As a District here in Texas, we believe that God is calling our association of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ to multiply disciples and churches. And to support our congregations in accomplishing this mission, the Texas District is committed to working in three strategic areas: church planting, church revitalization, and leadership development. In this edition of “Mission Moment” we explore the topic of church revitalization.
Virtually everyone agrees that church planting is a good idea, but it is also important to assist established congregations in their mission to make disciples. Long ago, the Texas District recognized the need to support congregations in need of revitalization. But when does a congregation need to be revitalized?
The root of the word is “vitality” which is a measure of health and the power to live and to grow. Some might describe their church as stuck in a rut. Others might note the loss of joy and enthusiasm that they once had. Still others might point to the lack of adult baptisms or that no new believers have been added to their number in quite some time. Most experts agree that a congregation that has plateaued or experienced decline in worship attendance as measured over a five-year period is in need of revitalization. At a very minimum, such congregations have lost momentum and need to get moving again in the direction God desires.
This process involves taking a long, hard look at the current circumstances of ministry with an open heart and an open mind and to begin to ask God to do a new thing as the congregation charts a new path into the future. I encourage congregations to surrender their church to God’s Kingdom and submit Jesus’ Lordship in a fresh way. Ask questions like: “If God were to start a church in our community to reach the people here who don’t know Jesus, what would that church look like and what would it’s people be doing?” And as God helps you to answer those questions, then ask yourselves, “What’s stopping us from becoming that church?”
There is no doubt about it: revitalization is hard. But the longer a congregation holds onto its ineffective ways without seeking revitalization, the harder it will be to get the congregation moving again in the direction God desires. So what about your church? How’s your church’s vitality? What can you do to help lead your congregation to greater health and growth? The good news is you are not alone: Jesus is with you, and we’re here too. If you’d like support in seeking revitalization, feel free to contact me anytime. It’s never too late to get moving again.
Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for the LCMC Texas District. Residing in Georgetown, Pastor Bryce is available to coach congregations on mission. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments: 512-942-7776 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lcmctexas