Why Revitalize the Church?

Brandon Moore, Church Revitalization Specialist, Missouri Baptist Convention

Last post, we focused on God’s target for His church: what we are shooting for in church revitalization. Before we get into specifics on how to work with churches in need of revitalization, one more key element remains: why should we revitalize churches?

Our why will shape and fuel our methods. Our purpose must be aligned with who God has created us to be, or we will become discouraged and distorted. So how do our God-given identities, foundations, and structures as a church align and fuel our pursuit of church revitalization?

  1. Our identities as Worshipers, Family, and Missionaries give us our motivation.
    • Because churches are created to reflect God to the world
      • If they lack holiness and devotion as worshipers, they tell the world that God is not holy, sin isn’t a big deal, and God is not worthy
      • If they lack unity as family, they tell the world that God’s love doesn’t have the power to overcome our differences.
      • If they lack urgency as missionaries, they tell the world that embracing the Gospel is just not all that important and his saving grace just isn’t that amazing.
    • Dying churches send these kinds of messages & more to the world, if that doesn’t motivate you to revitalize, I don’t know what will. We must pursue revitalization that God would be glorified and the Gospel would transform communities.
  2. Our foundations of the Gospel, Scripture, and Prayer give us our confidence.
    • It’s often been said that it’s easier to give birth than raise the dead. But here’s the truth of the matter: we can’t do either without God, and He’s given us everything we need in these foundations to revitalize healthy churches.
    • With Scripture as our guide, the Gospel as our hope of transformation, and the power of the Spirit through prayer, we have every reason to be confident that God intends to bring churches back to life.
  3. Our structures of Leadership, Membership, and Discipleship give us our mandates.
    • Leadership as God intends reminds us that he has gifted his people with pastors to shepherd them toward health and vitality on an ongoing basis by knowing, feeding, leading, and protecting his flock with the patience, love, and truth of the Chief Shepherd. 
    • Membership as God intends reminds us that every member matters even those that are malnourished. Jesus’s heart is for everyone single one of his people, his sheep, not just those easy to get along with but even those who bite the shepherd.
    • Discipleship as God intends reminds us that our job is not just to win souls, though vital and important, but also to teach them to obey all Jesus commanded. This means if we are going to be faithful to the great commission, we must revitalize churches that are full of disciples who have yet to learn to obey all that Jesus commands. We must make whole disciples.
    • Our structures mandate that we shepherd like the Chief Shepherd, care for every member, and make whole disciples. We cannot faithfully do this unless we pursue the revitalization of churches.

As we align with and are fueled by God’s complete target for his church, we avoid the trappings of a search for a silver bullet solution. We’re forced to recognize that we cannot focus merely upon one aspect of who the church is supposed to be and expect revitalization. We must be holistic in our treatment, and we must persevere through the trials that revitalization brings by remembering the motivation, confidence, and mandates God embeds in His vision for His people.

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