Church Revitalization: Has Your Church Become Stagnant?

Over the past few years you have likely heard a great deal about church planting.  The XMN has been fortunate to help plant a number of healthy vibrant churches right here in Desoto and Tate County.  All of the churches which the XMN helped start are faithful members of the association and participate regularly through our various events.  Church planting is a must and we will continue to partner to plant churches in the coming days.

There is also another need in our area.  As an association and state convention we must focus on  Church Revitalization.  (Church Revitalization is a process through which a church is willing to make changes in order to become “revitalized” growing and healthy).  The popular statistic among Mississippi Baptists today is that over the past 10 years 75% of our Mississippi Baptist churches have plateaued (stopped growing/stagnant) or are in decline (loosing membership).  Naturally, there is never a fix-all solution but I believe there are several principles we can learn from other successful Church Revitalization projects.

Pastor J.D. Greear became the pastor of Homestead Heights Baptist Church in Durham, NC in 2001.  Homestead Heights was planted in 1962 and had seen growth over her years but had reached a point of yearly decline.  Pastor Greear, in his article Five Factors that Brought Life to a Dying Church, (pp.44-47) identified that when he became the pastor of Homestead Heights that the church had a previous pastor who was caught in immorality, one former pastor tried to impose a Willow Creek model ministry and the pastor prior to him was a theological moderate.  These issues along with other spiritual issues led the the churches decline.  Pastor Greear’s church had seen decline for 4 straight years in attendance and offerings.  But there was hope!

Today, over the past 11 years Pastor Greear has seen explosive growth, men, women, children and families come to Christ and members sent out on mission and ministry.  There church has a new name, persona and revitalized.  Today, the Summit Church is a healthy growing congregation…….and it seems hard to imagine that at one time they were on the verge of collapse.  Five principles Pastor Greear reflects on that helped his church through the transition of revitalization are as follows:

The Five Life-Giving Factors Pastor Greear:

  1. Inward Transformation Drives External Change
  2. Do Not Underestimate the Power of Momentum
  3. Beware of Fighting Battles that Lead You Nowhere.
  4. Create a Sending Culture
  5. Lead Your People To Yearn

(To read the entire article or gain additional insight into each point please click on the link above)

I believe churches from time to time should to take an honest look at where they are numerically, financially and spiritually.  Has your church seen declining attendance and resources for 3 years or more?  All churches have the potential to be healthy and growing.   After all,  we are the body of Christ.  Every church has potential and the XMN can help you identify opportunities to do so.

If you would like to learn more about tracking your churches attendance and finances or are interested in Church Revitalization please contact your XMN Area Missions Director.  There are tools available to help.