Revitalize! (Part Two)

Over the next few weeks I plan to share highlights from some reading and study I am doing regarding church revitalization. I have had the privilege of serving on pastoral staff, planting and pastoring a church, and working with churches in times of transition and change. SBC of Virginia has a been committed to church planting since our founding and we are now seeking to learn more and grow in our commitment to church revitalization.

Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13) focused on church planting, but the second time around, strengthening and revitalizing churches was needed.

Acts 15:36, And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Acts 15:41, And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (ESV)

A number of books can supplement and add commentary to our biblical study. Harry Reeder’s From Embers to Flame: How God Can Revitalize Your Church is a resource that prompted the following:

Reeder offers ten strategies to facilitate a biblical paradigm of church revitalization—remember, repent, and recover the first things. Here are the first five…

Revitalization Strategy 1: Connect to the Past. Learn from the past without living in the past.

Revitalization Strategy 2: Recover the First Things.

We need to ask God to search us and then we must confess sin. Repentance for pride, disbelief, failure to obey His Great Commission, a lack of putting the Lord first…

Revitalization Strategy 3: Gospel-Driven and Christ-Centered Ministry. We remember, repent, then we are ready to move to: “recover”. First, we must recover a Gospel-Driven and Christ-centered ministry focus. Proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and His power to change lives.

Revitalization Strategy 4: Personal Gospel Formation. Reeder explains, “In order to be revitalized, a church must have healthy leaders who then produce healthy Christians and healthy Christian families.”

Revitalization Strategy 5: The Priority of Intercessory Prayer. Equip and mobilize the people for prayer. Idea: Create a prayer team; start with your own small prayer team; share weekly prayer points with the church.

 I will highlight strategies 6-10 next week. May the Lord encourage you and strengthen you in the work He has called you to serve in these days. SBC of Virginia in on a mission to strengthen and mobilize churches to make disciples and plant churches…and revitalize churches through Gospel partnership!

Your brother in Jesus,

BRIAN AUTRY