You’ve heard my dire statistics from time to time. For example, nine out of ten churches in America are either declining or growing more slowly than the community in which they are located. So the overwhelming numbers of our churches are losing ground in their respective communities.
Among the one out of ten churches that are doing okay, there is usually room for improvement. Church revitalization, then, is really for most leaders.
So why aren’t more church leaders being intentional in leading church revitalization? As I have conversed with church leaders, I have found four types of church leaders who are resistant to leading church revitalization.
- Fearful leaders. I understand completely. I do not like the criticisms that come with leading change. Those critics are inevitable. And then there is the fear of the unknown. We must remember, however, that tomorrow is never fully known. We should have a greater fear of doing nothing.
- Leaders in denial. I was a guest speaker for an event in a church in recent months. I often receive statistical data on the church before I arrive. The statistics were clear. The church had been in a steady decline for over a decade. When I arrived I saw a church in disrepair. I even saw ripped cushion pews all over the church. It was a mess. I then asked the pastor how the church was doing. “Never better,” he said. He was in denial. Total denial.
- Comfortable leaders. Sometimes church leaders think that church members are the people we need to get out of their comfort zones. But the comfort problem can reside with the leaders as well. Some leaders so much like things the way they are that they refuse to lead in needed changes toward revitalization. This posture is dangerous. Comfortable leaders will soon find that change and discomfort will be forced upon them. It is impossible to maintain the status quo. It is better to lead change than let change lead you.
- Coasting leaders. These leaders are not necessarily comfortable, but they have a short-term perspective. They may be nearing retirement. They may have hopes or possibilities of another job elsewhere. So they coast. They put themselves before the real needs of their churches.
The reality is that most churches need some level of revitalization. Most leaders should lead toward that revitalization. I have made a resource available to help church leaders toward this end. I hope many of you will join those who have already decided to be a part of this community.
Yes, the statistics are dire. But we serve a God of hope and possibilities. Church revitalization, in His power, is possible and available. Don’t be a fearful leader. Don’t be a leader in denial. Don’t be comfortable leader. And don’t be a coasting leader.
Life is too short not to make a difference. Be that leader who, in God’s power, takes your church to the next level.
Let me hear from you. And I will see many of you in my revitalization consultation.