I have recently spent a great amount of time reading books and blogs about the subject of revitalization. In fact, revitalization is a buzz word these days. We have spent most of the last couple of decades emphasizing church planting. It is encouraging to see that we are balancing ourselves out to encourage church planting AND church revitalization.
Revitalization seems to be a “cooler” version of the term church health. In fact, if our churches were healthy we wouldn’t be in need of revitalization.
Where do we begin? How do we get on this ride? What are the first step towards renewal and revitalization?
I am not going to deny that the above mentioned items aren’t important. They are vital to a revitalization strategy and shouldn’t be neglected. Pragmatic things are important to the revitalization strategy.
But, what is the most important thing…
A strategy that doesn’t include prayer and fasting is destined to fail! In fact, a strategy without including prayer and fasting isn’t really a biblical strategy.
Spiritual Renewal is good for God’s congregation and will help propel us towards congregational revitalization. But, I sense that no church is really ready for revitalization until is ready to seek God in prayer and fasting.
Upon my arrival at FBCAE I really struggled with the overpowering challenge of revitalization. I began to look for a strategy that would work for FBCAE. I wanted a “plug and play” strategy. I wanted some tested strategy that I could use. However, I quickly learned that church revitalization has so much to do with contextualization. There wasn’t a surefire method. There wasn’t a cookie cutter approach; I was on my own. I am confident there are some important marks of a church desiring renewal and revitalization. And, there are some pragmatic things that are important. But, the beginning of the process…the foundation for every church is the call to prayer and fasting.