Revitalization is not replanting. Those are two different things. Replanting a church would be starting all the way over. It’s killing a church and starting another. Revitalizing a church, similar to reviving a physical body, is to keep something from dying and then to breathe into it new energy so that it becomes healthy again.
So how do you do that? Does it require a lot of change?
Don't think in terms of change. Always think in terms of new energy. And, remember from my last post, new energy means choosing and implementing new leaders to work alongside current leaders.
Some change may naturally flow from new energy. Again, think of a physical body. If you put new energy into your exercise routine you may lose weight and then need to change your wardrobe accordingly. But you’re the same person you’ve always been.
Where is this new energy supposed to go?
Interestingly, when we began to revitalize at Griggs, I figured we should start from the outside and move inward.
I remember a conversation I had with our deacons very early on in the revitalization process where I suggested changing the name of our church. Through those conversations, it dawned on me that a name change would do no more good than putting new clothes on a sick body.
I then realized that the process of revitalization starts from the inside of the church and works its way outward.
Start with the heart. Start with the very things that make your church a church. Revisit the doctrinal statement, mission statement, values, or anything else you’d consider vital.
Again, the goal is not necessarily to change those things but to put new energy into them.
We did a couple things. First, we re-worded our doctrinal statement. Second, we put our mission and values into better phrases that were more easily repeatable and rememberable.
Lastly, for a while, every service we had one of our leaders come to the front and relay the vision for something we did, tying that back into our doctrine or mission. And we did that until we covered everything we did.
Moving outwardly, start to put new energy into the things that are visible. When you go to church, what do you see? You see a service, an event, or a ministry department. Here’s where putting in new energy can cause some change.
Start with a ministry department first. How can you put new energy into, say, kids ministry? Remember, think “new leaders.”
Ask yourself, do we need a new curriculum? Do we need a new routine? Do we need a new theme?
Then, move towards events. Our church had done dinners in the past after a service, but never a community-wide event. Then came the idea for our first annual Fall Family Fun Night where we had several things going on at once. We had a bunch of games for kids, trunk or treat, and a drop-in dinner in the fellowship hall. We had over 100 total guests from our neighborhood stop by.
Finally, put new energy into your worship service. Have someone new do announcements, add in a time for reflection you don’t yet have or let folks come up and read their favorite verses. Get creative, put in some energy, invite new folks to participate.
Though it’s not first, it is important and a lot of fun. The face of the church for purposes of this post is things like graphic design, social media, your website and even your building itself.
This is typically so situational it’s hard to provide direction but for reference, at Griggs, we started by making and maintaining a Facebook page. We then moved onto a website which we continually update. We ripped out some carpet, switched a few things around on the stage, bought a new sign, and repainted our kid's ministry space. And that’s just for starters.
The best part about putting new energy into the “face” of a church? You guessed it. It requires new people to serve in new ways and maybe even become some of the new leaders you’re looking for as you put new energy into the church from the inside out.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nauright/