Church revitalization is a special calling with a peculiar gift set.  Honoring the past, while disrupting the present, to create a different vision for the future, is a balancing act that few pastors do effectively. Taking criticism personally, having the need to be appreciated, affirmed, and being able to use a cookie cutter approach to ministry is not going to work in the 21st Century. Pastors’ who have been called to revitalize will benefit greatly by cultivating a few gifts that I have been noticing in successful church revitalization pastors. 

Unapologetically Prophetic – Calling people to recognize their short comings and focus on the call of God is essential for church revitalization.  Churches are not dying because the people do not love the Lord or each other (a few are but…) Most churches are dying because they have lost the deep desire to live the transforming life style.  They experienced their new birth in Christ, they have been inspired and revived beyond complacency two or three times but now there is no challenge to be the Gospel because they have become comfortable and complacent with being church people rather than Christ’s people.  If you took a poll in almost any mainline church on Sunday and asked the question “How many people have introduced one person to Jesus Christ in the last 30 days?”, How many people would respond?  80%? 50%? 20%? 5%? Anyone? 

When we live a life that is constantly being transformed by the Word of God then we develop a burning desire to lead others through the process of being transformed. When we have experience God’s grace we want to share God’s grace?  When we experience the Love of God we want to share the Love of God? When the “church event” is more important than the “living for Christ” life style the church needs a prophet.  Speaking the truth in love, addressing relational dysfunctions, calling out social intolerances that mask racism, sexism, and homophobic attitudes and behavior are essential skills for the church revitalization pastor. 

Your preaching must speak to where people who you are trying to reach are hurting, not where your congregation is comfortable. Your preaching must connect the ancient rituals and traditions that give meaning with the spiritual needs of people today who are market driven not religion driven.  If you can not connect with the culture through music, movies, news, community needs and regional sociological trends with the fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose on the third day so that we could walk in victory over sin, death , hell and the grave then you will be challenged in rebuilding the church.   

To revitalize a church your focus should be on revitalizing people’s lives with the Gospel.  How do we love like Jesus?  Serve like Jesus? Provide hospitality like Jesus? These are a few of the questions that ministry has always answered but now we have to take it to the next level and say with our technology driven, relationship barren, disconnected, selfish centered culture how do we live as ambassadors of Jesus Christ?   

Prophetic Pastors Guide 

  • Pray without ceasing

  • Search the scriptures more than preparing for your sermon

  • Do not take spiritual warfare lightly

  • Focus on the Message of the Gospel then connect it to culture

  • Take time to clarify your calling and gift set