Scenarios for Church Revitalization: Restructure or Re-Start
With over 70-80% of churches plateaued and declining, church revitalization must be a major topic of conversation for church leaders and strategists. In the last two posts (Diagnosis and Refocuse & Re-Energize), I’ve shared our developing strategy with the Northshore Baptist Association.
So how do we Restructure or Re-Start?
If a church is diagnosed with needing restructuring or restarting, there are really only two next steps:
Step #1: Decision. The congregation must decide if large internal changes are possible or is it time to close the doors & allow something new to be born. All living things are born, they live, & they die. No New Testament Church still exists today. But even if a church continues it must die to its current way of thinking, so that a new vision can develop. Living things experience death as they age & mature & adapt to changing environments. Every growing church has had to die to various ideas, paradigms, and programs in order to grow. A final death that doesn’t lead to growth as the church exists may happen when we are unable to continue to adapt & grow through challenges faced.
- Can we afford the large internal changes that are needed?
- Do we have the resources, energy, & determination to dream a new dream for our community?
- From where we are, can we adapt to the changes of our current environment?
Step #2: Death. Once the decision to die has been made there are two options:
1) Adaption by Re-Structuring. Deciding to adapt/re-structure & grow means dying to the current model of ministry & mission. Scenarios for adaptation:
- Reverting to Mission Status & submitting to the authority of another congregation that can assist in dreaming a new dream.
- If resources are available, working with the local association to develop a plan to Assess, Align, & Advance the mission of the church.
2) Closure to Re-Start. Deciding to close/re-start means laying to rest the current church so that a brand new ministry can be started in its place. Scenarios for closure:
- Formally decide to close the church, giving the assets & liabilities to the local association so that a new church can be planted or ministry developed.
- Formally decide to close the church, giving the assets & liabilities to another local church with ties to the local community.
Next week I’ll share some of our local success stories and lessons learned.