I believe church revitalization is possible, and I want to help leaders ask the right questions, focus their spiritual disciplines, and move forward in the task. At the same time, though, revitalization can be one of the toughest faith challenges a pastor will face in his ministry. Here’s why:
- It requires seeing hope over despair. In some cases, the leader is the only person in the room who sees the possibility of revitalization. That’s a faith position, and it’s not an easy one.
- It forces leaders to determine if they really believe in the power of resurrection. We preach resurrection truth regarding individuals, but we sometimes find it tougher to apply that truth to dying organizations.
- It requires convincing people of the need for revitalization. In #1 above, the issue is a loss of hope; here, the issue is a lack of perceived need. That means that God must move hearts to see painful realities they don’t want to see.
- It tests a leader’s abilities. The same leaders who have a track record of success in other ministries often find themselves challenged and struggling in revitalization situations. Sometimes for the first time, they question themselves.
- It requires God-given patience. Churches needing revitalization didn’t get there overnight. They’re usually living a long-term pattern that demands patient urgency from their leader.
- It requires loving and leading believers who at times protect their comfort. Comfortable people don’t want change, and they sometimes fight to guard their turf and their history. Loving them takes faith.
- It invites attacks from the enemy. Satan delights in the decline and death of a local church, so he targets anyone seeking to change that pattern. Arrows of discouragement and frustration are common.
- It demands believing, even if witnesses of successful revitalizations are few. It’s not that those stories aren’t out there; it’s just that few leaders know many of them. They don’t have enough Hebrews 11 stories to run the race of Hebrews 12.
- It sometimes requires walking alone. Some revitalization pastors are serving in tough soil seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Even trusting that God is with them is hard if no one else seems to be on board.
If this post describes your struggle, let us know how we might pray for you. You have a bunch of readers who want to walk with you.