How might God be calling you to serve a dying church as a Replanter?
“What about a dying church brings glory to God?” Wrestling with this question is what led Mark Clifton to shift his focus from planting churches to replanting dying churches.
For a long time the prevailing wisdom was to avoid investing resources into the black hole of dying churches. It’s been common to run away from them, avoid them and let them die. Over the last decade, however, there has been a continual increase in awareness and effort given towards dying churches in North America. How might God be calling you to serve a dying church?
God is calling more people to the gritty and glorious work of replanting dying churches. How does a called and qualified replanter find a replant? Replanting is messy. It is often challenging, from finding a church ready and willing to be replanted to providing financially for a replanter and his family.
Replanting requires a commitment to radical dependence on the Lord. You aren’t smart enough, strategic enough, or dynamic enough to replant a dying church. But this is precisely why God is calling people to this work. Replanters are like Gideon’s army; we get to be co-laborers with Christ to serve his bride.
Like discerning God’s will for any area of our lives, pursuing replanting must start with prayer. Bob Bickford and Mark Hallock wrote a book called “Am I a Replanter.” Use this resource as a guide to praying through this calling for 30 days.
Pursue confirmation in your calling through guided conversation with a trusted ministry coach or mentor. The North American Mission Board offers a free Replanter and Revitalizer Characteristic Survey that is a self-assessment tool based on research.
The free report provides discussion questions and resources to help you learn more about yourself and replanting. Take time to wrestle with and confirm this call with the Lord, with your family, and with wise counsel.
Finding where God has called you to replant is more complicated than finding a place to plant or even finding a normal pastorate. Connecting with local planters who are already working with these churches can help you become aware of their need, and let them know of your calling. Leaning into your Baptist and association network can open these opportunities. Grab a meal together, and ask questions about churches in their area.
- SURVEY SCORES
- At the end of the online survey, you will have an opportunity to download a free report. Work through the self-reflection questions on your own first to get a better self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. If you are married you will want to follow up your own reflection by discussing some of the reflection questions with your spouse.
- SIT WITH A COACH
- The scores you receive may not tell you as much as you want. The real value of this process comes when you sit down with a trusted ministry mentor or coach and work through the reflection questions with them. You have already explored them in the self-reflection process but as Proverbs 20:5 says, “Counsel in a person’s heart is deep water; but a person of understanding draws it out.”
- SELECTED STUDY
- The downloadable report will have several links to resources for further exploration. Take advantage of these to strengthen your weaker areas and maximize your strengths.
Replanting takes time. Leverage this season of waiting to prepare for the work ahead.
If you think your church may be in need of replanting or revitalization, you can find out by taking a quick, free online assessment.