You are on page 1of 28


A Southern Baptist of Texas Convention Magazine VOLUME 1 | ISSUE #1 | 2016

2016 Events
Dear Church Leader January 14 - SBTC Offices, Grapevine
January 21 - Mission Dorado BC,
God can make any church come alive, but its people must turn to Odessa
the Lord and experience revitalization Gods way. The entire Church October 6 - West Conroe BC, Conroe
Revitalization process of the SBTC is based on transferable principles
from the Word of God for the people of God. Our desire is to come CHURCH REVITALIZATION
alongside the local church to join you on your journey to restore the CONFERENCES
church to be the beacon of hope for a community in need of Jesus. February 11 - Criswell College, Dallas
September 8 - Northeast Houston BC
Whether you are on a plateau, just beginning a slump, or faced with
the uncertainty of how to continue proceeding forward, our methods STRATEGIC GROWTH FORUM
and processes can assist you in determining what your next steps August 11-12 North Richland
should be. Contact us at the SBTC. We are here to serve you. Hills Baptist Church

In His Service and Yours, NORTH AMERICAN SOCIETY

Kenneth Priest, Director February 12 - Criswell College, Dallas
Convention Strategies
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention CHURCH REVITALIZATION
or 877.953.SBTC RETREAT
March 31-April 2 - Criswell College,

For assistance or more info contact
Kenneth Priest
Director of Convention Strategies


Biblically Based Principles for Renewed Growth


every church needs to experience
RENEWAL For churches which have slowed or become stagnant in growth.
1 A fresh, biblically based vision from the Lord
REVITALIZATION For churches which have plateaued or experienced 2 Restored unity of the people
decline. Particularly suited to churches wanting to make changes one 3 Mobilizing members to do the will of the Lord
project at a time. 4 Renewed commitment to outreach & evangelism

RE-ENGINEERING For churches in substantial decline or in need of a 5 Life-giving empowerment by the Holy Spirit
total makeover. The systems-oriented approach will be to get the church In order to see these things become realities, we
healthy and functional again. provide help for pastors & the church as a whole.

RE-STARTING For churches near death, this track offers the hope of
beginning again as mission of a sponsoring congregation.

NETWORK For churches developing church revitalization ministries and/or

partnering to revitalize other churches.
02 Church Revitalization Overview
07 How to Assess Your
Churchs Well-Being
04 Church Revitalization Flowchart

05 Steps For Pastoral

Support In Revitalization

06 Church Revitalization Defined

09 The Six Phases of

Church Revitalization

11 Fear of Change You Cannot

Move Forward with Nostalgia


15 16 18 Blockbuster
Why Church Desired
Revitalization Attributes
Churches in a
is not Church in a Strategic
Growth Leadership Team
Netflix World

22 Turnaround
20 An 8 Step Biblical
NORTHERN Process for Leading
21 Tribal Leadership &
Church Revitalization

24 Church Revitalization
and Prayer

Biblically Based Principles for Renewed Growth

God can make any church Revitalization & Renewal dictated specifically what to
come alive, but its people must These approaches can take on preach regarding each topic, we
turn to the Lord and experience several looks, and is encouraged cannot provide a full lesson for
revitalization Gods way. The five for support of any method of the small group time. Additional
revitalization principles of church revitalization endeavors. The SBTC sermon helps and teaching helps
renewal every church needs to uses two basic options: are provided through the Church
experience are: 1 Ezekiel Project: This is Revitalization channel of www.
a curriculum based approach
A fresh, biblically based vision utilizing video-driven curriculum At the end of either series,
from the Lord in order to provide strategic the pastor conducts a town hall
A restored unity of the people focus on the spiritual renewal of meeting with the church to
Mobilization of the the church. There are two series, discuss key ministry initiatives
membership to do the will Spiritual CPR (6 weeks) and Making which the church should engage.
of God Change (6 weeks). These become the vision path for
A renewed commitment to 2 Sermon Based Small Groups: the church. No more than three
outreach and evangelism This approach is more detailed should be initiated. Any above that
Life-giving empowerment and requires more involvement become the future ministries of
by the Holy Spirit from the pastor. A 13 week sermon the church.
series is preached which focuses
In order for this to become a on the specific thematic approach Re-engineering
reality in the life of the church, to revitalization. Small groups This approach utilizes church
the SBTC Church Revitalization (whether Sunday school on Sunday assessments and consultations
program partners with pastors mornings or at another time to determine where the church
to assist in moving the church during the week) reinforce or presently is and the outcomes of
through spiritual renewal and complement the pastors sermon. where it needs to go. Through this
revitalization. The series is provided by the SBTC, process all program ministries in
The entire Church Revitalization but is designed as a beginning the church are evaluated along
process is based on transferable point for the pastor to prepare. The with facilities and finances. The
principles from the Word of God topic for the week is provided and end result is a new vision path for
for the people of God. the text, but it is the responsibility the church with ministries re-
of the pastor to develop his own engineered to meet the present
Revitalization Methods sermons contextualizing for needs of the community context in
Revitalization his unique church. The small order to more effectively minister
Renewal group material has a beginning and reach the community for the
Re-engineering commentary and questions for cause of Christ. The church does
Replant/Restart use, but the pastor will need to not look the same as when it starts
Leadership Driven supplement the material with the process as everything is on
Merger/Acquisition additional commentary and the table to be re-engineered for
questions. Since the SBTC is not effectiveness.

Replant/Restart campus to restore the facilities renewal methodology utilizing
This approach closes the to full functionality. The the sermon-based small group
doors of the church for a season declining church suspends all approach of the SBTCs. In
(sometimes weeks, sometimes leadership control and agrees to this model, consultations are
months). The church dissolves function under the by-laws and conducted to determine the
from existence on paper. A church constitution of the healthy church financial feasibility of the church.
planter is sent in to develop a for the term of the covenant. If there is financial lacking the
core team. The church changes The covenant SBTC may come
its name, new by-laws, and newly relationship could be alongside the church
constitutes. Updates are made as short as one year, and provide grant
to the facilities as necessary. or up to five years, funds to assist in
The church then relaunches depending on the paying the pastors
with a new vision and strategy need of the declining salary for a season.
for engaging the community. A church. (For this The covenant
sponsor church is involved and model, think the agreement is for six
sends in the planter (typically). old Mission Church month intervals, not
The sponsor church is heavily model. Whenver to extend beyond
involved to insure an effective a mission church two additional re-
launch. The SBTC Church was started out of signs, for a total of
Revitalization Team hands this a church, it would eighteen months.
model off to the Church Planting build to a healthy At the end of the
Team as it is a plant. Church position and then eighteen months, the
Revitalization Team remains would spin-off. That is the goal Revitalization Pastor will have
involved in assisting the planter here. Sometimes however, the assisted the church in getting
in coaching the existing members church after spinning off, would their search committee trained
for spiritual renewal. go through a downturn and have and in conducting a search for
to revert back to mission status. the new pastor. The end goal of
Leadership Driven That is essentially this model). this model is a revitalizing church
This may happen in several and the new pastor being called
different models. MODEL 2: A declining church during the eighteenth month of
MODEL 1: A healthy church which is without a pastor the process.
has a desire to assist a church (occasionally this is done with
in decline. The declining an existing pastor who is willing Merger/Acquisition
church comes under covenant to submit to the training and This model is where a healthy
relationship with the healthy development needed). The SBTC church acquires a declining
church. The healthy church provides a list of Revitalization church OR two churches merge
provides leadership (typically Pastors from which to select. together for the purpose of
replacing the pastor with a These pastors have gone through creating a healthy church. The
staff member from the healthy training and on-going continuing SBTC philosophy is, this is a last
church). The healthy church education in revitalization of resort model. As a matter of
typically sends in a core the local church. The church practice, the SBTC does not want
leadership team to assume, selects a Revitalization Pastor. to lose any preaching points in
or pick-up, many volunteer The SBTC moves into a covenant Texas. As the population continues
positions which need to be filled. relationship with the pastor to grow and the cultural diversity
The healthy church invests in and the church; this is a three- expands, every campus is needed
the church facilities, scheduling way covenant agreement. The to reach Texas and thereby reach
work projects around the pastor implements a spiritual the nations.

Biblically Based Principles for Renewed Growth

Flowchart of Process

Congregation See Revitalization &
Renewal directions

Launch Spiritual
Renewal Process
Connect with Connect with
Launch New Evaluation/ using SBTC
Healthy Church for Merger/Acquisition Restart/Replant Church Planting
Initiatives Assessment Methodologies
Takeover Team

Financial & Call

Additional Revitalization
Address Church Revitalization & Leadership
Assessments/ Re-engineering Leadership Driven Pastor
Programming Renewal Feasibility
Consultations (unless a pastor is in
Study place)

Curriculum Based Methodology Sermon Based
(Curriculum or Sermon

Use Spiritual CPR Every 6
Use SBSG Materials
Materials Months/

Revitalization of

Biblically Based Principles for Renewed Growth


Steps for Pa
Pastor Engages SBTC
in Revitalization
Support in Revi

Evaluation of
Method to

Method is Launched

Strategic Growth
Pastors Retreat: Forum:
An annual retreat is Pastor attends the
held for the pastor and annual SGF (may bring
his spouse to attend for
Pastoral Support
his leadership team) for
development in on-going strategy
revitalization development in
A regional mentor is Online:
available to work Pastor has access to
with the pastor online courses in
during the entire Revitalization

Church Revitalization
church revitalize
a body or organization of religious believers to make (someone or something) active,
healthy, or energetic again

By Kenneth Priest, your patient endurance, and how God desires for his
Director Convention Strategies, SBTC you cannot bear with those who church to grow and the
are evil, but have tested those who
SBTC wants to be part
In exploring the definition of call themselves apostles and are
church revitalization, I prefer not, and found them to be false. 3 I of helping our churches
Ken Hemphills definition for know you are enduring patiently impact the communities
the church; The church is a and bearing up for my names where God has placed
covenant community of born- sake, and you have not grown
weary. And then we get the issue;
them, so we can
again believers empowered by
Christ for the advancing of the But I have this against you, that Reach Texas and
Kingdom through the discipling you have abandoned the love you Touch the World!
of all nations. When we add had at first. The first love which
the task of revitalization to this is abandoned seems to be that
definition for church we get: to of sharing the gospel of Jesus customizable for the local church
make active, healthy or energetic Christ. With the present plateau in its present context. What will
again the covenant community of and decline of so many churches, remain true in every context is:
born again believers empowered and specifically a continued
by Christ for the advancing of the downward slope of baptisms by a) the church must first place
Kingdom through the discipling of SBC congregations, I believe it is a priority on the Word of God
all nations. safe to say this is our issue today. Neh. 8.1-8 & 2 Tim. 3.10-17;
Each year LifeWay Research In 2007, the SBTC launched the b) the church must insure it
makes available the Growth Ezekiel Project. This approach was has not left its first love Rev.
Status of SBC Churches. The most based out of Ezekiel 37, the Valley 2.1-7;
recent one is from 2013 data, of Dry bones vision. The concept c) the church must listen to the
and as expected, the numbers was new life can be breathed back Lord 2 Chr. 7.14 & Acts 16.6-
continue to reflect a need for into the church. As the SBTC has 10; and
spiritual renewal in our churches. worked with churches around d) the church must be about
The SBTC specific numbers are the state, we have seen successes the Great Commission Task,
not much different from the SBC occur in these methods. Our goal Matt. 28.18-20.
report, recognizing 26.20% of all along has been to not approach
churches are growing within SBTC each church with a cookie-cutter When these things occur, we
churches. This means 73.80% are mentality, but to offer options on see the growth of the church, Acts
in plateau or decline. The need is how the church can implement 2.42-47.
great. So what do we do? a revitalization work in their God desires for his church to
In Revelation 2.1-7, we have the respective context. grow and the SBTC wants to be
account of the church in Ephesus. The SBTC has worked to expand part of helping our churches
A wonderful church by first its work in revitalization over the impact the communities where
impression, the text says past eight years. Our approaches God has placed them, so we can
2 I know your works, your toil and will continue to expand and to be Reach Texas and Touch the World!

How to Assess Your
Churchs Well-Being
By Micah Fries This article originally appeared in Facts & Trends:
VP, LifeWay Research

Scared to death. The doctor told me I was fortunate to

be alive. The only remedy was to treat my
condition immediately and aggressively.
Thats how I felt sitting in a small office in If it werent for that doctors visit and
Burkina Faso, West Africa, where my wife diagnosis, who knows what would have
and I were serving as new missionaries. happened to me.
I hadnt felt well for a few weeks, but had Unfortunately, many churches in
put off going to the doctor. We lived out in the United States are facing the same
the bushso a simple checkup meant a five- predicament I faced in that doctors office.
hour drive to the nearest doctor. Theyve been sick for a while, but have put
Finally, during a trip to the capital city, I off doing anything to address their illness.
stopped by a doctors office. I ran through my But what seemed like nominal pain and
symptomsa slight fever each day for the last marginal problems are in fact, signs of a
three weeks; zero energy; and I was sleeping a life-threatening condition. Churches often
lot. He ran some blood tests. face problems that are much deeper and
The diagnosis: Malaria. And not just any much more systemic than they realize or
Malaria, but the most dangerous strain. want to admit.

The Importance commanded us to domake attendance, and group Bible study

of Assessment disciples. Church leaders need a attendanceit also measures
Like the doctor and medical different scorecard for that. some of the intangible elements
exam that pointed me to the right The Transformational Church of church life.
diagnosis and treatment, the Assessment Tool (TCAT) takes The TCAT helps churches
church today needs an evaluation a comprehensive look at a honestly evaluate how their
and an appropriate plan of action. churchs structures and systems, members perceive they are
Church leaders are masters identifying not only weaknesses, doing in relation to spiritual
of measurementsattendance, but also clarifying strengths. transformation. The results
baptisms, finances, and more. But provide them with a snapshot
sick churches can occasionally Essentials for of perceived strengths and
score well on these assessments. True Church Health perceived challenges based on
Whats more, none of these While this new scorecard the seven elements of a healthy,
assessments do anything to measures the tangible transformational church:
help assess the one thing Jesus leadership training, worship

Missionary mentality.
Transformational churches
understand the cultural context
surrounding the church. And
they strive for everything they do
to be in the language and culture
of the people they are trying to
Transformational churches
know, understand, and are
deeply engaged with their cities,
communities, and people. Are
your church members passionate
about the people and community
where God has placed them?
Vibrant leadership.
Transformational leaders are
focused on the mission of God
for their church, are tenacious
about the vision, and are people together at your church? of seeing people reconciled to
focused. Worship. Transformational God through Christ. Evangelism
Vibrant leaders lead their churches place worship at the is a natural part of life for their
people to worship, live in center of their efforts. They know members.
community, and live on mission. worship is a way of living, not an Does your church challenge
They promote a culture of we aspect of church programming. members to build significant
instead of me. They expect, They expect Gods presence relationships with people
encourage, equip, and empower to be real and transformative who are non-Christian? Does
members to serve. in their worship experience. your church provide service
Relational intentionality. Do your worship leaders value opportunities for your people to
People find and follow Jesus participation over performance? be engaged with the unchurched
through relationships. Community. Transformational in your local city or community?
Transformational churches churches place a premium
use systems and processes on involving people in small Celebrate and Calibrate
designed to provide and promote group communities within Not only do churches struggle
relationship developmentfor the congregation. They place with appropriate assessments,
first time guests, new members, heavy emphasis on getting new theyre often weak at celebrating
and long-term members. members immediately involved what God is doing in their midst.
Prayerful dependence. In in Sunday School classes, small I recently consulted with a
transformational churches, groups, or discipleship classes. church that took the TCAT. I
spontaneous prayer is normal in Does your church have helped the leaders see how they
the life of the church. Prayer is groups where nonbelievers could take their top two scores
not a program, yet it undergirds feel comfortable asking hard and celebrate what God is doing.
everything the church does. questions and where believers This encourages the church
Prayer has always held a can find encouragement? and strengthens belief in the
significant role in the church, Mission. Transformational direction of the leaders, as well
and this is especially true in churches have consciously as recognizes Gods work among
times of revitalization. Is it decided that their existence is them.
normal to see people praying directly related to the mission

The Six Phases of Church
By Kenneth Priest pruning season for many years. sad; or a serious medical
SBTC Director of Convention Strategies In Southern Baptist Convention condition in which a person
life, the denomination I am most feels very sad, hopeless, and
In working with churches in familiar with, we simply look at unimportant and often is
revitalization, I have observed the Annual Church Profile of the unable to live in a normal way.
some attitudes which are congregation to see the years This begins the emotional
outlined below as six phases of pruning. At some point, slump that is experienced. The
of revitalization or six stages the pastor and church need to depression sets in over the
a church and pastor may acknowledge, there is probably pastor and members not being
go through on the path to more here than a season of able to see any light at the end of
revitalization. Not every church pruning; especially when the the tunnel and uncertain with
will go through all six phases and pruning has lasted for five, ten, this few people left, how will
some will spend longer in one or more years. This produces a anything ever get accomplished?
phase than others. ;However, a declining church. This emotive slump leaves many
church in decline does experience in the church feeling a since of
several of these phases on their Phase 2: Anger hopelessness and sometimes a
path to recovery. As you read this Anger is also known as the desire just to limp along for as
article, I pray you will consider blame game. Pastors may blame long as they can, until they need
if your church is in one of these the congregation for not being to close the doors.
phases, and if so, determine what missional and open to the
it will take to move your church community. The congregation Phase 4: Acceptance
through revitalization? may blame the pastor for not This phase truly begins the
doing his job and witnessing to revitalization mindset. Starting
Phase 1: Disbelief the community. I am reminded with the pastor acknowledging
We are not in decline; God of a great line in the John Wayne there is a problem and beginning
is simply pruning us for future movie Big Jake; Waynes to analyze options for recovery.
growth. This is one of my character, Jake says to the bad The pastor will begin researching
favorites, not that I do not believe guy, your fault, my fault, no what has attributed to the
in pruning. The Gospel of John bodies fault. Thus giving way to decline. Without placing blame,
is clear on this. The follow-up the issue; it does not matter who he can now seriously determine
question I have is, How long do is at fault here, action is needed. a path to overcome the obstacles.
you think God needs to prune? Anger and blaming one another The pastor may call other
Im no horticulturist by any accomplish very little. Pastors pastors that have led a church
means, however, I understand and congregations need to focus through renewal or seek outside
pruning happens one time, during on the unity of the church and consultations. He then begins
a particular time of the season. come together to address the discussions with key leaders to
Once pruning has occurred, then issues present. acknowledge, something must
progress happens during that be done, in order to turn things
plants growing season. Phase 3: Depression around and develop executable
Yet, many pastors and churches Merriam Webster defines steps for change and growth.
continue to call themselves in a depression as: a state of feeling

Phase 5: Resolve with churches that did not see So What?!
In this phase, the pastor and numerical shift, but have seen Where does this leave you and
church decide they will do culture shift which is most your church? As a pastor, are you
whatever it takes to see the church important; i.e. having a desire to experiencing and in one of the
turn around. This is the most be missional and open. I believe stages above? Can you lead your
difficult phase of revitalization. longevity is the key to determining church through the phases in order
When it comes to doing whatever a revitalized situation. Even if there to bring about revitalization? Do
it takes, some are simply not is not any present numerical shift, you need help? Let me encourage
willing. Sometimes they have if the culture shift is becoming you to do a couple of things:
tried things in the past or they more missional, it will ultimately 1 Ask someone who has been
feel they are too old and too tired result in a numerical increase. there for advice.
to continue. There could be any Some churches do experience 2 Go to a conference such as
variety of factors. However, if a numerical growth, but if the culture Renovate (renovateconference.
pastor does not lead his church shift does not coincide with it, the org) or a local church
to adopt the mindset of doing future of the church may have revitalization conference for
whatever it takes, then the church a shortened life expectancy. A encouragement and training.
will not revitalize. Moving forward strong leader can step in and grow 3 Contact someone in your
will not happen without the desire a church, but church growth and region, or the Renovate network;
to do all the church can for the church revitalization are different.
cause of Christ. This culture shift is the key. If the for assistance.
church only grows, and the culture
does not change, then when the Churches that succeed actually
Phase 6: Revitalization
strong leader is called to another follow through! Let me encourage
In this phase, the church is
church, the present church will you to do so today.
moving forward on a strategic
likely experience decline again. We
process to see new life. Determining
must strive for culture shift within This article originally written for the March/
if a church is revitalized is
the congregations to consider April issue of Renovate Magazine; learn
subjective at best. I have worked
revitalization as being effective. more at

August 11-12 A strategic planning time for the pastor, staff or

key leadership team of a church. There will be
North Richland Hills Baptist Church large group time and individual consultations.

Tony Mathews
Gary Smith
Senior Pastor, Fielder Church
Senior Pastor,
North Garland Baptist Fellowship
Jim Baker
Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor, Champion Forest BC Sacred Structures
North Campus


Fear of Change
You Cannot Move Forward
with Nostalgia
By Jim Baker
Sacred Structures

Political, social and church history shows us that

when things change too quickly or when people fear
the future they will flee to leaders who promise to
restore the glory of the past.
But history also demonstrates that you cannot
move forward with nostalgia. Although it is
impossible to do, people will often try to go back
to what was when the present is in crisis and
the future is uncertain. In those times church
traditionalists who see themselves as guardians of
the old order arise and organize to set things right
and return to old time religion and the ways and
faith of our fathers.
Dogmatic traditionalists regularly reject changes They Call Us Protestants for a Reason
in worship, governance, church architecture and Few groups are more vocal in opposition to change
ministry. They insist that the old way is the best way than Protestants. You can make an argument that it
and the best way to insure the future is to return to is in our very DNA. We were birthed by a people of
the past. They insist those ways will still work if we faith who were known for protesting social, cultural
will only adhere to the old standards, beliefs and and religious change. But at times in our past I fear we
behaviors. have protested too much.or at least ineffectively.
Such movements create high levels of fear among When these protest movements have understood
congregants and make scapegoats of pastors and the times and had a view to the future they have been
other change leaders. It wasnt the prostitutes, unifying and catalyzing, but when they have focused
the tax collectors and alcoholics who called Jesus on fear and returning to the past they have proved
a devil. It was the pious religious leaders who divisive and derailed needed change. Too often we
wanted to safeguard the old church system. have opted for the security of the past rather than the
Fear is a powerful motivator and can cause the uncertainty of a journey into the future.
good old days to look pretty good to those caught How then can we lead our churches from a place of
up in a sea of change and uncertainty. If defenders fear and a desire to return to the glory days to a path
of the mythical golden time can play to anxieties of hope and discovery of how to be the Church within
and raise fear sufficiently they can block or reverse a new context? As Shakespeares Hamlet put it in his
innovative change. soliloquy on suicide, Aye, therein lies the rub.

Five Steps to Counter Fear of Change instill the courage and urgency to move forward rather
and Traditionalism than back to what was.
First, church change leaders must be aware and Fifthly, church leaders must offer ways beyond
accept that though we are in an age of rapid change, anxiety towards the future and glorification of the past
change in the church always has, still is and most likely by emphasizing spiritual practices that change the
always will be a v-e-r-y l-o-n-g process. Church change heart through new connections between God, others
leaders must be committed to exercising patience in and self.
moving toward the future while being present in the In a real sense we must lead people to look farther
moment to see where God is working. back than the recent church past to the ancient church
Second, any significant change in the church past. We do this by revitalizing biblical practices of
requires a work of God as well as hard work. Church prayer, forgiveness, hospitality, community and
change leaders must be committed to insuring change service to others that allows us to see ourselves, our
initiatives are bathed in the hard work of individual neighbors and the world with new eyes and experience
and communal prayer. true metanoia.repentance and change of mind.
Third, fear and coercion are rarely if ever Congregations cannot stay in a perpetual state of
compassionate. When fear and traditionalism fear and pining for the good old days and hope to
threatens, having compassion on the fearful provides survive. Change in the church must move forward on
a stark contrast to the forces of fear and coercion and two rails.
should be a vital spiritual practice of all church change We must simultaneously seek to transform
leaders. individuals within the church as well as the church
Fourthly, compassion must be coupled with a as an institution. If you attempt the first you will be
willingness and ability to speak truth and wisdom in called an evangelist. If you attempt the second you
love. Change leaders must be prophets who can clearly will be called a revolutionary. If you attempt both you
and compelling proclaim a vision for what might be and will be called a saint!

Revitalization February 11 Criswell College COST

CONFERENCES September 8 Northeast Houston BC

$20 9am - 4pm

For pastors, associational leaders and church leaders with churches in need of revitalization.

Lance Beaumont Micah Fries Nathan Lorick

Worship Strategies, SBTC VP, LifeWay Research Director of Evangelism, SBTC

Tom Cheyney Rod Harrison Bart McDonald

Founder & Directional Leader Dean of Post-Graduate Executive Director,
Renovate National Church Studies SBT Foundation
Revitalization Conference

Lance Crowell Nathan Lino Kenneth Priest

Discipleship & Online Director of Convention
Senior Pastor, NE Houston BC
Strategies, SBTC Strategies, SBTC


The Dynamics of Change
for the Church
By Dr. Terry Rials those days, would you? We can
Senior Pastor, Crestview certainly look with fondness at
Baptist Church, OKC our religious past, especially in Some people are
those times of Gods movement in stuck in the past, but
recently asked a group our land.
of friends at a pastors Instead of wanting to go back,
some people are
luncheon this question, what if we decided to go forward? stuck in the present.
If you could go back to I am speaking about the direction Churches design
1960, and remain at your of change. Modern Christianity
present age, would you? has been known to ridicule the
complex ministries to
Not a single person would do it; Amish for their resistance to meet needs that no
neither would I for that matter. change, thinking they are stuck longer exist by the
Several of my friends pride in the past. To set the record
themselves in their traditional straight, the Amish only resist time those ministries
ways toostill none of them change that threatens their are initiated.
would go back. simple, hard-working manner of
We reflect with fondness to living. I know a good number of
the good ol days, but in reality, Baptists who resist change with
in many ways, they werent the same ferocity. The pace of change is
so good. Im not that old, but I Some people are stuck in the something else the church
remember when there were just past, but some people are stuck will have to address. Things
four channels on the television; in the present. Churches design are changing and changing so
I even remember my familys complex ministries to meet needs quickly that people can hardly
first color set. I remember using that no longer exist by the time keep up. The youth in our culture
a party telephone line (and Im those ministries are initiated. handle the pace of change much
still convinced that our nosey Think of it this waywhen you easier than the older generation.
neighbors were listening to shoot at moving targets, you have Two-year-olds can work a
our conversations). I certainly to lead the targets in order to hit computer mouse and fly with an
wouldnt go back to those days. them. We can neither stay here, iPad, while these can bewilder
Would you? nor can we go back, we must some adults! Perhaps nowhere
My great-grandparents used press on. Paul had it correct when is the pace of change more
to drive their Model-A to town he declared, one thing I do: noticeable than in the family.
once a month for supplies. They forgetting what lies behind and One hundred years ago, a
would stop to patch their own reaching forward to what lies father could sit down with son
flat tires on the side of the road ahead (Phil 3:13 NASB). Where are and generally tell him what his
and stop again later to refill the future thinkers in the church life would be like in the future.
the radiator with water. Today, today? Where are our dreamers? Today, a father cannot tell his
we can make the same trip by They are not hard to find because son what to expect in the next
automobile in under an hour with they are some our most effective ten years. Its impossible to
air conditioning and without Christian leaders today. Many of accurately predict the future. For
stopping. I wouldnt go back to them have figured this out!

the value of what they may dealerships in your town? It is
gain by giving that up. Church because there is no demand for
In my opinion, the leaders often ask me what they their product. Kodak declared
frustration of always have to do in order to experience bankruptcy after 128 years of
revitalization in their churches. operation. They once set the
having to learn new
I remind them that it isnt what pace of innovation in industry,
things is the chief they do that is important; it is what but they died because they were
complaint about they are willing to give up. In my stuck in the 35mm film business
opinion, the frustration of always in a digital world and refused to
change, but actually having to learn new things is the change. Successful businesses
disciples are called to chief complaint about change, but know that they must change to
be learners, life-long actually disciples are called to be keep up with an ever-changing
learners, life-long learners. We marketplace. They also know that
learners. We should should always be willing to learn they have to change faster than
always be willing to something new! their competition. In case you
learn something new! The church needs to find a new havent noticed, the world is in
motivation to change. It has been competition with the church for
said that people change for two the attention, time, and affection
reasons, they have learned much of you and your family. We had
example, in the 1883 Worlds Fair, or they have been hurt much. Put better embrace the change. Why
a group of futurists attempted to another way, change only occurs cant we beat the world to the
predict what the world would look when we learn the consequences punch?
like 100 years in the future. They of our failure to change, or when Someone once told me that the
predicted that in the year 1993, we have had enough of the pain of greatest leaders in history were
there would be a telephone in every staying the same. those who saw inevitable change
city in America! About the only I do not enjoy visits to the dentist, coming and embraced that change
solid prediction about the future of but recently I had a problem that quickly and capitalized on that
the church is that things are going was so painful that I was anxious change when it arrived. There
to change and change a lot, even if to get to his office for treatment. are certain theological and moral
the Lord returns! The pain was excruciating and limits to that concept for Christian
We are seeing a grave resistance I wanted something to change. leaders, to be sure, but the
to change in the church. It is not I totally understand why Tom sentiment of that thought should
surprising that we are resistant Hanks character in Castaway resonate with us.
to change because we have was willing to remove his tooth I am willing to embrace the
fond memories and emotional with an ice skate! Look around inevitable change coming to the
attachments to wonderful times in youthe church is hurting; some church. Im ready to help address
our church life. All of us are used 90% of churches are plateaued the lostness of the first post-
to our ways of doing things. We are and declining. It is time to get Christian era in American history.
accustomed to how things work motivated and change. I am ready to face the impending
and where our responsibilities lay. I still encounter church leaders persecution that is coming to
In their fascinating book, Flight who are skeptical of even having the New Testament church by
of the Buffalo, James Belasco and a website for their church, a the hostile forces of religion and
Ralph Stayer look at a new business technology in its third decade of culture (I think). I know this will
model where ownership and existence! Im convinced well be difficult with an ever-shrinking
leadership of business transfers not reach millennials without and aging population with fewer
to the employees. They say, embracing the digital age because churches and fewer resources.
Change is hard because people thats how they communicate. The church had better embrace
overestimate the value of what Have you ever wondered change because change is coming,
they haveand underestimate why there are no stage coach of this I am certain.

Why Church Revitalization
is not Church Growth
By Kenneth Priest Has there been a culture shift in mindset of the

SBTC Director of Convention Strategies
A culture must be created that insures they will
y simple thesis here is, not revert back to the way they were. Revitalization
revitalization is not church is more than just being a leader who can turn a
growth. Yes, the church may church aroundthough that is necessary. It is also
and should grow under your creating a culture shift, so that the people who
leadership during a revitalization make up this local body of believers are not the
endeavor. However, the growth of a church does not same as when you started. More people, YES! But the
mean it is revitalized. Revitalization is a process of people who started the process are also different
spiritual renewal among an existing people. When and look more like Christ.
you grow a church and do not address the previous
culture that caused decline, this only shows you Are new members welcomed and integrated
know how to gather people. into the congregation?
Often times the outcome of a leader that knows Are the existing congregants truly experiencing
how to grow a church and does not know how to life with the new additions; genuine, biblical
change culture is a sheep swapping methodology. community.
Honestly, not always a God honoring one. The leader
thinks that running off the bad sheep is acceptable Are ministries beginning to ignite?
for the future health of the church. However, Revitalization is more than just numbers showing
Jesus called us to bring about life transformation, up during worship. Existing ministries begin to
even in the bad sheep. Look at the disciples He flourish and new ministries are launched.
chose. Culturally a tax collector was seen as a traitor
and a thief, yet Jesus chose to disciple one to look Is the church more missional?
more like Him. Is this not the model we are called to Biblical growth begins to occur as lives are
follow? A pastor/leader must spend time with the changed. Salvations and the baptisms of adults.
bad sheep as well, working with them to bring about
life change, then we can see revitalization. This is not an exhaustive list of questions and
thoughts. However, it does address the beginning
The leader should look at what caused the decline differences of growing a church and truly
in the first place and then ask the questions: experiencing turnaround. Those who have studied
Have systems and structures been placed to revitalization for any length of time know it takes
insure decline does not happen again? about three years for a church to experience
This is where longevity comes in, and succession turnaround. This three years should be spent with
planning is understood. If God calls you away to focused intentionality, creating a culture within the
another assignment, will the church be able to congregation that flows from biblical discipleship.
function and grow in your absence. When the pastor/leader creates this environment, we
can then define the church as one being revitalized!

Desired Attributes in a
Strategic Leadership Team
By Tracy W. Jaggers 1. The catalyst. Someone must be the initiator of
Tyron Evergreen Baptist Association the process and the plan.

In a revitalization process there are 2. The outsider. Someone new; someone without
a long history in the church body; someone
certain leadership attributes that help plug
distantly removed from any politics or division.
the holes in the ship so she doesnt sink
Joel Allen Barker asks, What kind of person is a
while sitting in the dock. Nehemiah was a paradigm shifter? He states simply, an outsider
walking example of all these attributes. And is. An outsider has a clearer perspective on the
while I am sure God can raise up another situation and he/she is not overwhelmed with the
Nehemiah, I believe He tends to use a grief of the problem.
team of people who possess the attributes
3. The problem-solver. A person who can
necessary. Jesus used a team of twelve
organize the people to follow the Lords leadership.
to show us how its done! Ask the Lord to
The problem solver sees the probabilities for
provide the best gifted people to be a part of obstacles and/or barriers and plans a way around
the team and heres what to look for: them.








4. The visionary. A visionary sees what others keep the work on track and reiterates the goal to
cannot yet see. Even the outsider, mentioned be attained.
earlier, must be sympathetic to the need for
growth and health and envision their part in 11. A recruiter. One who can recruit workers
developing a solution. with a vision and a plan to accomplish the
goals. Restoration is a team effort. There must
5. The motivator. A team member who can be a leader who can recruit the congregation to
speak with confidence, and rally the troops with buy into the renewal plan for the process to be
his/her words, is likely to find that the team is effective and maintainable. Without the team
being followed by an eager crowd. environment, renewal would be similar to a
coach without any players on the court or field;
6. The persuader. A selfless persuader can the game will never be effective.
influence a church, to press outward toward
the world in need, rather than being inwardly 12. The organizer. This team member
focused. The selfless persuader is a prize to any makes sure all the resources are present, gives
group or congregation. specific assignments so the group is confident
concerning their task, and observes and
7. The risk-taker. Every great leader will face evaluates the effectiveness of the assignments.
a certain level of risk to accomplish what they Organization will not eliminate difficulties, but it
knew was absolutely essential to the cause. Jesus can provide multiple options to each barrier.
is the ultimate example of this attribute.
13. The delegator. He/she does not accomplish
8. An empathizer. A restoration leader who the task in his/her own power. Michael
cares deeply for the people, enough to join McCutcheon speaking wisely in favor of the
them in their pain and their struggle back to need for delegation, quotes J. Oswald Sanders by
productivity, and ultimately to restoration and saying, To insist on doing things oneself because
revival is a leader who will endear themself to the it will be done better is not only a shortsighted
people they serve. policy but may be evidence of an unwarranted
9. A persevering leader. Perseverance is
steadfastness in doing something despite 14. A person of prayer. Being a person of
difficulty or delay in achieving success. It is the prayer demonstrates interdependence on the
character trait that compels one to struggle subject of ones faith.
through failures, difficulties or opposition to
achieve ones desired outcome or goals. Leaders Jesus leadership reaction to His followers was:
of change, innovation, creativity, and vision may But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved
be misunderstood by some, but a team leader - with compassion for them, because they were
who perseveres, refuses to throw in the towel, or weary [harassed] and scattered, like sheep having
run to a greener field - can help a church bounce no shepherd [leader, guide] (Matthew 9:36).
back from the brink of death.
Biblical leadership is absolutely essential to
10. A planner. Each time a barrier presents revitalization, restoration and church health.
itself, the planner prayerfully prepares a plan to

Blockbuster Churches in a
Netflix World
By Nathan Lorick thought. Underneath the shadow offer, instead it was missing the
SBTC Evangelism Director of the blue and yellow lights there opportunity to see beyond the

was something happening that present market. As you would
hat has was largely going unnoticed. A know today, Blockbuster is out of
happened to our new company had formed with a business and Netflix is the largest
churches? Why new creative form of video rental video rental company worth above
is our church that would push the limits of 30 billion dollars.
not growing? How can I turn the norm. This company known This is a modern day picture of
our church around? These are today as Netflix had the right idea what many churches are going
all common questions that are at the right time. However, for through. At one time they were
asked by pastors and thriving and growing
lay leaders. While at rapid rates. The
the answers to these ministries of the
questions can be as churches were being
varied as the context effective in every way
in which the church measurable. Things
is found, there are were as good as they
some simple answers could be. However,
that may help us somewhere along the
to understand the decline in various reasons the CEO of the way, attendance began to drift off,
churches and what to do about new company wanted to partner giving became less dependable,
it. In this article I would like to with Blockbuster to create a new and the influence of the churches
focus on how evangelism can be dynasty that was sure to take the ministries became unknown to
the key to unlocking the door to video rental world to levels not those outside of the church. Simply
revitalization in your church. seen before. put, the church was so focused
In 2000, something took place In 2000, the CEO of Netflix on the present, they stopped
that many people dont know approached the CEO of dreaming about the future. They
about. We were living in a less Blockbuster and offered to sale essentially became a Blockbuster
technological society than we are the newly formed Netflix for a church in a Netflix culture.
now. The video rental market was mere 50 million dollars. While So what can be done about this
booming and largely because of that number sounds large to us, if your church is in this stage?
the store many of us frequently for a major retail business this What is the key element to moving
visited named Blockbuster. They is a small investment. It wasnt forward into a new season of
had to their credit thousands of the money that caused the CEO growth and vitality? While there
retail stores littered across the of Blockbuster to decline the can be many answers, I want to
nation. Millions of customers
would pour in week after week to Simply put, the church was so focused on the present,
rent the newest action thriller or
comedy. Blockbuster was simply
they stopped dreaming about the future. They essentially
at the top of their game, or so they became a Blockbuster church in a Netflix culture.

narrow it down to one key element, create strategies that are focused would be to consistently dream
re-launching evangelism in your on reaching the lost with the gospel. about the future and try new
churches strategy. Evangelism is When this happens, people begin to tools for evangelism. We live
the axis in which our church must expect God to transform lives each in time in which we have more
turn in order to see it revitalized and every week. Creating a culture modern tools and gadgets to
to life and growth. This is not to of evangelism in a church will share the gospel than ever before.
downplay the other aspects that simultaneously create a culture of Churches should always evaluate
will help a church to regain its feet new found enthusiasm in a church. what is out there to utlize as well as
in its pursuit of new life. However, A second answer to continue to be innovative in how
the purest form of helping a church this question is to create they engage those without Christ.
to once again thrive is to create opportunities to train people on The tragedy of Blockbuster is that
an atmosphere of people coming how to share their faith and to they settled for being good in the
to faith in Jesus Christ. There is engage in personal evangelism. present and missed the opportunity
nothing that brings new life to a People are eager to see God use to be great in the future. To
church than to become a church them for His purpose. They put it plainly, they missed the
where people can experience new genuinely want to see people come opportunity that was given to
life. So how do you bridge the to faith in Jesus, many just dont them. Likewise, there has never
desire for church revitalization and know how to personally be involved been a greater day in humanity to
evangelism? I believe this is found with this. When your church be a follower of Jesus and God has
in three simple answers. begins to equip the people with the given us an incredible opportunity
First, you must create a culture necessary tools to share the gospel, to shine His light brighter than ever
of evangelism in your church. The God uses your people to expand His before. I encourage you as a church
people that sit in the seats must kingdom through evangelism. Once to always be forward thinking in
sense the need and urgency to someone leads another to Christ, how to effectively engage your
reach people for Christ. They must they develop a new excitement community with the gospel. After
know their responsibility in Gods because they know they have been all, were not a part of a video
kingdom work to share the good used by God! retail business, we are a part of a
news of Christ. Your church has to A third answer to this question worldwide gospel revolution.



Tom Cheyney
Founder & Directional Leader
Renovate National Church

February 12
COST Revitalization Conference
Criswell College $49 9am - 3pm

Rod Harrison
Dean of Post-Graduate
Academic writings in the field of church revitalization and/or renewal should Studies
be submitted to by Nov. 6, 2015 for review by the
coordinating council. If your research is selected to be presented, you will be
notified by January 8, 2016. Tracy Jaggers
Associate DOM, Tryon-Evergreen
Baptist Association, Conroe
Writings should not be longer than 20 pages, plus a bibliography. By submitting
an academic writing, you are agreeing to allow the North American Society for
Church Revitalization and Renewal to publish your paper in the NASCRR Journal. Kenneth Priest
Writings being presented will be included in the journal automatically. Other Director of Convention
Strategies, SBTC
writings may be included in the journal for a future issue as determined by the
coordinating council. SBTEXAS.COM/REVITALIZATION 19
An 8 Step Biblical Process
for Leading Change
By Jim Baker
Sacred Structures

The heart of the change

leadership process in the church is
listeningto God and others.
When the Apostles were leading
the New Testament believers in
Acts 15 to question their belief that
Gentiles must be circumcised to
be saved they couldnt rely just on
their ability to think strategically.
So they first listened, and then
elders, with the consent of
responded to what they heard. 4 They listened to Peters
Acts 15 illustrates that perspective. Application: the whole church decided.
effectively leading change in Listen to the Pastor and Staffs Application: Allow the church
the church involves listening perspective. to vote on the change.
attentively to the movement of the 5 They listened to Paul and
Holy Spirit, to Scripture, religious Barnabass descriptions of When the people of Antioch
tradition, respected believers, signs and wonders God had read the letter, they rejoiced at the
noted experts and pertinent facts. done among the Gentiles. exhortation.
Here are the steps to that Application: Listen to experts The right and happy result
listening and a potential who have observed and of this difficult change was
application for leading change in experienced the impact of the that Gods will had been clearly
the church: change. understood and followed.
The fact the early church
6 They listened to James
leaders had taken such care
1 They listened to the expounding on Scripture
conversion experience of the connecting the dots between in listening, discerning and
Gentiles. Peters testimony and the implementing change in unity
Application: Listen to those words of Amos. was a cause for great celebration.
most impacted by the change. Application: Listen to what This story illustrates listening is
the primary language of change
2 They listened to the Gods Word has to say.
leadership and is deeply rooted in
Pharisee experts in Mosaic Law. 7 They listened to the Holy
Application: Listen to those Spirit - For it seemed good the biblical record.
most opposed to the change. to the Holy Spirit and to us. Techniques, principles and
skills in particular change
3 They listened to respected Application: Allow people time
believers witnessing these to pray and hear from God on management disciplines do not
conversions. Application: the change. give us the power to lead change
effectively, but listening to God
Listen to respected lay leaders 8 They voted on the change
supporting the change. - Then the apostles and the and others does.

Tribal Leadership & Church
By Kenneth Priest this method in a crisis situation. necessary. A revitalizer must

SBTC Director of Convention Strategies Join the tribe, become the pastor know his tendencies and strive to
they talk about and love and then overcome them. Use whichever
ost revitalization begin to offer recommendations style is appropriate for a given
experts agree for change. Use your honeymoon situation, in order to do this, you
it takes around phase to initiate a couple of must learn your style and what
three years to immediate, necessary strategy that means.
turn around a shifts, but save your big capital STEP THREE: Know your
church. In some scenarios, there for when they have accepted you demographics. Not just of the
is not enough time to go slow as part of them. No one can tell community, but of the church.
but what if there were? What is you exactly when this happens, Understand who your people are
the ideal revitalization strategy but philosophically, this is when and who you need to reach. Also,
shift in a church that has a life they want yourather than do not simply trust a demographic
expectancy of four, five, or even the previous pastordoing the report, the pastor and church
more years left? weddings and funerals. This can need to be boots on the ground,
Tribal leadership is the art of take upwards of three or more walking the neighborhood to
joining the tribe in order to bring years to achieve, but when it does, be best informed of the people
about change without losing those you are the pastor and leader of groups around the church.
presently engaged and involved the tribe. STEP FOUR: Develop a plan.
in ministry. This is tough, but STEP ONE: Learn who the Look at creationGods plan is
needed. influencers are, both positive and intricate and specific. Man could
Most revitalizers are high negative. Whether a matriarch not be created on the first day
capacity leaders. They are or patriarch, church treasurer since there was no place for him.
unsatisfied with the status quo, or deacon, make certain you get Pastors and churches need plans
especially when the status quo is to know these persons and their for reaching their communities.
not engaging the community for circles of influence. The hidden Determine who needs to be
the cause of Christ. What should relationships are often the ones reached (from step three) and
a leader do that has time and causing the most issues for prayerfully develop a plan.
wants to rightly effect change pastors. As a pastor, you should STEP FIVE: Execute the plan.
and not lose the shareholders? know whom all influencers are Churches that succeed in church
(Shareholder is an affectionate connected to before you make revitalization do what they
term I use to describe the persons decisions. When dealing with a set out to do. This is the Great
in the church who are essentially positive influencer, if the person CommissionJesus set us on a
bankrolling the ministry. Too is on your side you just got buy- strategy to engage the nations for
often these are the ones who get in from the majority. Likewise, his cause from the beginning, and
marginalized during a change of the same is true for a negative that is simply what we need to do.
pastoral leadership.) influencer you will have an
The difficulty of becoming a uphill battle without buy-in here. This article originally written for the January/
part of the tribe is it takes time, STEP TWO: Learn your personal February issue of Renovate Magazine; learn
leadership style and adjust when more at
which is why you cannot use

Turnaround Churches:
Northern Bound
By Kenneth Priest Breathing life into a dying organization starts
SBTC Director of Convention Strategies at the top. It is particularly important for the
leadership to be together. In Patrick Lencionis
When you think about a compass, typically we refer book on organizational health, The
to north as up. A turnaround church is considered Advantage, he addresses this issue by
northern bound as directionally, that is up. encouraging organizations to build
The goal of any church should be to focus on a cohesive leadership teams and
northbound trajectory. The goal of pastors and then to create clarity within the
church leaders should always be moving northern teams. This clarity is insuring
bound. This simple thought, can help focus on the organization
the primary goal. Northern bound means: growth, is moving
growth comes from reaching people, reaching together on
people happens because believers are on mission in the same
their respective communities. The end-result, lives path
are changed and the kingdom is expanded. Are you
in a northbound church? If not, maybe you should
begin to ask yourself, what would it take to turn
this church around, and what is your role in this
Organizational turnaround is difficult. Human
nature is to focus attention on the numbers.
When dealing with spiritual situations
ie the turnaround of a churchits
important to assess and evaluate
the spiritual condition of the
environment, to make certain the
congregation is spiritually where
they need to be and thereby
committed to success. This is
difficult. First, many struggle
with understanding how to assess
spiritual realities of congregants.
In the true simplest form, I
believe this can be done in two
ways. First, the Fruit of the Spirit
bearing evidence in the lives of
the church family. Second, lives
being changed in the community.

accomplishing the same plans. If everyone is not or accepting new ways of doing things, the Rogers
on the same page, moving in the same direction, Innovation Adoption Curve applies. Innovators are
to accomplish the same plans, the church will not the first 2.5% to adopt the innovation. The next 13.5%
turnaround. are the early adopters the new idea. 34% represent
Too often, churches and leaders are attempting to the early majority of the adopters, then the next 34%
accomplish different agendas. Whereas the pastor are the late majority. Finally, the laggards make up
may be concerned for the community, the church the final 16% to adopt the innovation.
might only be concerned with the status quo or vice
versa. Striving for organizational health will create
some level of conflict, this is not bad. Many times,
spiritual leaders believe conflict is the presence of 34% 34%
disunity and therefore the presence of Satans hand
at work. This is not the case. 16%
In fact, a careful study of division and disunity in
the New Testament, when studied contextually, will Innovators Early Early Late Laggards
see at times conflict exists and Gods hand is at work. Adopters Majority Majority
The difference between healthy and destructive
conflict, has to do with the end-result. When God is
involved, a holy end is achieved. A simple look at the These stats tend to be accurate for revitalization
story of Ananias and Sapphira is a great example, in within the church. The exception of course are times
Acts 5. The outcome was to bring about health in the of crisis change, which is the church will close its
body of Christ in the early days. The two were not doors in the next 6-12 months if something does not
expected to sell the property and give the money, change quickly.
but they chose to sell the property and then lie about Many pastors spend time pouring over the laggards
what they were giving. God brought about a holy end when energy should be focused on accelerating
to insure health in the body. the time to get the middle 68% on board earlier. In
The difficult position in turning around an revitalization, time is essential. Turning a church
organization is addressing those persons who are around is a slow enough process as it is; spending
indifferent or not on board. In a church, we cannot time on attempting to move a group who will always
simply kick them out. We must do all we can to be the slowest to adopt new ideas can exhaust the
disciple them and lead them to see why we need to be pastor and other leaders and lead to not be effective
accomplishing the goals we have set. Typically, these for the Kingdom. The middle 68% will come around,
goals are outreach oriented, and not everyone is on they just need more information. Use the 16% early
board with engaging in outreach. The church cannot adopters to assist in communicating the need and
keep doing the same things it has always done and sharing the vision with the middle majority. Once you
expect breakthroughs. This requires additional energy have this 84% on board, the lagging 16% will either
to accomplish the tasks. We have to move out into the join you, or move on. None of us want to see anyone
community and engage the culture for Christ. leave, but you cannot wait for them to finally buy-in
A best practice approach is to visit with key to the needed change, or you will never move off the
leaders of the church early on, to share from Gods present decline.
Word the plans and vision for the future of the The spiritual condition of the group as a whole must
church. Pastors and leaders need to have an open, be addressed throughout the process. This is why in
honest discussion about what the future holds for the much of my writing I discuss no matter which model
congregation. If you have someone who truly cannot a pastor is using in revitalization, you must address
get aboard or who is causing disunity among the spiritual renewal. This renewal is what will insure
congregation you must disciple them to change, or the church does not go back to where it was. A new
the church will need to remove them from leadership. leader can come alongside a church and instill some
When it comes to adapting to strategic changes fresh energy, however, if the spiritual practices of

Church Revitalization
and Prayer
By Ted L. Elmore


he Western expression of the Christian

faith has largely been one of program and
method. It is a church heavily influenced
by the philosophy of rationalism. And
Baptists have felt that influence.
The Thessalonians were evangelized not by method,
but by message accompanied by the power of the
Holy Spirit. For our gospel did not come to you in
word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit
(1 Thessalonians 1:5, NKJV). Have we forsaken the
dynamic of prayer and the Holy Spirit not only in
church growth but also in revitalization? And if so, communities. Certainly Jesus modeled prayer in the
how? I do not ask why because for a confessional Gospels, but in Acts we have insight into the early
people the slippery slope into unbelief is seldom if Church.
ever intentional. In Acts 1:14 the unorganized community waited
But we must ask, Have we in Baptist church life in unity and prayer. The Holy Spirit came in power
become fixated on method and results, and not on on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Acts 2 is the
God? Others have defined church revitalization. story of God fulfilling prophecy and in so doing, the
Whether in the initial planting of the church, or church began. The first church was formed without
revival and/or revitalization of the church after a organization. The Spirit had come in power after a
period of decline, we must lead in the power of the time of believing prayer on the part of Gods people.
Holy Spirit, and Holy Spirit power comes through Trace the movements of the early church
prayer and Scripture. throughout the Book of Acts and you will discover that
Prayer seeks the Fathers heart. The Scriptures every major move of Gods Spirit came in response
reveal His heart. God comes in response to believing to the prayers of Gods people (Compare Acts 3:1
prayer with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2, NKJV). with 3:11ff and 4:4; 4:23ff with 4:31; 5:14; 6:4,6 in
The first intercessory prayer in the Bible was for the the selection of men most believe to be the first
cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18). Daniel deacons; 8:14-17, the Samaritan Pentecost; 9:11-15,
prayed for Gods judgment to be withdrawn (Daniel the conversion of Saul; Acts 10:1ff the conversion of
9). God expressed astonishment (NASB) that there Cornelius; Acts 12:5ff, the release of Peter from jail;
was no intercessor (Isaiah 59:16) and Ezekiel said so Acts 13:1ff, the missionary movement from Antioch;
I sought for a man among them who would make a and Acts 19:1-10 where prayer is implied in the laying
wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the on of hands).
land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one But as time goes on, the Enemy comes to steal, to
(Ezekiel 22:30, NKJV). kill, and to destroy (John 14:10). This is true of the
There is a direct correlation in the Book of Acts individual as well as the congregation.
between prayer, proclamation, and the demonstration Someone has said that in the Gospels, Jesus gives
of the power of God transforming lives and the principles for life in His Kingdom (defined in the

context of Luke 17:20-21)); in Acts and self-examination in the life return to God in an active life of
we have the example of the early of the disciple. It is without doubt prayer. Pastor, set the example of
church living this out; and in the the holiest gathering in the life a man of prayer. Create multiply
Epistles and Revelation 2-3 how to of the church. It is a time of deep entry points in the prayer life of
recover when you get in trouble. communion with the Savior, the congregation. Lead the people
Admittedly this is simplistic. demonstration of unity in the to pray. The need for prayer is
But lets captures it and look for Body, testimony to the Gospel, and usually obvious in both corporate
a moment at the last concept expression of hope as we anticipate and individual life. Lead them
recovery; or, for our purposes, the return of our Master, the Lord to actively trust God. He will
revitalization. Jesus Christ. One cannot effectively transform through believing
The Church at Corinth was likely do any of these apart from prayer. prayer. Allow the Spirit to lead you
the most dysfunctional of any of Although only five of the seven into alignment with the purpose of
the churches in the New Testament. churches in Revelation 2-3 were God through prayer and Scripture.
Paul wrote two letters of correction given a corrective for specific issues The revitalization of the
of which the first was more direct in each, Jesus said to all seven, He congregation is not a given.
than the second. In that first letter, who has an ear, let him hear what The Church will prevail, but the
he addresses the Lords Table. He the Spirit says to the churches church may fail. However, the
gives the example of how and tells (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, revitalization of any congregation
why Jesus instituted the Table. 22). Speaking to God is only one is just as sure as the promises of
At the very heart of the Churchs part of prayer. Hearing is the point God when we realize the issues are
coming together to partake of of prayer cooperation with Gods all spiritual in essence. We must re-
the Lords Table (Communion; eternal purpose. establish the local congregation as
Lords Supper) is the example of Revitalization can and will a house of prayer for all nations
thanksgiving in the life of Jesus occur when leadership and people (Mark 11:17).

Revitalization COST
FREE Revitalization
LABS 10am - 3pm RETREAT
For pastors seeking to lead their church in a turnaround. A time for pastors and wives to relax, be equipped and
Time will be spent on the SBTC church revitalization encouraged. Registration for the retreat is open only to
methods. Senior Pastors in the SBTC Revitalization tracks.

January 14 SBTC, Grapevine March 31 - April 2

January 21 Mission Dorado BC, Odessa Sheraton Gunter Hotel, San Antonio
October 6 West Conroe BC, Houston
Adam Greenway
Dean, Billy Graham School;
Tracy Jaggers SBTS
Associate DOM, Tryon-Evergreen
Baptist Association, Conroe

Kenneth Priest Terry Rials Remember therefore from where you have fallen;
Director of Convention Senior Pastor, repent, and do the works you did at first ...
Strategies, SBTC Crestview Baptist -REVELATI ON 2.5A
Church, OKC 25