8 steps to leading your church back to growth

May 9, 2019

Church revitalization is both a popular and critical need in North America. That’s one reason I’m glad to be a part of Church Answers and Revitalize Network. Sometimes, however, pastors and church leaders overcomplicate the process of revitalization. Here are some simple steps all of us pastors can take:

  1. Evaluate your own level of commitment to the church. If you already have one foot in the next church you want to lead, you’ll never lead your current church to growth. Your heart’s not in it.
  2. Enlist a prayer team that focuses intentionally on revitalization. I fear that too many revitalization efforts emphasize strategy without leaning on the power of God. A lack of prayer means our efforts are all in our power — and that’s ultimately fruitless.
  3. Take responsibility for the decline or growth of the church. I realize this step is a controversial one, and I know that God is ultimately responsible for any growth in our churches. My point is that leaders who always blame others for the church’s condition seldom lead a church to change.
  4. Know your community well — do a demographic study. If you’re only guessing about the demographics of your community, you don’t have enough data to move your church toward revitalization. Knowing your community well will (a) increase your burden for your neighbors and (b) bring focus to your church growth strategy.
  5. Don’t worry about changing the whole church; instead, focus on changing lives. Even Jesus didn’t get all His followers on board. You and I won’t either, but we can still ask God to help us see change in one life at a time. Several changed lives can change a church.
  6. Focus first on a few people. When even a few people get on board with a vision, that added support can encourage and strengthen us. Find a core of people who are ready to move forward, and work with them. They’ll help spread the fire.
  7. Make sure you’re doing personal evangelism. Our own lack of outward focus is one reason our churches turn inwardly. If you’re not in your community telling others about Jesus, your church won’t do it either. On the other hand, simply doing evangelism has a way of re-igniting our fire for the gospel and the church.
  8. Look for easy wins to strengthen your church. That may be as simple as enlisting greeters at the doors or changing the way you welcome guests in the service (that is, you don’t embarrass them!). Sometimes, we see the big picture needs of the church but miss the little things that will move the church in the right direction.

Start somewhere, and praise God for every victory He grants you!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions.This post first appeared at www.chucklawless.com.


by Chuck Lawless  /  
Vice President for Spiritual Formation  /  Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

The treasure of tribe

Mass shootings, political strife, threats of war, the daily onslaught on the soul of our children — say what you will, but our world is rapidly changing, if not declining. With so much uncertainty in our world, one thing remains steady and sure: America desperately needs Jesus,...

Emphasize baptisms, ACP in your congregation

For many years, we have lamented the decline in baptisms that we have witnessed across the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). While it’s heartbreaking to see these declines, I don’t believe that the numbers alone paint a complete picture of how many people are placing their faith...

What’s your ‘why’ in children’s ministry?

As a children’s minister, I excelled at checking off my daily to-do list. If someone needed markers, tape or Goldfish, I was the one to call. As I reflect on the years I spent on a church staff, one major downfall I admit is the lack of vision I had. Having a vision would have...

Is your ‘one’ a child?

As Southern Baptists, we are being called to ask ourselves a question: “Who’s Your One?” Who is the one person you can pray for, build a relationship with and have an ongoing gospel conversation with? Who is one person you can focus on who needs a saving relationship with Jesus...

Halloween: Don’t let it divide you

Christians have long had differing views on how to approach Halloween. But Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear said in a recent podcast that the holiday doesn't have to be divisive -- in fact, it can be a great way to get to know your neighbors. "Some participate and...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

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

Get the latest news and event information by signing up for the N.C. Baptist newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!