The “RevitalizeNC” podcast is hosted by Terry Long, senior consultant for church revitalization with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Each episode includes an interview with a leading expert in the field of church revitalization to offer help, hope and encouragement to pastors and ministry leaders.

This third episode that came out yesterday (Sept. 20) features Sam Rainer, president of Church Answers, the co-founder and co-owner of Rainer Publishing, and the president of Revitalize Network, discussing the role of church fostering in revitalization.

Here is an excerpt from this podcast:

Sam Rainer: “So, the whole idea of fostering a church came about through our foster system experience, and it’s connected to revitalization. Revitalization is the process where a church seeks to get healthier using its own internal resources of people, funds and processes. When you’re revitalizing a church, hopefully you move outward, because that’s the movement of the gospel, but it’s an internal thing in that you’ve got your own resources, your own people. Adoption, if you’re talking about the term adoption when you’re under the umbrella of revitalization, that’s where a healthier church is going to merge…”

“Fostering though is the process where a relatively healthy church is going to provide people and resources to a relatively unhealthy church for a specific period of time. So in the same way that I’m going to care for a child, I’m going to do this for a season, while you get your life back … when you get your life in order, you get your child back. Well, fostering in the church works similarly, because we’re going to temporarily send them your way, people and resources, to help you out for six months to a year, that’s kind of the general time frame. And, we’re going to get you to a healthier place. We’re not adopting you, we’re not bringing you into our family, we’re fostering you for a season, so that you can get back to that healthier spot. While all of these terms — revitalization, adoption, fostering — they’re all connected, they are different things.”

New episodes will be released every other month. For more information and details on how to subscribe, click here.

Happy New Year! I know that those are welcome words for many of us, myself included. Given the events of the past year, we are all ready to return to some semblance of normal, although normal will undoubtedly look different than it has in the past. Most people say they are tired and weary about how much of life has been altered since March of 2020. I resonate with Paul’s writing in Philippians 3:13, “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to those things that are ahead….” 
When we consider all the unwanted changes that congregations have had to accept this past year, it becomes obvious why disagreements between fellow church members and church leaders about how we function as a church family can become contentious. 

Excerpt from this podcast:

Have you stopped to realize who in the church is expected to maintain peace, keep everyone happy and convince the membership to cooperate together in carrying out the mission of the church? Who is the person that is caught in the middle and placed in a no-win predicament because everyone cannot have what they want? That individual is the pastor.

Early last fall, Thom Rainer published an article on his Church Answers website titled, “Six Reasons Your Pastor is About to Quit.” 
According to Rainer, some of those reasons include general weariness and fatigue from the ongoing impact and effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives and ministries. Pastors are discouraged about the degree of discord, division and disagreement within the congregations about how best to navigate the pandemic and its aftermath, as well as other issues of our day. Pastors are also discouraged by an increased amount of criticism that they receive, either directly or indirectly.

Editor’s Note: Josh Reed serves as a senior consultant for Adult Evangelism and Discipleship and Georgie Robinson serves as associate professor of missions and evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.