10 Questions of Pastors in Churches Needing Revitalization

I work a lot with pastors who are seeking to revitalize the church they lead. So that all of us might pray more passionately and strategically for these leaders, I’ve compiled this list of questions these pastors are often asking:

  1. What else can I try? Sometimes these leaders have tried so many failed strategies that they don’t know where to turn now.
  2. Am I part of the issue? This question’s a tough one, but it’s an honest (and necessary) one. The answer can be painful.
  3. Is this church really savable? You’d hope that leaders seldom ask this question, but it reveals the faith struggle behind revitalization. If leaders can’t see with faith what God can do, revitalization seldom works.
  4. Is God really listening to my prayers? That question arises when it feels like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. The long process of revitalization occasionally leaves a leader feeling this way.
  5. Why’s everybody so opposed to change? I’ve never seen a church experience genuine revitalization without some level of change. Pastors who hit the wall of traditionalism, though, battle discouragement when seemingly everybody fights change.
  6. Did God really call me to this task? Revitalization is hard. It can be so slow that the leaders want to give up – and begin to wonder about God’s calling. “Maybe God didn’t gift me to do this,” they say, “perhaps I need to think about church planting.”
  7. How long do I wait? Revitalizing leaders want to see God work, and they want to see His hand soon. Any delay in God’s response creates a crisis of patience and faith for the leader.
  8. Who else can I talk to? Regrettably, few revitalization leaders have a friend or colleague with whom they can be honest. They face the struggles alone – and that’s a dangerous place to be.
  9. Who else has done this task well? Every pastor I know who’s working in a revitalization situation wants to see examples of other churches that have experienced victory. Every positive story increases the leader’s hope and faith.
  10. What books should I be reading? The number of books about revitalization is increasing, and few leaders can read everything available. Help in assessing the resources is always welcomed.

Help us, pastors. What other questions are you asking?


  • Wes says:

    “How can I say no without hurting people?” In any declining church there are members who believe they know the answers. As a pastor you can see the consequences of their solutions and know they would be foolish.

  • M.A. Hayward says:

    “Is it time to hand the baton to someone else?” It’s kind of tied to #2 and #6, but after 12 years in my current ministry this is a question that comes up for me: “What else do I have to offer this fellowship? Have I done my part and it’s time to move on?” Until I hear a clear word on that, I will diligently and joyfully continue to do all I feel God has set before me. But I wrestle with that one from time to time.

  • Bradley says:

    In the church I pastor I have a lot of conversations about the “glory days.” The questions I often ask myself are: How do I get them to let go of the past, live in the present, and plan for the future of the church? How do I get them to understand the church will never go back to what it once was?

  • Thomas says:

    “Am I trying to do more than God?”

    At a funeral one lady (former member) insonuatingly asked me, ‘So you’re the new pastor, do you think you’ll be able to grow the church?’
    I replied, “No ma’am. It’s up to God. I cannot do more than Him.”

    God reminded me that day that He is the one to bring new life into His church. We have to be totally dependent on Him by trusting His timing, relying on His Spirit, and giving Him all the glory.

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