Three Future Realities of Revitalized Churches
The term “revitalize” has several implications, especially when applied to the church. The prefix implies a revitalized church is one that went through a cycle: vital, not vital, and vital again. This cycle demonstrates that the church had a period of stagnation or decline. It also means the church changed, if not to a great degree. This change means the church made a decision (most likely intentional) to get unstuck.
What if an established church is stuck now? What will help with future revitalization? Every church is a unique body in a unique context. However, established churches typically share three things: resources, stability, and member loyalty. While any number of changes may be needed for revitalization, leaders maximizing these three realties will have an easier road towards revitalization.
Resources. Most established churches have a building, land, and an established pattern of giving. Church planters dream of the day when these things are present in their churches. Good leaders leverage resources to achieve the goal of revitalization. Don’t view the building as an obstacle; view it as an asset. It may need renovating, but at least it exists.
Stability. Established churches typically have people that operate in a routine. Leverage this routine. If possible, don’t fight against the pattern in which people operate. Use the pattern and routine to maximize the effort of your congregation. Go with the flow as a leader because people are more likely to gradually shift direction than they are turn on a dime.
Member loyalty. We’ve all heard people say it: “I was here before you arrived, and I’ll be here long after you leave.” You can view this statement negatively, assuming the person is obstinate. Or you can view the statement through the lens of loyalty. Assume the best of people, and they will be more likely to assume to best of your leadership. A poor leader defaults to negative assumptions. Good leaders default to positive assumptions.
These three future realities simply touch on the subject of revitalization. If you want to go deeper, then I encourage you to check out this resource from Thom Rainer (my Dad). It includes 15 video modules and 7 hours of step-by-step training and instruction, all on the subject of church revitalization. The material is being offered for a limited time, so sign up now!