It is easy to talk about church revitalization. It is a little harder to acknowledge that your church needs it. It is even harder to see revitalization become a reality. While there can be many contributing factors, there are several common reasons why church revitalization efforts fail.
1- Too little, too late
Some churches wait too long to make needed changes. It’s not that they are not making some of the right changes, it’s that the changes they are making are long overdue and not significant enough.
If your church has already lost the majority of its younger families, revitalization is going to be especially challenging. If your church needs revitalization and you are not interested in making significant changes, don’t expect results. Doing too little, too late makes revitalization especially challenging.
2- Lay leadership is not on board
If the lay leadership is not on board revitalization will not happen. Why? The church membership typically listens to the lay leadership. Your lay leaders have influence and pull within the congregation. If they are not for actively pursuing revitalization, it will not happen.
3- Church membership is resistant
There are times when the lay leadership is on board and willing to pursue revitalization, but the membership is still resistant. Revitalization is a church effort. While it does begin at the top, the members can derail the effort.
4- Trust in their own efforts
Decisions have to be made in order for a church to experience revitalization. However, one of the dangers is to trust our abilities to make adjustments more than we trust God to work. Revitalization is not just a practical issue, it is a spiritual issue as well.
5- An unwillingness to make difficult decisions
It is not uncommon for a church to realize they need revitalization, but then refuse to make the difficult decisions that can make revitalization a possibility. It’s as if the church wants the results of change without having to make the changes. If our churches are unwilling to make difficult decisions we will not experience revitalization.
6- You are more concerned with keeping people than reaching people
This is tough. Pastors never want people to leave their churches. However, for revitalization to take place, you have to be more concerned with reaching people than you are with keeping people. Revitalization will never happen if the fear of losing people stands in the way of difficult decisions being made.
Maybe your church realizes its need for revitalization. If so, be on guard for these things that can derail your efforts.