Is this church ready for rebuilding?

June 27th, 2023

As I worshiped on a recent Sunday morning, I couldn’t help but ponder the question of whether this church, which I’d been attending for over a decade, was ready for rebuilding.

I genuinely appreciate this church. It boasts an excellent downtown location and is filled with wonderful people. However, it has experienced numerous changes: the dismissal of long-time musicians, a well-liked pastor with a hidden addiction, frequent pastoral appointment changes, and the pandemic. While the church once held three services a week, it now only offers one. Many familiar faces have disappeared.

So, can this church rebuild? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, this church can rebuild if:

1. The church is willing to SIMPLIFY.

Cut the dead weight: ditch any church ministries without a leader. Lacking a champion, many ministries need help to survive. If the person in charge is no longer available or has lost interest, and nobody else is stepping up, it’s time to say goodbye. If that ministry isn’t serving the church’s purpose and vision, then you might be better off without it. Creating a Culture of Renewal® participant, Pastor Lisa Anderson, saw a boost in attendance just by choosing the right ministries for her church. Plus, she’s got a new Young Adults class in the works and a preschool program that’s already a bona fide hit. Sometimes simplifying is not about doing less, but more about doing something different that will have a better result.

2. The church embraces SOCIETY.

Don’t let your church get stuck in isolation! Connecting with your community and drawing in those who haven’t heard of your church is crucial. Pastor Lisa took the initiative to open up events like mom group meet-ups, Valentine’s Day dinners, and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to everyone. Partnering with local businesses and organizations can help you spread the word beyond your walls. It’s all about creating an inclusive environment that welcomes people of all beliefs and backgrounds.

However, it is not just about embracing society; the quality of relationships within your church matters. Pastor Lisa had several significant conversations and interactions that marked a relationship shift. These included discussing disaffiliation, looking at where the church is currently, and celebrating successes together.

3. The church cultivates SPIRITUALITY.

People are deeply hungry for spirituality that makes a difference. Let prayer and Bible study move you beyond a discussion about God, or a rehearsal of beliefs, into the realm of experiencing God. Getting out of the four walls and into nature can help, too. It’s easy for church life to stray into the mundane. Too much focus on budgets and buildings can tempt you to forget the miraculous. Don’t allow that to happen.

Pastor Lisa focused on prayer, making the church more intentional in writing prayers out and opening the church every week for people to come and pray, providing scripture for reflection.


Ready for Rebuilding?

If the church is willing to simplify its activities, embrace society, and cultivate spirituality, it has a good chance of rebuilding.

However, rebuilding will only be attainable with one more crucial element in place.

It’s not money, younger people, or an ideal location.

The most critical element for rebuilding is a willingness to dream like Jesus. To rebuild sustainably, the church needs a big, bold, God-sized vision – compelling and risky enough to require growth in faith, interdependence, and partnership with God. Only a vision of this magnitude will draw people into the rebuilding phase.


If you would like to know more about rebuilding your congregation and fostering a culture of renewal, please check out Rebekah's upcoming seminar, How Christian Ministries are Achieving Success: An Introduction to Creating a Culture of Renewal®.

Excerpted from Rebekah Simon-Peter's blog, used with the author's permission.

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