It has been my experience that every church is going through a process of revitalization in some form or another. I have never met a pastor who did not want their church to be healthier or to grow. Every church that I have served in tirelessly worked to be more useful for the glory of God.
We pushed because we knew church health and the salvation of souls hung in the balance. We worked hard in revitalization because we knew that churches that revitalize well, in most cases experience biblical growth and churches that do not work at revitalization end up in stagnation and death. Church revitalization must be a constant work of every church leader. But what does it look like to revitalize well?
After leading churches in the work of revitalization and working through countless hours of materials on church revitalization, I have found three things to be imperative for the work of revitalization. Here is the third step.
Understanding The Pastor’s Role in Church Revitalization
The Pastor is the Front Runner For Revitalization.
The pastor plays a vital role in communicating the vision of church revitalization. The pastor is the out-front and visible leader of the church. Therefore, the pastor is designed to be the one leading the charge for church revitalization. He is delegating tasks and letting people know what needs to get done. There is also great power in the pulpit to steer the church, and the pastor must utilize this power to lead the church in the process of revitalization. Casting a vision of the church’s bright future to reach the next generation for the cause of the Kingdom, and proclaim salvation in Christ alone is the pastor’s privilege and responsibility.
The Pastor is the Visionary for Revitalization.
The pastor must have a clear vision for revitalization. When a church makes shifts to become healthy and effective, the forces of evil always push back. Pushback may present itself through spiritual warfare on the pastor’s family, or resistance to change from the church family. Regardless of the method, the pastor must have a clear vision of the Lord for the mission of revitalization. If the pastor committed to church revitalization, the church will lose sight of their purpose and return to stagnation. But if the pastor is clear and committed to what the Lord has called, he will remain faithful and see his calling for church revitalization through.
The Pastor is the Leader for Revitalization
Church revitalization is hard work for a pastor. Churches consist of people who want to run the church their way, individuals who desire for nothing to change or grow, apathetic people who don’t care whether the church grows or stagnates, and others who wish to see their church grow but don’t know how to go about it. Therefore, strong pastoral leadership is a requirement for church revitalization. Pastors must determine if they are ready and committed to lead the church to take on the mission of revitalization. Church revitalization takes time, and if the pastor is already considering a move or is uncommitted to the church’s future, it would be best for the pastor not to take the leadership role the process of revitalization.
The process of church revitalization is not an easy task. Leading a church through the many stages of church revitalization, namely, grieving the past, working through change, and envisioning a future takes patience and endurance for even the most seasoned pastors. Theologically we must understand that while church revitalization is complicated, God cares about the health of his church. Jesus loves his bride greatly, and he will return for her soon (Rev 19:7). He has even given her great, enduring power in a dark world and has promised her victory over the powers of hell (Matt 16:18). While the work of church revitalization is no doubt hard work, God has called us to the task, and I believe the work is worth the effort.