12 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. How did the church get to this state? The messiness of a struggling congregation can be so pervasive that you can only wonder what happened—or didn’t happen, in some cases. 
  2. What else can I try? Sometimes these leaders have tried so many failed strategies that they don’t know where to turn now.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Where do I start? The work in revitalization is often so extensive that leaders feel overwhelmed from the beginning. Even getting started is tough. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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. 
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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. 
  12. 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, revitalization pastors. What other questions are you asking?


  • Robin G Jordan says:

    Two questions that I found myself asking is “Are there enough people in this church to provide a critical mass for revitalization?” “Do I enjoy the support of my judicatory?” It is possible to have one but not the other. In some denominations judicatorial support is a must! The judicatory may limit what a revitalizer can do. The judicator may take the revitalizer off the job, fearing a church split over change, preferring to keep a small, declining church in the judicatorial fold rather than have it loose members, members that it might benefit from losing. A third question is “Are those whom I have identified as allies in the revitalization effort really allies?” I have found that sometimes those we think are ameniable to change and will support a revitalization effort are actually among those most resistant to change. They say that they favor change but when it comes to the come to, they strongly resist it.

  • Larry Simmons says:

    Can you revitalize a church during a pandemic.

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