Why We Should Focus on Church Revitalization

Church planting has been somewhat trendy as of late. This is a wonderful thing. Stats tell us that new churches often do a better job of reaching the unchurched than do established churches. I pray this church planting boom continues. However, I would love to see the focus on church revitalization reach equal popularity. There are several reasons why I think this needs to be a focus.

1- It allows us to be good stewards of the property churches already own.

A very practical reason church revitalization should be a focus for us is that churches (even ones that are dying) already own buildings and property. Instead of seeing these facilities torn down or sold to developers, let’s focus on revitalizing these churches so that they are once again infused with life and energy.

This is a stewardship issue. Let’s not ignore the resources that already exist because the current church culture is challenging. Let’s revitalize the churches and leverage those resources for Gospel advancement.

2- It paves the way for church plants to merge with an established church.

Those who are planting churches are often looking for a place to meet. Dying churches are often concerned about empty facilities. Church revitalization brings the two parties to the table. In the past week I have heard of this exact thing happening multiple times in my region of the country. What a wonderful opportunity.

This is something that church planters have to be open to. It is also something that established churches have to be willing to pursue. But when both groups get excited about the gospel, revitalization can happen.

3- It is an avenue of discipleship.

Those in the struggling church need to be discipled. They need to be shown how their inward focus is standing in the way of them making an impact for Christ. This is not just about leveraging resources to reach the unchurched; this is also about discipling the churched. Revitalization allows that to happen.

4- It can be a great testimony to the community.

Imagine living in the same area for thirty years. Over that time you have seen a once thriving church, slowly decline and struggle. It is now on the verge of death. But something begins to happen. There is a renewed energy. There is growth. There is excitement. There are ministries started and new people coming. You learn through the grapevine about the revitalization effort that has taken place by way of churches partnering together to help this congregation become mission-focused. What a testimony that is.

Far too many people in our communities have watched churches die. It is about time they see churches revitalized.

I love church planting. But I also love church revitalization. When we pursue both, we will see a greater impact.


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Why Online Ministry Matters

I love blogging, working with websites, and exploring new online technology. In fact, I’m planning on starting a ministry podcast later this Fall. For me, it’s a hobby. It’s something I enjoy. However, there are other reasons why I utilize, what I call, online ministry. Here are several reasons why you should as well.

1- It enables you to engage your church throughout the week.

An online ministry can allow a pastor to continue to engage his congregation past Sunday. Blog posts can reinforce the message. Audio of the sermons can be available for those who were sick or on vacation. Prayer needs can be shared through a private Facebook page. Bible verses can be tweeted out as an encouragement. Podcasts can be published to offer additional guidance throughout the week. The opportunities are endless.

2- It spreads the message of Christ.

All of the available avenues that can contribute to an online ministry allow a church or a pastor to spread the message of Christ beyond one local address. While a pastor’s primary responsibility is his local congregation, there is nothing wrong with the message of Christ being spread beyond that congregation. The truth is that an online ministry allows you to reach and help many more people.

3- It is where many people spend much of their time.

Many people live on social media – spending hours a week wrapped up in the online web of information. We need to be putting out information in a format that is accessible to those people.

4- The cost is very low.

While there can be some costs associated with some online services, much can be done for free. This enables us to drastically further our gospel impact without drastically increasing our financial investment.

5- It keeps your content accessible.

In years past, a pastor would preach a sermon, and unless it was put on a cassette tape or published in a book, it was no longer accessible after the message was over. Websites, blogs, podcasts, and other online tools make that content available for anyone at anytime.

6- It’s a way to build relationships with other pastors.

Pastors need encouragement from other pastors. There have been many times that I have had the opportunity to communicate with other pastors, teachers, and missionaries as a result of what I do online. Those conversations have been a source of encouragement for me.

7- It allows those who are skeptical about church to listen and learn before attending.

I heard someone say that 80% of people visit a church’s website before attending their service. What does this mean? It means that having an online ministry allows people to learn more about you before the make the intimidating decision to visit your church for the first time.

I am sure there are many other reasons why online ministry matters, but the point is that we should be leveraging online ministry to further the Kingdom of God. That is a worthwhile cause.

How Churches Can Make the Most of the Fall Season

Many churches see growth in the Fall. As ministries begin and programs resume, attendance usually increases. The 3-month cycle of families being on vacation ends, school starts back, and people settle back into a routine. All of these factors make the Fall a great time for churches to focus on growth. There are several specific things churches need to do to capitalize on this time of year.

1- Ensure that all of your programs, ministries, and activities are contributing to your church’s stated purpose and mission.

It is easy to simply start back programs that you have always had simply out of habit or routine. There needs to be an evaluative process to ensure that everything the church is doing is helping accomplish the church’s mission in the most effective way. If it’s not, you either need to make adjustments to it or get rid of it. While this is hard, doing it will propel your church’s effectiveness forward.

2- Focus on connecting the casual attenders to your church.

During the Fall you will see an increase in casual attenders. These are people who may not be members, who don’t attend regularly, who have no relationships with others in the church, and who are not involved in a ministry. Make it a point to reach out to them. Seek to connect them more deeply to the church. Create a ministry team whose task is to visit each of these people.

3- Reach out to those in the community.

It’s not just the people in your church who settle into more of a routine in the Fall. Everyone else in the community does as well. This makes it a great time to reach out to them.

4- Seek to impact your community.

Most communities have events in the Fall. These events are a great opportunity for the church to make a difference. As a pastor, I am involved in our community’s Veteran’s Day celebration. Our church is planning to partner with our local elementary school in providing our community a Fall Festival. Our senior adults are involved in a school supply drive for our schools. Whatever your community does, get involved. Doing so will allow you to meet people who you would not otherwise meet — people who need a relationship with Jesus.

The Fall is right around the corner. Spend some time over the next few weeks determining how you and your church can make a difference for Christ.