3 Mindsets that Contribute to Church Revitalization

There are many stagnant or declining churches in the US. While it is certainly beneficial to try to determine what has led to the stagnation, it is equally helpful to understand how a church can be revitalized. Here are 3 mindsets that contribute to revitalization in a church.

1- A Sense of Urgency

Complacency is the opposite of urgency and it can kill churches. Urgency says that there is work to be done, there is no time to lose, and opportunities can be lost if we stall. Urgency understands that there is something at stake and immediate action is needed.

For some churches what triggers the mindset of urgency is the realization that their church is dying. For other churches what triggers this mindset is the realization that they are not seeing lives changed.

Here’s the truth: complacency always leads to death in a church. Cultivate a sense of urgency.

2- An ‘Others First’ Mindset

Churches that are on a downward trajectory usually have a ‘me or us first mindset.’ The ‘me first’ mindset says that the church is here for me. It is here to meet my needs, align with my preferences, and make me comfortable. The ‘me first’ mindset is not concerned with reaching or ministering to others. Those with this mindset simply want to be catered to.

The ‘others first’ mindset says that “I will lay my preferences aside for the sake of reaching others.” It says “the mission of the church comes first.” It says “I am willing to be uncomfortable for the sake of advancing the gospel.”

Churches with a ‘me first’ mindset will never reach others.

3- An Eternal Perspective

Many churches that are dying have a temporal perspective rather than eternal. The questions that usually guide their decision-making process is incomplete. They ask “what do we need to do right now?” The question they should be answering is this. “What can we do right now that will have the greatest eternal impact?” If we do not have an eternal perspective we will not make the right decisions.

Churches with an eternal perspective are passionate about making a difference for eternity. They are more concerned with building God’s kingdom than their own. They are willing to say no to certain programs and ministries so that they can focus on those things that have a lasting impact.

It is hard for a church to make an eternal impact without having an eternal perspective.

Churches who want to experience revitalization, first have to change their mindset regarding ministry. They must realize that eternity is real and that Jesus is coming again soon. This realization leads to a sense of urgency that is focused on others and attempts to make a difference for eternity. Churches who do this will experience true revitalization.

5 Areas of Focus for Churches Who Want to Experience Revitalization

With so many churches experiencing decline or stagnation, efforts in church revitalization are on the rise. I have talked with many pastors who want to see their churches revitalized, but are not sure where to focus their efforts. The truth is that church revitalization must be an entire church effort. If the pastor is passionate about, but the rest of the membership isn’t, it won’t happen. But, for those churches who are serious about revitalization, here are 5 areas of focus that can help.

1- Focus on Your Purpose

What is it that God has called you to do? What is your church’s specific purpose? Why does your church exist? Many times churches that are experiencing decline have lost sight of their purpose. They are not talking about it and they are not actively pursuing it. Therefore, they are not accomplishing it.

To experience church revitalization there must be a refocus onto your God-given purpose.

2- Focus on Being Intentional

Accomplishing your church’s mission will not happen accidentally. If your church has been in a state of decline, you must be intentional about refocusing your church. If you do what you’ve been doing you will get what you’ve been getting.

To experience church revitalization your church must operate intentionally.

3- Focus on the Community

Oftentimes, the churches which are declining also have a very inward focus. They only think about how decisions will affect their members, they are resistant to change, and fail to see the community through the eyes of the Great Commission.

To experience church revitalization churches must take their eyes off of themselves and place them on the community.

4- Focus on Prayer

Prayer is the primary key to church revitalization. As much as churches should remove barriers to revitalization, they must understand that true revitalization is a work of God.

If a church never prays for revitalization, it will never experience revitalization.

5- Focus on Excellence

Churches that are experiencing decline tend to be okay with the status quo. Quality and excellence are not a focus, because they are okay with how things are. They must look at all aspects of their ministry through the eyes of a guest.

Pursuing excellence communicates that you are passionate about your church.

Church revitalization can happen, but you must want it, actively pursue it, and pray for it. For those who are serious about making a difference for the Kingdom of God, revitalization must be a priority.


4 Reasons Established Churches Should Partner with Church Planters

Sometimes established churches view new churches that are being started by church planters as competition. In their mind, “there are already churches, why would someone want to start more?” Not only should established church want new churches to be started, they should partner with church planters in support of new churches being started. Here are 4 reasons why.

1- It is sometimes easier to start a new church than it is to revitalize a dying church.

Revitalizing a dying and declining church is difficult. Typically the church is dying and declining for a reason, and the church is resistant to making the necessary changes for turning things around. There are sacred cows to tiptoe around, traditions that can’t be touched, and people who cling to their programs and positions. At times these churches have gained a reputation in the community for not reaching out to others, for bickering, or being stuck in past traditions. These realities make revitalization difficult.

While starting a new church certainly has challenges, they usually do not stand in the way of reaching people.

2- The unchurched in our communities are more likely to attend a new church than an established church.

This is primarily due to the fact that, in the mind of the unchurched, the established church has done very little to minister to them. New churches are usually very focused on community outreach, evangelism, and growth. As a result, those in the community see the new church as a new opportunity. There is a curiosity surrounding new churches that established churches simply do not garner.

3- There are plenty of people to be reached.

The truth is that established churches are not reaching everyone, nor can they. New churches need to be started because more people need to be reached. It really is that simple.

4- Partnering with a church planter can help turn an established church’s focus outward.

It is easy for the focus of established churches to turn inward over time. One great way to remedy that wrong focus is to partner with church planters who are focused on reaching the community for Christ. This kind of partnership can help those in the established church see the need that exists, it can remind them what outreach looks like, and can help renew their passion for outreach.

I believe that established churches should actively pursue partnering with church planters – working with them to impact their communities for Christ. The opportunities are endless and the impact is eternal.