Revitalization: A process, not a program

April 8, 2019

In order to achieve a new set of results, churches must be willing to engage in the challenging but rewarding process of revitalization. This leadership development paradigm is based on three components — the man, the ministry and the mission — and implemented through learning cohorts and individual coaching.

The Man

In many cases, congregations simply think that finding a new pastor will fix all of the problems in order for their church to begin to grow. Instead, our process allows us to work with great passion to invest in the pastors that God has already placed in leadership positions at struggling churches.

Oftentimes, church leaders just need the encouragement they gain from simply knowing they do not have to walk through the journey of change alone. Some pastors need additional training and coaching as they work to develop appropriate leadership skills and techniques that drive a congregation forward in pursuit of the calling of Jesus on His people.

Our desire to equip leaders to lead with impact occurs at two levels.

Level One: Cohorts
We develop groups of pastors in cohorts within local associations to foster a greater sense of community and collective passion for the lost in localized areas. Each cohort is led by one of our coaches who works to develop each pastor in his spiritual journey, as well as his growth as a leader. Cohorts generally meet monthly over the course of one year.

Level Two: One-on-One
Our coaches work one-on-one with pastors of struggling churches in order to best equip them for the work of leading toward greater mission effectiveness. Coaching involves ongoing meetings, phone conversations and resource sharing that allow pastors to grow in their understanding of how to be catalyst leaders in their congregations.

Revitalization is about the kingdom of God being realized among the people of God.

The Ministry

The second component of the revitalization process is ministry. There is a paradox to ministry revitalization that the BSCNC seeks to emphasize — church revitalization is not about the church. First and foremost, church revitalization is about the glory of God and kingdom growth. As Henry and Richard Blackaby wrote in their book Flickering Lamps, “There is a big difference between building your church and building God’s kingdom.” Revitalization is about the kingdom of God being realized among the people of God. Thus, a significant part of the process is understanding ministry dynamics at work in a particular congregation.

Prayerfully, we will come alongside your church leadership and help you form a team of people that will evaluate your ministry effectiveness and study the community surrounding your congregation. The revitalization process will cause a shift in mindset:

  • Participation on Sundays becomes an act of worship rather than a weekend commitment.
  • Baptisms replace buildings as ministry priorities.
  • Deacons’ meetings emphasize disciple-making.
  • Quarrels are replaced with kiononia, (Greek) meaning deep, abiding fellowship.

The Mission

The third phase of the revitalization process is mission. Whereas the first two phases focus on preparing the pastor and the church, the third phase is “doing.” The primary focus of “The Mission” is on living out The Great Commission.

There is an outward focus that ministers to the community and beyond. It moves the church outside of the four walls and begins to make a direct impact on the community. This phase begins new ministries like:

  • Planting new churches.
  • Establishing community discipleship groups.
  • Starting various evangelistic outreach efforts.
  • Looking for new ways to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the community.

The church begins to share the love of Jesus with unreached and unchurched people. “The Mission” phase also continues to re-evaluate and continue the process of revitalization.

Here’s what Pastor Nathan Brooks (Glorieta Baptist Church, Concord) had to say about the revitalization experience: “Revitalization is the process of rediscovering why you exist as a church.”

Sound impossible? It’s not. We’ve watched it happen, and it can happen in your congregation. Contact us today, and let’s see what God will do through your church for His kingdom!

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a collaboration of revitalization coaches Rob Roberts, Rit Varriale and Paul Roberts.


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

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