Editor’s note: This month’s episode of the “Punching Holes in the Darkness” podcast, discusses church revitalization, a special tool the BSCM is offering Michigan churches. Click this link to listen. https://www.bscm.org/podcast/episode/ebf9bab1/church-revitalization
PLYMOUTH – “M&S (Mike and Shar) Construction.” That’s the name Shar and I chose for a business we started to “make ends meet” during a transitional time in our lives. I shake my head and chuckle at the name as I think back. We didn’t build homes - we remodeled them. We couldn’t use “M&S Remodeling” because another company was using it at the time.
It was amazing how God provided for us as one job led to another over a three-year period. In one neighborhood, we ended up hanging vinyl siding on four houses and painting the interior of another. As business picked up, we quickly realized that we needed a plan to replace worn out tools, and buy new ones for some of the work we were doing. We decided to invest 10 percent of the profits from every job to buy new tools (I feel a grunt like “Tim the tool man Taylor” coming on right now. I love tools!)
Shar went into the home center where we purchased most of our building materials and picked up a set of tools she saw me eyeing on an earlier trip. When she put the tools in the cart to buy them as a surprise for me, she got a kick out of it when the salesperson we dealt with often said in jest, “I wish you were my wife” as he looked at my new tools.
“The right tool for the right job” was a mantra we developed because it often made work quicker and safer. Over time, a few handheld hammers became a collection of framing nailers, roofing nailers, finishing nailers, and floor nailers. That happened with saws and other tools as well. We ended up having the tools we needed for the types of remodeling jobs we did.
Every contractor needs a toolbox with the tools necessary for the work.
Every pastor needs a toolbox with the “tools” necessary for the work.
Chief among them, and in a category all their own, are his saving relationship with Christ, his walk and filling with the Spirit, his calling by God to the Gospel ministry, and his commitment to the Bible as the ultimate guide for faith and practice.
Other tools make an incredible difference too - study Bible notes, Bible dictionaries, concordances, commentaries, books on theology, church history, and Biblical counseling to name just a few. Seminary, if at all possible, should be pursued. It is an incredible blessing not only to the pastor, but to the church he serves as well.
Another “tool” that every pastor needs in his toolbox today is an understanding of church revitalization. It is estimated that as many as 90% of churches in the United States need some level of church revitalization. It can be something as simple as a course correction of a ministry area to a total replant of the church. 900 Southern Baptist churches do not experience the revitalization they need and close every year. The reality is that almost every seminary graduate heading into pastoral ministry will go to a church needing revitalization. Almost every pastor or follower of Christ reading these words will be in a church that needs some level of revitalization.
These words about the overwhelming need for revitalization seem “shocking” to me as I write them. And yet, the last words of Jesus to His church called her to revitalization (Revelation 2 & 3). The church at Ephesus in Rev. 2 was doing just about everything right, but she abandoned the love she had at first. Jesus calls her to remember, repent, and return. Jesus doesn’t mention anything the church at Laodicea is doing right, yet He says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19). She was loved and invited to repent and be zealous.
We want to equip pastors and church leaders with revitalization tools to put in their toolbox. There are no revitalization “silver bullets,” but there are Bible based, church tested, resources that help churches take their next steps toward renewed life and vitality. We have partnered with a church revitalization ministry called Corpus. Their “toolbox” is a six-step process that pastors and church leaders can use for church revitalization.
THE SIX STEPS
A seven-step assessment designed to synthesize data and discoveries, helping pastors to accurately evaluate the current state of the church.
A series of “sweet spot” exercises considering church purpose, leadership passion, and community potential; designed to identify where to position the church’s ministry for maximum impact.
An in-depth series of exercises designed to develop all of the directional elements for the church, including mission, strategy, values, vision, annual plan, and goals.
A process to develop a customized plan for evangelism and discipleship.
Creation of a customized, multi-level plan for leadership development using a four-fold framework.
Practical resources and ideas to help pastors and church leaders launch the new vision and build momentum toward its fulfillment.
Dr. Rob Peters is going to be in Michigan on Monday and Tuesday, March 27-28, to meet with pastors and church leaders who want to learn more about Corpus Revitalization. We will organize his schedule based on the pastors that are interested in talking with him. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The cost for each church going through the training is $1,999. Because of the generosity of Michigan Baptists in the Frances Brown State Mission Offering, the BSCM will invest $1,500 of the cost for each church team. The cost for each church will be $499.
Corpus Informational Meetings:
Monday, March 27th, 2023
Eastgate Baptist Church
4226 E. Atherton Road
Burton, MI 48519
Tuesday, March 28th, 2023
41100 Plymouth Road
Bldg.1, Suite 315
Plymouth, MI 48170
Some daytime meetings are available if you and your team are not able to make the evening sessions. Please contact email@example.com to schedule a meeting or for more information.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.