Thursday, May 8, 2008

10 Ideas for Church Revitalization

1. Let it die.

  • Winter must come, there's no way around it. Spring always follows, but winter must come. Expect people to get mad and quit. (and btw...according to them, it will be your fault, but don't worry, just let them go, it's okay!)

2. Get some stick-to-it-ism.

  • There will be a power struggle. (This is one battle you can't lose!) They will try to run you off, but you must choose to stay. You must establish yourself as the head of the church. It is biblical, the Pastor is the God given authority in the church and everyone must believe that--including you!

3. Know that you know that you know that you know God called you to that church.

  • Don't "put out a fleece" that you'll know God called you if the vote to keep you is unanimous. Did it ever occur to you that there might be someone in that church that doesn't want what God wants?? When the tide rolls, things are going to get ugly. You're going to have to know that God called you and no one else. The only time it's an option to leave is when the work is done. You can't use "God's telling me to move on" as an excuse to tuck tail and run when things get rough!

4. Have other income.

  • When it comes time for the financial questions to bombard you, it will be easier for you mentally when you know you don't depend on the tithe to pay your bills. Being dependant on the tithe as your sole means of livelihood, provides an opportunity to be tempted to give in to the pressure.

5. Know the vision God gave you.

  • You are the Pastor. God leads through you and you alone. God does not go around you and have Sis. Sassy Pants and Bro. Good O. Boy to tell you what He wants you to do. God asked you to go and lead the people. God will talk to you, have no doubt!

6. God's Will is God's Bill.

  • An evangelist once told us this during a sermon. He looked my husband straight in the eyes and very passionately said "God's will is God's bill." He must have repeated it at least 20 times during that service. That word has never left us. God is your Source, He will take care of it and you!

7. You must be willing to sacrifice tradition.

  • Earl Creps said that our culture changes every 3-5 years. The church changes every 30 years. God is not concerned with the "good ol' days", he's concerned with building His kingdom, i.e saving souls and keeping them (sometimes known as discipleship). Your church can't continue to function like it's the 1940's or even the 1980's. Wake up Pastor! It's 2008, function in it!

8. Hard Work only zone, NO SCHMUCKS ALLOWED.

  • There will be times when it won't get done unless you do it. But rest assured, if it is the direction God is leading you in, you will be able to do it. (He equips those He calls) It's the hardest thing in the world to wear multiple hats, but it can be done!

9. Burn out is hogwash!

  • Watch out for the "I'm just burned out" statement. The Word tells us that He will renew us when we wait on Him. When we stay in right relationship with God, we won't get burned out. We may get tired, and feel weary, as Jesus did. But burn out? Never! Remember? God equips those He calls. He will never give us more than we can bear, and He will ALWAYS provide a way of escape. (sorry, that's kind of a soap box for me!!)

10. Change is a process, not an event!

  • Don't change everything the first Sunday! Change is hard on people, but they will adjust if you continue to love them through the process. Our world is ever changing around us, and what worked in ministry yesterday, may not work today. Your people are changing too, even if they don't realize it! If you question that, just look at their homes and look at their cars. Do they have indoor plumbing, microwaves, and A/C? Yes! Do they drive cars from the 1940's? No! They are adapting to the changes in our culture. Our churches can adapt as well with a little bit of guidance and a whole lot of wisdom!

Remember at the end of the day your still just human. It is so important to stay balanced. Sometimes you'll have to take the day off and go play in the park (you won't be a schmuck). It's okay. Give yourself permission to be human, God may have called you to the ministry, but that doesn't make you a Superhero! The world will continue spinning if you choose not to go to the Friday night potluck dinner and instead you go on a date with your wife. It's okay, you can do that! It's a healthy choice to invest in your marriage!

And very last, as an Honorable Mention, just in case you're not already doing it...Pray, Pray, Pray. (I assume as Pastors we're all doing this!) You won't survive if you're not in constant conversation with the One True God!

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