Years @ Church: 4 years
Our Church is a: Revitalization
What led you to Church Revitalization or Replanting?
I felt a struggle with the idea of planting. I understood and sympathized with the concept of going into an under-chuched area but my heart was jacked up by the idea of the established churches dying all around me. People also saw within me a gift for revitalization. That coupled with my lack of entrepreneurial experience or desire led me in the direction of revitalization.
What have been your top 3 challenges as leader/pastor in this revitalization/replanting effort?
- Patience – This is a personal challenge and sin. I am driven and visionary. The way I was raised left me with little sentimentality so leaving the past and moving toward the future is easy for me. However doing that too often or too fast is not healthy for any church. I have needed accountability and encouragement to be more patient.
- Finances – On a corporate level the finances seem to always be an issue. Even with strong numerical growth the money takes a little longer. We have compensated for this through strong, godly stewardship.
- Self-worth – Another personal sin. I am tempted to let other’s opinions of me determine how I see me as opposed to the Gospel and completed work of Christ. Other pastoral friends and a Christ like wife really help me in this.
What are three “If I could start all over again” learnings you have as result of your work?
- I would be much more intentional with the nay-sayers, trouble makers and senior adults.
- I would have tried to go out of my way to encourage them and let them see how I truly do love them. Too often I had a ‘they know I love them’ approach and sometimes we find out that they did not know it.
- I should have spent more time on that and less time on graphics, web presence and even fellowship.
How is God showing Himself faithful in your work? Where do you see Him at work?
He has taken us through a desert season with some rough times following strong growth. In that we have grown closer. We have also seen Him prune away a great deal of people who were not invested in the mission. The hard challenges proved to be something they were not willing to do. While we have actually reduced in size, what now remains is more willing to reach the community and to glorify Christ than those who were once with us. In fact I believe we are in a better position to do just that with out the ‘dead weight”.
What words of wisdom would you give to those considering Church Replanting or Revitalization?
- Talk-You have to have someone who you can talk these things out with. I am fortunate to know several guys around the nation and locally who are going through this with me. I have a great mentor and some other pastoral friends who let me yammer on forever. It is very helpful to me. /li>
- Read – There are so many great resources out there. I found Autopsy of a Dead Church by Thom Rainer (read – EVERY SINGLE BOOK BY THOM RAINER) very helpful. Also, there is no advice I could give you that is not better said than what Calvin Miller wrote in Letter’s to a Young Pastor.
What resources have been most helpful to you and your Church as you seek to be Replanted/Revitalized?
The resources put out by 9 Marks are invaluable. The North American Mission Board is a great resource for getting involved with the challenge. Books by Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer are also very good. ( I am so SBC!)
Where do you see the movement of Legacy Church Planting/Church Revitalization going?
Up! It is so clear this is something that God is doing. I see His finger prints all over this thing. I envision a day in which cities are claimed for God’s glory located in the ‘Bible belt’ in which thousands of churches teeter on a knife edge. I look forward to the day in which the concept of large churches funding revitalization work is attempted before campusing. I am excited about all of the young Bible college and seminarians going into school looking for training on caring for the dying established church.
I am sure conferences, boot camps, networks and the like will arise but I am more excited about the day-to-day brotherhood that is forming around and for the men who are engaged in one of the emotionally and physically exhausting positions within Kingdom work.
Is God calling you to Legacy Church Planting? Join the movement
Published February 26, 2015