How do you define Church Revitalization?

It is hard to have helpful discussions about church revitalization if we do not know what it is exactly.  What is church revitalization?  How is it different from church planting?  Here are 5 characteristics that help define the work of church revitalization:

5 characteristics of church revitalization:

1)      It is an effort to revive an established, but struggling church.

2)      It mandates a change in direction.

3)      It requires patience and understanding with those there before you.

4)      Its goal is to become a healthy, diverse, multi-generational church.

5)      Its purpose is to display the glory of Christ to the world.

I wrote an article about the 5 unexpected lessons I learned from church revitalization on a 9 marks ejournal on church revitalization.  I commend them both to you as you think through this idea of church revitalization.

Other characteristics to these 5 you would add?

Posted in Oversight of Souls
6 comments on “How do you define Church Revitalization?
  1. Guy says:

    Point 3 above: a very healthy dose of patience! And not just with those there before you but with yourself. Revitalization of a congregation is taxing on the pastor. Patience to wait for God to do the vitalizing is utterly necessary.

  2. Leigh Warmbrand says:

    After listening to your conference address in WV and reading/listening to other authors, I ask at what cost revitalize? Do we revitalize a church of 30 seniors who can’t afford a pastor and he must take bivocational or full-time work? What effect does revitalizing have on pastor’s wife and young children with no other peers? What if a church doesn’t want to revitalize, only a pastor to care for them in their older age? When do we say, “Let’s shut this down and start something new?” or is it ever appropriate to say that? Thank you for your insight and ministry?

    • briancroft says:

      Great questions. Yes, it is always appropriate to ask, “Is it time to close the doors?” In some situations, it is. However, it is also important to see that God may count it a worthy labor even with the sacrifice that comes with it to shepherd those elderly saints to their grave before those doors close. That pastor will probably not get asked to speak at church growth conferences and might even be deemed a failure by many, but would God’s evaluation be the same? I think sometimes what we deem a success and failure might be different in God’s eyes. Not sure where the balance is on this matter, but feel it is still an important issue for every pastor to wrestle with. Thanks for your eagerness to engage in these issues. They are important and relevant.

  3. I see church revitalization a lot like the rebuilding of the temple after the Exile. Some remember the past and weep loudly (Ez 3:12) while others look forward and shout with a great shout (Ez 3:11).

    Revitalization can be a slow and clumsy process that is “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). But when we take the “small steps” to restore health and holiness to God’s church, the omniscient eyes of our Lord stand over us rejoicing (Zech. 4:10).

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