4 kinds of pastors whose churches need revitalizing

April 15, 2021

Revitalization is one of those things pastors Google when no one else is looking. As I travel across the state, I meet pastors who minister in a variety of contexts — rural, urban, small, large, plants and even replants.

Some of these pastors know their church is in need of revitalization, but others do not. Here are four types of pastors that I typically meet.

“As pastors, leaders or church members, we may feel that the need for revitalization is equivalent to admitting defeat or failure.”

The inexperienced pastor
Some struggling pastors remind me of when I was young and fresh out of seminary, excited to begin a vibrant ministry where people’s lives are radically transformed by the power of the gospel as I had experienced in my own life. I loved to delve into the Word of God and proclaim it boldly to the church. But, I was unprepared to deal with difficulties that arose in the church as a vision and commitment to reach the community was introduced.

The anxious pastor
Other times, I meet pastors who are full of anxiety, their minds replaying harsh words from a conference or meeting the night before, and they wonder whether they should pray for conflict resolution or simply update their resume.

The passive pastor
Then there’s the pastor who knows his church is plateaued or declining but fears he would appear untrained or inadequate if he admitted his need for someone to walk alongside him through the revitalization process.

The discouraged pastor
Finally, there are the pastors who give everything to ministry. They spend every waking (and some when they should be sleeping) moment preparing and doing ministry though the joy of their salvation has long since departed. Between the hustle and bustle of committee meetings, sermon preparation, larger denominational meetings and hospital visits, they have become isolated from family, friends and even their church family.

What do these pastors and churches have in common? The need for revitalization training.

Revitalization shouldn’t be a dirty word. As pastors, leaders or church members, we may feel that the need for revitalization is equivalent to admitting defeat or failure. On the contrary, embracing a revitalization process is not evidence of failure but rather demonstrates great courage and commitment to glorify God through making disciples.

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is here to assist you and your church in all aspects of the revitalization process. Visit ncbaptist.org/revitalize to learn more.


by Sandy Marks  
Church Health and Revitalization  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

What the Bible says about a pastor’s authority

I’ve heard it said, “The pastor’s job is to preach, marry and bury. Running the church is up to others.” Make no mistake — the primary task of a shepherd is to feed the flock. Paul commanded young Timothy to preach the Word. Preaching sermons on the Lord’s Day and officiating...

15 vital things you can give your pastor

October is pastor appreciation month. As a pastor for 25 years, here are some ideas for things your church can give your pastor:Give him a place.Give him a place where he is free to preach the gospel.Give him a place where he is accepted for who he is, not compared to who he...

Why I’m excited about this year’s Pastors’ Conference

The past year has been difficult. The world we live in today looks quite different than it did just 18 months ago. Many things we were accustomed to doing have either disappeared, been restricted, or have changed, for better or worse. One of the biggest changes was the separation...

The local school: A great place for church ministry

For the most part I really enjoyed school. However, there were some aspects of the time that I enjoyed more than others. I enjoyed the learning, the socialization, and of course, the sports. I found most of the assignments manageable with the exception of writing papers. Sitting...

Ready or not, here they come! Evaluating your church with fresh eyes

Is your church ready for guests who may visit your church after first watching online? Are you ready for members who may return after an extended COVID-19 break? What steps can you take to make a great first impression and reintegrate those who want to reengage with your...

Why personal evangelism is a key ingredient for turnaround churches

Many pastors and churches today are struggling. Pastors are discouraged, and some are leaving the ministry altogether. It’s been estimated that more than 80% of churches are plateaued or declining. Yet, some churches are seeing a turnaround. A fresh wind is blowing. These churches...

Looking forward to being on mission together

In late August, a series of organizational changes were unanimously approved by our state convention’s executive committee aimed at advancing all of us forward as a movement of churches on mission together. We’ve been working toward implementing these changes, and I hope that our...

Fostering and adoption: Why forever matters

“Which one is my mommy now?” I never imagined a child asking someone to point out who their mother was. However, the little blonde-haired girl named Ally, who I was holding that day, had already lived with three different families in the span of 15 months since she and her sister...

2 Comments

  1. Kelton Hinton

    Sandy, I am a part of a group of leaders from across the nation who offer a “Turn-Around Pastor Bootcamp” to any pastor who wants to learn how to turn a church around. We did our first one last year here in the Johnston Baptist Association and of the five pastors who participated, EVERY ONE of them posted gains in worship attendance by the Fall! I would love to share with you more about this process! By the way, as of this past year, 44% of the churches in the JBA posted gains in worship attendance by 2% or more over their 2017 figures! This is a result of a combination of factors. On the congregation side, 1) the implementation of our JBA Revisioning Process during the interim period between pastors (24 declining churches served so far, 60% OF THEM NOW GROWING IN WORSHIP ATTENDANCE!), and 2) the education of our Pastor Search Committees in what to look for in a “growth” pastor (based upon my doctoral research). And on the pastor side of the equation, 3) the help from our TAP Bootcamp (see above). Would love to share more with you on any of the above resources!

    Reply
  2. Sandy Marks

    Kelton,

    That is outstanding news! I am excited about what God is doing in the Johnston association. I am still processing through all the information you shared with me in our meeting there at your office. I have had opportunity to speak of your approach with several other associations. Thanks for your leadership with NC Baptist churches and your partnership in ministry.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!