We live in a very exciting day and age! The God of Heaven has been reaching into the hearts of men and women around this country and calling them into the great work of evangelism, mission work, pastoral care. It’s time to rejoice! For decades the Church has been praying that the “Lord of the Harvest” would send forth laborers into the harvest field, and now we are seeing these prayers answered. And it’s not just one generation who are stepping out in faith. In our local church alone we’ve recently sent out a couple in their 20’s to plant a church in Oakland, a couple in their 40’s to minister in Africa, and a couple in their 70’s looking to Revitalize.
So, now that you’ve decided to follow Christ’s call into pastoral ministry you might be a little overwhelmed at all of the options in front of you. Should you plant a brand new church? How about a replant? What is that anyway? Should you consider taking an established church? Certainly there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
Let’s break down the pros and cons of each.
Planting a Church
I’m a church planter. My father is a church planter. As the man who came before me, I will ALWAYS love church planting. He once said to me, “There are few moments more thrilling in life than the very first service of a brand new church.” I would have to agree. August 1, 2004 will be a day that I will never forget. No power, no lights, no air conditioning, tens of thousands of invitations given out, and no clue if anyone would even show up. It’s hard to imagine that took place 15 years ago.
- Establishing Culture, Tone, Reputation, Direction, and Church Constitution
- Immediate Leadership Credibility
- 2nd& 3rdGeneration Christians are Highly Attracted
- Funds – You Have None
- Facilities – You Have None
- 2nd& 3rdGeneration Christians are Highly Attracted
Replanting a Church
The key difference between a church plant and a replant is access to previous resources. The key difference between a revitalization and a replant is a need for an entirely new identity, direction, and full fresh start. Look at the typical church who has 7 in attendance on Sunday morning, a dilapidating building, and a sign in front of the church that warns of the coming Y2K. It’s not a pretty picture, but the man with vision can see the possibilities above the problems. There are thousands of churches around this country that have a similar story and dynamic. They need a fresh start. They need to be replanted.
- The Remaining Members are Ready for Change
- The Facilities aren’t ideal but often Debt Free
- Typically Very Few Remaining Members
- Facilities will require much Focus & Finances
Revitalizing a Church
Any church in decline is a church in need of revitalization. Oh my dear friend, there are thousands upon thousands of churches like this in our own very country. This could be a church that once had a thriving congregation of 300 but now struggles to see 30 saints gather on Sunday morning. It could be a church that was once a mega-church but now fights to see a few hundred enter its outdated and cavernous building. Or this could simple be a church that has been in slow and steady decline for years. There is no trajectory of growth. Instead the church has either plateaued or is in steady decline. This church needs to be revitalized.
- The Remaining Saints
- The Resources are Strong
- More Attractive to the Unchurched
- Overcoming a Tarnished Reputation
- Overcoming Established Patterns
- Overcoming Resistant Members
The true disciple of Jesus has never been presented with more opportunities. The fields are “white unto harvest” and the ways in which we can advance the Kingdom of Christ are endless. I believe we are on the precipice of a new revival in this country and you can be part of what God is going to do. And you don’t have to do it alone! Regardless of your specific calling, whether it be planting, replanting, or revitalizing; you can connect with others who can encourage you and help you along the way.
Replanting & Revitalizing guys should immediately connect with Revitalize Network. This organization, of which I am gladly a part, is committed to empowering churches to greater health. They do this through their weekly podcast, personal coaching, church consulting, facility evaluations, and the upcoming Revitalize Conference in April 20-22, 2020.
Church Planting guys should immediately connect with Every Ethne of ABWE. This organization, of which I am also gladly a part, is committed to churches planting churches for the Gospel saturation of every man, woman, and child. They do this through an effective Church Planting Pipeline that includes in-depth assessment, training, coaching, and continued care.
Excited about the Future guys should immediately connect with The Idea Day Network. We believe the best days for the Church are ahead of us. This organization, of which I am also gladly a part, is committed to sharing ideas for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ. They do this through the monthly podcast, regional Idea Days, regional Idea Nights, and National Idea Day Summits.
I’ve often heard in relation to the subject of planting, replanting, or revitalizing: “It’s easier to give birth than raise the dead.” ‘Tis true. However, we must never forget that both are miracles of God. And the God we serve has power over life and death! He is the one who originally “created all things” and “makes all things new.” Remember, whatever Christ has called you to do, it is He who will do it through you.
So, What do you think?
What are the pros and cons of planting, replanting, and revitalizing? Of these 3, which is the greatest need in our generation? What did I miss? What did I get wrong? I’d love to hear from you.