Replanting: Taking the next step

By Brad O'Brien

What is the next step? As a pastor I am always praying and thinking about what the next step will be for our congregation. Our church is 161 years old and I am certain that we are still alive because God has a plan to use us in the city of Baltimore and beyond. I think a lot of frustration in life comes from not knowing what the next step is so we feel like we stall out and lose momentum.

By now you have probably heard about the North American Mission Board’s commitment to Replanting, but just in case you don’t know what this is let me take a second to tell you more. One of the realities within our denomination that we don’t talk about a lot is the number of churches that die each year. Recently we found that we lose about 900 churches each year. That means that next Sunday there will be several churches saying their final benediction. They will lock the doors one last time and their lampstand will be extinguished.

What if God wanted to do something about those churches? What if He loved those churches just as much as the popular churches in your city? What if Jesus shed his blood for those churches on the brink of death just as he did for those on the verge of their launch? We believe that God can gain great glory from those churches that are near death if the congregation is willing to be led and if there is a godly man to lead them.

That being said, we want you to know about a few “next steps” that may be applicable for you.

Church Candidates

If your church is 3-5 years from locking the doors for the final time then you are a candidate for being replanted. If you are a pastor, elder, deacon or lay leader in a church like this then we want to share a few next steps with you.

  • Consider doing a weekly Bible study while using Henry & Richard Blackaby’s book Flickering Lamps. Also, reach out to Blackaby Ministries International about how they might be able to do a renewal weekend event in your association for other churches as well.
  • Reach out to your local Director of Mission or Church Planting Catlalyst to let them know about your current status. Also, contact your state convention staff to ensure that they are aware of your church’s status.
  • Considering joining us in Alpharetta in late August for a Replant Lab. This event will help you get a better grasp in regards to what it will take to see your church growing in the gospel again. There is no one size fits all fix, but this event will be a great introduction to you. You can register for this free event here. (There is a limited seating capacity for this event, so please don’t wait to register.)

Pastor Candidates

If you believe that God is calling you to pastor a church that is in need of being replanted we have a couple of next steps for you as well.

  • First, you should take some time to read up on what we’re doing. You can find a lot of different resources at Also, we’ve found the guys from Practical Shepherding to be very helpful too. (
  • Share your calling with your current pastor/elders and ensure that they affirm what you believe God is calling you to do.
  • Consider joining us in Alpharetta in late August for our Replant Lab where you can get started in the process of being trained and equipped to pursue your calling. You can register for that event here. (There is a limited seating capacity for this event, so please don’t wait to register.)

No matter where you are in the life of your church or in your personal calling, we want you to know that there is a next step for you. 

Published June 12, 2016

P.S. Get our best content in your inbox

We send one email per month full of articles from a variety of Replanting voices.

Brad O'Brien

Brad O'Brien and his family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, to plant a church in the heart of the city, after serving on staff at the Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, for 10 years. Ultimately God led them to merge their church plant with an existing church that had been established in 1855. Brad and his wife, Jena-Marie, have been married for 11 years and they are the proud parents of three little girls. They are expecting their fourth child in May 2019. The O'Briens love city life and the replanting journey they have been on for the past five years.