I care about church revitalization. I have led churches that were successfully revitalized, and I have led churches that ultimately closed. I have researched the process with hundreds of churches, and written books and articles about it. I’m a big church planter guy as well, but most churches are plateaued or in decline, and need to experience revitalization.
There are a number of reasons churches get into a situation where they need a turnaround. Part of leading a successful turnaround is knowing how a church ended up so close to death. Most churches start out with life because there was either a person or a team that had a vision of growing the kingdom of God. They don’t start out with the idea that they will be an insignificant part of their community.
But something happens along the way. I have come up with a short list of the main reasons churches decline to a place where they need revitalization.
I’m sure there are other types of churches out there, but most people who have been in church leadership for a while will recognize several of these. Many of these churches will close. I don’t like that fact, but it is true. However, some will recognize themselves in these descriptions and will not be satisfied with what they have become. They will do what it takes to change their future.
God wants the church to grow and thrive, so Lord willing, more and more churches that are not on mission for God will be renewed and restored so we can change the world for Jesus.
Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.