Review: Biblical Church Revitalization

Brian Croft
(Christian Focus Publications, 2016)

Brian Croft begins his book with an intriguing look at two extremes in church revitalization—actions of the pragmatist and the purist. The pragmatist tries to revive a church with “clever gimmicks and appealing programs.” The purist does so with an “extremely narrow view of biblical forms of worship.”

In Biblical Church Revitalization, Croft tries to lead pastors down a middle road between those two extremes. He describes this middle road this way: “This method rests its full weight on the truth that God’s spirit working through His word is the only way to bring true lasting spiritual life to a local church. And yet it also values the truth that it is good and right for the bride of Christ to look beautiful and appealing to God’s people and even to intrigue those who are hostile to Christ in the world. This approach incorporates both the deep conviction that God’s power by His Spirit and word does the work and the fact that God also uses creativity, passion, unique gifts, and the zeal of His leaders and people to breathe life and build His church.”

Then Croft takes readers through a fascinating journey into defining, diagnosing, and doing church revitalization. Along the way, he touches on core questions that churches must face during revitalization, including: How does God revitalize a dying church? How does a pastor prepare to revitalize a church? Who is in charge? Who do I follow? Who is my brother?

In the book’s final section, where Croft discusses the process of revitalization, he tells the story of his revitalization ministry at Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

Any church leader who feels called to church revitalization can benefit from the book. Biblical Church Revitalization is particularly strong in balancing the defining and diagnosing work of revitalization along with the practical skills of doing it. For churches considering training other pastors who sense a call to revitalization, the appendix includes the syllabus Croft uses for a church revitalization internship he leads in partnership with The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.