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You’re a Replanter– Now What?

If you’ve been interested in replanting for even a short amount of time, you’ve most likely heard these statistics:  “Seven out of ten churches are either plateaued or declining.” (Mark Clifton, Reclaiming Glory)  A recent Gallup poll states there has been a 10 point drop in attendance from the previous decade. 45% of American adults say they attend religious services, an all-time low, despite huge growth in the overall population. Based on these statistics alone, there is a solid chance that graduates from seminary today are far more likely to be called to pastor a replant than a successful, healthy church. They are much more likely to …

Stages in a Replant: Harvesting

What Comes Next? Looking back at your time in ministry, if you’ve worked through the 4 stages of a Replant, here are some things that you’ve been doing. You’ve plowed the ground by continual prayer and preaching of the gospel.  You’ve planted gospel seeds by infusing the gospel into every ministry, every sermon/teaching, every member you have. You’ve watered those seeds by focusing on intentional discipleship in your congregation and the growth of your people. You’ve witnessed how God is working through growth: whether that be through the spiritual growth of your congregation or the physical growth of new people coming through community e…

Thank you, God, for the Fleas

‘Tis the season for Thankfulness. As I write this blog post, we have just finished the biggest meal of the year.  There are only six of us gathered around our table, but I cook like there will be 20. This year we had four appetizers, three meats, seven sides, and five desserts.  It will take several days to finish leftovers, and we will all gain several pounds trying to do so, and we will vow that we hate all of these foods and can’t stand to eat any more of them… until Christmas Day, when we do it all again.   Before anyone is too impressed with me, I will come clean and tell you that I will save up all of my cooking skills for this one d…

Stages in a Replant: Growing

THIS BLOG POST IS PART 4 IN A FIVE-PART SERIES ON THE STAGES OF A REPLANT. What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Cor. 3:5-7) The Beautiful Tale of Two Churches What makes a church grow? Is it our clever tactics and ideas? Is it our sheer willpower and dedication? How about that new Revitalization book you picked up? While all these components are helpful, none of these actually cause growth in a church. It’s best if we give credit w…

Plagued by Discouragement? I Know the Cure.

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine about all of the struggles and concerns she was facing.  Her job was going through a stressful transition, her parent’s health was declining, she had financial issues that resulted in much anxiety for her future, and her children were experiencing separate crises of their own.  At one point in her conversation she sighed and buried her head in her hands and said, “I’m just so tired.” But here’s the thing– despite all of her anxieties, she was getting plenty of sleep.  She wasn’t physically tired.  She was disheartened and dispirited.  She was discouraged.  She was working hard and she was taking c…

Stages in a Replant: Watering

NOTE: THIS BLOG POST IS PART 3 IN A FIVE-PART SERIES ON THE STAGES OF A REPLANT. Replanters and Revitalizers Must Water Seeds Faithfully In our series, we have looked at 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 each week. This week, we will focus on the work of Apollos in verse 6: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” What was the work of Apollos? What did it mean that he watered? Let’s see what the scriptures tell us about Apollos in Acts 18:24-28: “Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in (the) s…

3 Reasons Churches Don’t Revitalize- And 1 Thing You Can Do About It

When thinking about the reason our congregations are hesitant to revitalize, we often say, “They just don’t want to change.” And while that may be partly true, it isn’t the whole reason, nor is it the sole reason. During year three of our church’s revitalization process, my husband received an email from a long-time church member.  This church member was very frustrated and disgruntled over a decision my husband made regarding small groups at our church.  Instead of calling our Sunday morning groups by their former name, “Sunday School,” he opted to encompass all of our small groups under the name, “Connect Groups.” Sunday morning, Sunday …

Stages in a Replant: Planting

NOTE: THIS BLOG POST IS PART 2 IN A FIVE-PART SERIES ON THE STAGES OF A REPLANT. Fellow Workers in God’s Field Have you ever planted a seed? Maybe you are active in gardening every spring and cultivate your own seeds. Maybe you have only planted in an Agricultural class as a student in High School. But if you have ever carefully placed that seed in fertile soil, you know the experience of placing hope.  You may be burying that seed in 2 inches of dirt, but once you place it there, it is outside your control. Sure, you may water that seed, or place a pot in the sunshine. But the forces of nature that cause it to grow are completely outside …

Stages in a Replant: Plowing

NOTE: THIS BLOG POST IS PART 1 IN A FIVE-PART SERIES ON THE STAGES OF A REPLANT.  Potential Change on the Horizon There is something to be said for churches who have chosen the Replant option. For churches who are ready to change, it requires boldness and energy mixed with a soft and willing heart.  Replanting has a high risk, but a high reward. It requires patience, stability, regularity, prolonged unity, and a leadership team that is “all in.” While there exists the possibility of conflict, frustration, and spiritual warfare, the end result of a replant can be a new, vibrant church that is focused on discipleship, mission, and community….

Spiritually and Organizationally Healthy

What Measures a Healthy Church? When someone says, “We have a pretty healthy church,” what do they mean? For some, this could mean they have an increasing average attendance in their weekly worship. For others, their finances are in pretty good shape and they have plenty of money to remain open. But if we think much deeper, and we look to the word of God, we will find that attendance and giving are not the only rubrics for church health. And while attendance, finances, and facilities are important, we cannot use them alone to identify a healthy church. A church can have great attendance and wonderful giving, but be spiritually filled with …

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