering the ones who are resisting change and are killing the church. Church revitalization requires bold leadership. Revitalizers are leaders who are willing to take risks in the face of opposition while inspiring others to make sacrifices for the good of the church and the expansion of the 60
Kingdom of God. These leaders are most likely to see the greatest improvement in renewing churches. Failure to act while holding out hope for unity may actually result in discord and disgust – the exact opposite of what was hoped for. When the speed of change is too slow, the church may loose people who were once willing to embrace and implement the changes necessary to move the church forward. Church revitalization involves some degree of risk. In the parable of the talents, the master did not reward the servant who had played it safe, but he rewarded those who took the risk and returned a dividend. Pastors and church leaders must realize that at some point failure to act is, in itself, an act of disobedience. We are not commanded in scripture to coddle a group of people who do not have in mind the things of God, but only desire to preserve the past or status quo. Look at Simon Peter, for example, when Jesus explained what had to happen in the near future: Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 16:22-23) In another incident, Peter was made to look foolish because he wanted to maintain the status quo: Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
by Mark Weible
(He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) (Mark 9: 5-6) Sometimes staying where we are is simply not an option and failure to move becomes an act of disobedience. When we are dealing with different groups of people with competing interests in the church, we must look beyond the personalities involved and look at the situation from a biblical perspective. The well-meaning group of preservationists may actually be holding the church back. In this situation, the leaders need to be bold and move ahead without them. We can hope that they catch on and catch up with the rest of the church, but we cannot tolerate their disobedience. If we don’t move decisively, we may miss the opportunity to inspire and challenge a whole new generation to move the church forward. There is no guarantee of success in church revitalization. However, one can almost certainly guarantee that failure to try will result in failure to succeed. When we hold back for those who are holding out, we will end up frustrating those who are willing to back biblical change. When they don’t see it happening anytime soon, the group of people most willing and most likely to implement necessary changes may leave before change takes place. Often churches will wait until after the more ambitious and energetic church members are gone before finally giving in to the inevitable need for revitalization. By then, it is often too late. The problem now is that there is no one left to make the needed changes. If we wait too long, it
Church revitalization involves some degree of risk. In the parable of the talents, the master did not reward the servant who had played it safe, but he rewarded those who took the risk and returned a dividend. Pastors and church leaders must realize that at some point failure to act is, in itself, an act of disobedience. may be too late. The group of people who were most committed to the church’s past may lack the energy to survive the future. If they are all that’s left, how will the church survive? In Revelation chapter two, Jesus dealt with a church in need of revitalization. He commended them for their sound doctrine and their hard work, but the church had lost her missional focus: Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Revelation 2:5) This, of course, was the church at Ephesus. After 30 years, the church had turned inward and was no longer fulfilling the Great Commission. Although the church had been doing a lot of good things, none of them were good enough to justify the church’s existence. When Jesus told the church to repent, He wasn’t commanding the church to return to her traditions, but to her first love. One only has to
read the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts to see what impact the church had in Ephesus and all of Asia Minor. Jesus told John to write to his former church and let tell them that if they didn’t get back on track, He was going to shut them down! I’ve been in many churches where I wondered if Jesus had already removed his lampstand and they had not yet realized it. These churches are comprised of well meaning people committed to the past. However, what is lacking is people with vitality and energy willing to take risks for the future. It is almost as if the people who are left behind in these dead churches are expecting Jesus to return and commend them for what they’ve held on to. If there is any regret it is in the heart of their pastors and other leaders it is that they didn’t act sooner, when they still had the people in place that could have turned their church around.
Mark Weible serves as the Church Planting Director for the Greater Orlando Baptist Association and is the Strategic Director for REnovateConference.org.
The Bold and Beautiful of Church Revitalization Seek to change your little portion of the world and watch how God changes your church into something bold and powerful! Going mild means I will occasionally, sporadically, or casually attend, volunteer, or support. My energy will not be focused on your cause. I will eventually drift elsewhere. Going bold activates people. There is a new spirit of thriving that begins to take place. Rock my life with a worship that is kicked up a notch! Tell me about Jesus in exciting ways that visually and spiritually inspire me. Challenge me to get involved and to join in on the challenge. Be the “B.” Practice boldness and you will win me over and see my total commitment to what you are attempting for the cause of Christ Jesus! -Tom Cheyney 61
Revitalize You! “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” Acts1:8.
sion. All means all, and nothing less. This means that the first part of our mission strategy must include saturation of the local vicinity or of the start point of each church. God is not willing that any be left behind. You may say that we are too small It is extremely important, to underof a church to have such a great stand that God gives us power not impact. Just think about where that for our personal edification or aggrandizement, but specifically for the comment comes from. It arises from a sheer lack of faith and understandproclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. God does not just ing of how big our God is. You may give us a loaded shotgun to sit on the say, that if we do this were going to have to make ourselves available to front porches of our hillbilly homes types of people that we are unand watch the world go by for entercomfortable with. You may say that tainment, he tells us where to aim. this is inconvenient and difficult. To I want to specifically look at the inten- people who pose such dilemmas, tional force of the target, because in I humbly suggest that they take the intentional force, you see the strat- a hard look at the cross of Jesus egy that God had for the early church. Christ. Christ died for people he The phrase starts at home, which is was uncomfortable with; for people obvious, but there is a strategy in the who pulled his beard, persecuted next two parts, where he says in all him and whipped him half to death. Judea and Samaria. So we are respon- He went to a cross for all peoples sible to win our homes and to saturate everywhere and it was not easy. If fully and completely the regions in you want an easy religion, don’t pick which we live, and from there we are one whose leader died on a cross for to launch out to the very ends of the the world, and who makes personal earth. Within that process, there is no cross bearing, a condition of followroom to leave out anyone. There is ing him. not room for a selective strategy that In order to revitalize your church, works around problematic people your first intentional obstacle to groups. The strategy that God has is overcome is your own heart as a all-inclusive and thorough. pastor. Perhaps you feel beat up and Subtly hidden behind the call, is the depressed. If that’s the case, take a demand that transcends racial prejbrief vacation; spend time in prayer udice. It is not an unknown fact that (fill up the gas tank). Come back there was tremendous animosity and with a new attitude and a plan. If prejudice between those of Jerusalem you can’t come up with a plan from and those of Samaria. Jesus chose God, then log into one of the church his words carefully to make sure that revitalization webinars with Dr. Tom the disciples understood that within Cheney and he will throw some gas the context of the command, there on your fire! would be no room for racial exclu-
by Rob Myers Know this, you can’t effectively lead as a tired man. After getting some intentional rest, and developing a plan, get very intentional about implementing your plan. Accountability is really good in this part. Find a peer you can share with and tell them what you are going to do and ask them to check on you and hold you to it. Next recruit your leadership team. If you try to implement change without your leadership team, you are either going to go for a long lonely walk to your pastoral grave, or your going to your physical grave. By the way, revitalization is not a retirement plan, it is a revival plan! I know this, I have never seen a church so bad that it cannot be revitalized. If you can’t handle this “hard” work then get out a pair of scissors and cut,” I can do all things through Christ Jesus my Lord who strengthens me” out of your Bible, or better yet quit… resign… make way for someone who believes in God! Wow, that’s tough stuff! So stop looking for someone to rescue you, and believe in the God who has placed you in the honorable position you are in. Now, go and look in the mirror and say to the guy looking back with your finger pointed at him, ”you are God’s man for this job!”
Rob Myers is the lead pastor of Miami Baptist Church, national radio host and frequent speaker at the Renovate Conference.
the cccc way of life
Our Passion—The Irreducible Core
We obey Jesus’ commands to love God, love others, and make disciples.
Our Pathway—Seven Guiding Values ■ 1. A Culture of Believing Prayer & Intercession ■ 2. Healthy Pastors
■ 3. Healthy Disciple-Making Churches ■ 4. Healthy Church Multiplication
■ 5. A Community that Lives Out a Shared Life and Shared Mission ■ 6. A Culture of Peacemaking & Reconciliation
■ 7. A Membership Reﬂective of the Harvest Field’s Diversity
Our Priorities— Church Development, Church Multiplication, Conference Care 8941 Highway 5 Lake Elmo, MN 55042
RENOVATE National Church Revitalization Conference
November 1-3, 2016 Orlando, FL
Bill Easum Tom Cheyney David Lema Lee Kricher Larry Wynn Terry Rials Ron Edmondson Rob Myers Bob Whitesel
RenovateConference.org Aloma Church
Church Revitalization Workshops
National Church Revitalization Speakers
Breakout Session Opportunities
Main Sessions by Revitalization Practitioners
Pre-Conference Intensive Subjects
Fellow Church Revitalizers Working Together