Highlights: the 200th Episode!
On September 4, 2019, the Replant Bootcamp podcast debuted with hosts Jimbo Stewart and Bob Bickford. The modern world of Replanting and Revitalization needed a great podcast, especially through all of the life changes that the years 2020-2022 brought us. COVID brought major challenges to the topic of declining churches, so the bootcamp did podcast episodes like, “Pastoring a Replant in a Pandemic,” “Reopening the Church Post-Covid-19,” and “Outreach During Covid.” And through the years, a major highlight of this podcast has been its practicality and helpfulness. We are thankful that our episodes are based on real-life experiences, and the hands-on work of this type of ministry.
With special guest Evan Skelton this episode looked back at some questions and highlights from almost 4 years of podcasting. Below, you’ll find some of those highlights summarized in this blog.
Increased Awareness and New Excitement about Replanting
Particularly in the past ten years, there has been an increased awareness and excitement about Replanting and Revitalization. Some of these notable changes were listed in an episode we did in January with Mark Clifton and Mark Hallock. In the SBC, this awareness has been heightened by a special emphasis on the Replant Initiative through the North American Mission Board. Every year, events like the Replant Summit and the AMS Practitioner Lab are designed to spur on the conversation, offer help to leaders and pastors, and continue the work of replanting dying churches.
Several books have also been published on these topics, which have helped continue generating feedback about this necessary work. To see these resources, check out our resource tab. On top of this, the SBC passed a resolution at this year’s convention, acknowledging the need for this important work, in a way that was agreed on by 12,000 in attendance.
In our modern culture, there is a great need for resources and modern technology. Websites like the Replant Hub have been produced to give some rural churches the help they need if they are without leaders and struggling in the areas of worship and preaching. Because the need for modernity is so immense, we are thankful to have friends like One-Eighty Digital, our branding partner and website producer. In today’s culture, we never thought we would be writing about the emergence of AI! We are also glad to be publishing blogs every Friday, that are based on the previous podcast episodes.
Development of Fostering Models
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in church fostering. Healthy churches are looking for ways to help by fostering, because sometimes there may be an issue of control. While some churches may not be willing to go the Replant option, churches are more open to the idea of receiving help from another church and loosening the reins while still having some sort of control.
This has led to the Church Fostering Manual, available through NAMB. We must consider any and all measures of activity to help reclaim dying churches and fostering is a less-invasive option for churches in different situations. While Replanting is more long-term, Fostering is a 3-5 year agreement with a loose grip of authority, and a stated goal of eventual autonomy.
Pathways to Partnership
Another new resource is the book Pathways to Partnership by our very own Bob Bickford and Mark Hallock. This book presents solutions to sending churches who express interest in joining the work of Replanting. The awareness and need for Replanting is growing, so pastors and leaders around our nation are asking, “How can I get my church involved to help a dying church in my community?”
Most of us know of a few churches around us that could use some additional help. While the task seems daunting, churches should see this as a mission opportunity, much like we would support church planting and international missions efforts. If there is a church that wants to Replant another church, they should check out the Replant Roadmap, by Mark Hallock.
Equipping and Training Development
Thankfully, replanting and revitalization is making its way into many of our colleges and seminaries.This year, Jimbo and Bob had opportunities to go and do workshops at Southwestern Seminary, Southern Seminary, and Southeastern Seminary.
Seminaries are following suit, recognizing the need. For example, this page on Southern Seminary focuses on a Doctorate of Ministry in Church Revitalization. It says, “Church revitalization is one of the greatest needs of modern day church ministries. A theologically robust and biblically saturated response is needed for churches on the decline. With so many churches closing their doors, the task of revitalization is vital for 21st century local church ministry.”
Some Must-Knows about Our Podcast
Use the Search Bar
If you are just joining us, and have some questions right off the bat, we encourage you to use the search bar on our website. In 200 episodes, we’ve been able to cover quite a bit of information, involving the practical aspects of church renewal. If you are looking for something in particular, use the search bar at the top of our page! If you search words like, “Dealing with conflict,” “Leading change,” “Business meetings,” or, “Godly character,” past episodes and blogs will pop up, related to your search. Highlights_ the 200th Episode!
We love to hear from our listeners and we are here for you! Feel free to reach out to our team and ask questions, start some dialogue, or just say hello. As Jimbo says at the start of every podcast, we are here with you, in the trenches, doing the gritty and glorious work of replanting dying churches. If you have ideas about future topics, feel free to reach out to us.
On a personal note, we want to thank you for stopping by every week to listen, read, and interact as we share our experiences in church replanting. We are moving forward and we encourage you to share with others about this boots-on-the-ground resource, for you.