Tag: NAMB

EP 174 – THE IMPACT OF FORCED TERMINATION

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EP 174 - THE IMPACT OF FORCED TERMINATION
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Greetings Bootcampers!  The boys were living large in Texas while teaching a DMin Cohort at Southwestern Seminary. Today’s topic is an important one; The Impact of Forced Terminations on a Church. Check out the references in the show notes to learn more.  And leave your comments on the blog, email or the Bootcamp hotline.

Forced termination of a Pastor is defined as an involuntary dismissal from service, due to no fault or moral failure, or dereliction of duties on the part of a Pastor, brought about by a few within the local church.

  • Of all pastors, 23-41% will experience a forced termination at least once in their career
  • In 2012, a Lifeway survey, in partnership with Baptist State Convention leaders, a panel identified 452 pastors and staff members who succumbed to a non-voluntary or non-self-initiated separation from the church they served.
  • It is estimated that over the years of their vocational service, four out of ten pastors will be forced out of their church by firing or some sort of pressure that leads to their eventual resignation.

When a Pastor is terminated without cause, it is often a prediction point in the history of a church, it is the place where steep, prolonged, and sustained decline begins. It is the marker under which many dysfunctions are buried.

  • Where Pastors were forced out, 34-45% of those congregations had simmering divisions and internal conflict that predated the Pastor’s arrival.
  • 23% of the congregations who forced terminated a pastor had done the same with previous pastors.
  • 2/3 of the congregations who forced termed a Pastor did so within the first five years of his tenure.
  • The top reasons cited for conflict leading to a forced separation: Conflict for control among groups in the church 68%, congregational stress 43%, values/directional conflict between Pastor and some people in the church 27%

We often think of how a forced termination impacts the Pastor and his family. We may not think deeply enough about the impact of these actions on the local church.

David Meyers, a retired Director of Missions from Chattanooga TN states: What forced termination does to the soul of the congregation is significant in and of itself, but the practical, logistical impact is also significant. The church may lose members who are unhappy with what has occurred or how it was done. The loss of financial support may result from membership decline or withholding money. The name and reputation of the church is marred in the community and beyond. Hesitant, reserved, or negative recommendations of the church are given to prospective new ministers for that church. Many ministers are reluctant to consider relocation to a church that terminated its previous minister(s).

What can be done for the church caught in this act or pattern?

  • Address the wrongs committed to Pastors and their families who were undeserving of a forced termination. Repent and publicly apologize and make restitution where appropriate.
  • Remove those who were involved in or instigated unfounded and unreasonable forced terminations from leadership positions within the church.
  • Address informal campaigns to force a pastor out through biblically based and bylaw-supported church discipline.
  • Make careful note of the actions taken above in the minutes of a Church business meeting so that the record may show these actions will not meet with approval.

Check out these resources on forced termination:

  [1] https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/news/pastoral-termination-common-but-oftern-avoidable-experts-say/

[2] Musical Pulpits, Baker Publishing Group, 1992. Rodney J. Crowell pg.25, 66

[3] https://ministeringtoministers.org/2017/12/forced-termination-affects-churches-too/

[4] https://www.sbc.net/resource-library/resolutions/resolution-on-the-forced-termination-of-ministers/

 

 

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Should we Revitalize or Replant?

Is there a one-size-fits-all approach to helping a dying church gain new life again? Or an instant formula that works every time? Unfortunately, no book you read on these topics will give you a predictable outcome for every situation. There are simply too many variables for a church’s factors of decline. And no two Revitalizations or Replants will be identical.

Conflict arises, culture changes, bad leadership exists, and churches sometimes fall out of touch with their community. Every church has glory days and difficult days. But if you’re reading this right now, it’s probable that you might be considering options for your church, or curious on what might be the best approach.

The Need for Church Renewal

When I first started working with dying or plateaued churches, I was overwhelmed at how many resources there were. In the past few decades, the need has become increasingly great for revitalization, because of the multitude of churches closing their doors.

The need for church renewal is urgent, and perhaps that’s why so many have turned to outside help for keeping their church alive. But there can be confusion on the language of so many books, programs, and resources. While revitalization is sometimes helpful, it’s not likely to work in every situation. 

With a huge stack of books on my desk, I started getting overwhelmed. I am still new to Associational work and needed some training on what to do with some of our churches who were facing closure and looking for answers. So, I attended a Replant training by NAMB earlier this year. Now, in a very rural setting with only 15 churches in our association, we have one church in Revitalization, one church in a Partnership Replant, and one church seeking to plant a church that died almost 10 years ago. 

There’s been confusion on the difference between Replanting and Revitalization. While there is some overlap, they are two different processes. Replanting is a form of Revitalization, but not every Revitalization is a Replant. So, what’s the difference?

Revitalization Defined

Church Revitalization is a deliberate, dedicated and protracted effort to reverse the decline or death of an existing church. Revitalization uses an existing church, with existing leadership, structures and history, but gives a renewed effort by addressing critical issues. 

Many choose this approach because it requires less change up front, and seems to be less invasive than other options. When church members are not ready for drastic change, they opt for this approach (if they opt for any at all). It can use an existing pastor and the pace of change is normally slow.

But there is some caution to Church Revitalizations. They’re less likely to lead to lasting change and more likely to be a continuation of the same, and for churches who are facing imminent closure, success is slim to none. In this situation, Revitalization may be possible, but it’s not probable.

However, God is more than able to do anything with any church for his glory. Some churches have experienced great success with Revitalization. 

How Revitalization Plays Out

After some conversations within a church, a church leader may either seek to be revitalized using their own congregation by suggesting a number of changes over a period of time to regain missional vitality and growth. The Church may address symptoms of the issues, but not causes. Sometimes, churches use outside help like a local Association or another ministry leader or team. 

In a traditional church, those suggestions normally go through teams or committees and need to be agreed on by the majority of the congregation. More organizational approaches see timelines and financial costs involved. A church leader may try a new methodology to doing ministry, but it sometimes gets pushback. 

According to a study by Thom Rainer, the estimated success rate of this type of revitalization is only 2%. But if there is a spiritually-binding covenant of agreement involved, its success rate is much higher. For churches facing closure, a more drastic approach may be needed to survive. As Bob mentioned in Ep. 1 of the Replant Bootcamp podcast, some churches have gone so far, they need a whole system reboot.

RePlanting

Replanting is a decision to close an existing church and re-launch as a new church, with new leadership (pastor), new name, new identity, new governance, new ministry approach and overall new philosophy of ministry. In some cases, it is not necessary to adopt a new name but simply to adjust it.

Replanting builds on the history of the previous church, but requires new leadership. A new identity can create enthusiasm and interest in the surrounding community. So a church that needs to Replant is one that does not have the time, energy, or resources to continue as their same church. 

Under this umbrella term, a RePlant can be done a few different ways: 

  • Replant Within: A Replant team is chosen out of the congregation under a Replant Pastor, and that team works together to relaunch as a new church.
  • Assisted Replant: Another healthy church partners with a dying church to provide leadership, accountability, and structure to Replant a Church.

Example

Thirty years ago, (Name) Baptist Church used to have about 200 in average worship attendance. They had an active Brotherhood, a WMU, children and youth programs, and lively worship. As they began to outgrow their facility, they decided to use their budget to begin building a larger sanctuary.

Through multiple conflicts involving prominent families and infighting about theological disputes, a group inside the church felt that their ministry staff wasn’t leading well. A large group of them wanted to separate and join another church. Others wanted to start a church of their own in a different location.

A large split happened. As a result, thirty years later a group of older members had done all they could to keep their church surviving. But without the giving they once had, their finances were quickly dwindling, and nothing they tried could reach a younger audience. Their reputation in the community was broken.

They grew tired of ministering, serving, and sharing the gospel after working so hard for so long. To make it worse, they couldn’t afford to pay a pastor anymore, so he eventually left. A long-time deacon went to the local association for help and their leader helped them consider some options.

All Things New

Another church closer to town wanted to help the church by restarting a new church in that location. Seeing that there was no way to remain open, the congregants decided to close as (Name) Baptist Church. They worked with another church’s leadership as they watched the church they once knew relaunch as a new church. 

During that time of closure, a new worship team and Replant pastor were introduced, a new mission and vision for ministry was birthed, new documents involving governance and membership were printed, and a new direction for the church on the horizon. 

Now, (New) Baptist Church has a different mission field. As they began to grow, baptisms and giving have increased, and they have plenty of space to meet in their sanctuary.  Their reputation in the community is restored, and their identity has changed.

Similarities in Need

This may sound like an awesome example. But it’s just that, an example. While many churches have experienced new growth and success with Replanting, it can’t always be guaranteed. But whether your church decides on Revitalization or Replanting, both have similar needs:

  • Both require time, energy, and effort
  • Both require a renewed spiritual commitment
  • Both require a high receptivity of change

As a final word of encouragement, Remember that God is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20). We need that confident assurance during this type of work. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your local Association, Convention, or NAMB for help with leadership, advice, counsel and care. Doing the task of Replanting or Revitalizing alone can be a lonely road. But Jesus cares deeply about the health of his local church.

If you think your church is in danger of closing, take this church health assessment. This self-assessment is meant to help assist you in determining the current state of your local church. Another way to get started is by taking an introductory course that will help anyone understand what church replanting is and how it provides hope for dying churches.

EP 155 – REPLANT SUMMIT 2022 REVIEW

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EP 155 - REPLANT SUMMIT 2022 REVIEW
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Let’s get right to it, the boys break down some of the key insights from the 2022 Replant Summit held in Alpharetta at The North American Mission Board.  Also, a challenge has been issued to take on the hosts from Revitalize and Replant to a 2 on 2 hoops contest!

Now, on to the Summit insights.

  • Mark Clifton reminded us why we have doubts and the answer is a person named Jesus.
  • Brian Croft reminded us that the call to Pastor is a call to die a little each day for the sake of the flock.
  • Jordan Raynor reminded us to go to the author of time about how to manage time And he also reminded us to close our open loops.
  • Min Lee reminded us that God overcomes obstacles by using the body of Christ
  • Mark Hallock reminded us you teach what you know but you reproduce who you are!
  • Frank Lewis reminded us that we are carriers of hope through what we preach and who we are
  • Bob Bumgarner reminded us that we need each other, we are not to Pastor alone
  • Nick Ian Carter let us in worship, check out his music

You can listen to all the great presentations here: 2022 Replant Summit or sign up for the Replant Hub and watch them there

Did you attend the Summit? We’d love to hear from you. If you are considering Replanting we’d love for you to join us at Southern Seminary, October 28-29, 2022 for Am I a Replanter?

 

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EPISODE #77 – EVALUATING YOUR CALL PT.2

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EPISODE #77 - EVALUATING YOUR CALL PT.2
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The boys are back picking up where they left off-talking transitions in ministry, specifically how Jimbo became a “denominational guy” and why. Check it out as we discuss the importance of learning, serving and letting God lead you on a journey in ministry.

How did you begin the path to becoming a denominational man?

  • There was a key moment when I remember my passion quickening after having a conversation and helping a local pastor.
  • Networking and Partnership has always been important to me and something that I practiced from the early days of ministry.
  • I contacted my Association as soon as I moved to Florida and said I’m here to learn and serve.
  • I began to ask my Associational Leader questions about Replanting and Revitalization, all the time!
  • I had the idea and passion to help others not make the mistakes and experiencing the pain I had as a Replanter.
  • My Associational Leader saw that passion and drive and gave me the opportunity to serve.

How did you decide you need to make the switch and transition out of Pastoring a local Replant?

  • I realized my church needed someone who could give more than I was able to give
  • The church needed someone with a different skill set who could take the church to a new place.
  • It was the obvious next step to me and confirmed by those around me.

An important question to ask: Are you willing to do the work (serve other pastors, churches) with no pay and little recognition?

(From Jimbo’s Mentor) There are three kinds of denominational leaders

  • They one who sees his position and as a promotion and believes he has arrived-and is immediately irrelevant.
  • The one who sees his position as a way to end or retire-and is immediately irrelevant.
  • The one who has a passion to serve pastors and churches with everything he has-be that guy.

Learn to be content with the pace of your ministry and the pace of your ministry and let God direct both.

 

Raising Up Replanters (vintage edition) 199.99

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EP #42 THE THINKING OF A REPLANTER: VISIONARY SHEPHERD, ORGANIZATIONAL AWARENESS, TACTICAL PATIENCE

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EP #42 THE THINKING OF A REPLANTER: VISIONARY SHEPHERD, ORGANIZATIONAL AWARENESS, TACTICAL PATIENCE
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The guys are back talking about the characteristics present in Replanters.  Listen as they break down stories of the bacon-y greatness of Shoney’s Breakfast Buffet, and the important characteristics of Replanters.

 

Visionary Shepherd: “A Visionary Shepherd has the ability to sense and see God’s next steps for a congregation and the capacity to lead the church forward as a loving shepherd. He is patient, wise, strategic, and relational.”

 

Organizational Awareness: A replanter with Organizational Awareness is adept at understanding how power dynamics work within the church, anticipating how changes would be received, recognizing where change may produce friction, and showing an awareness of how current practice and changes affected their position within the community in which they served.

 

Tactical Patience:Tactical patience is the ability to skillfully implement change at a pace that is appropriate to a specific congregation’s health and needs. It is about having the discernment of knowing when something must be changed and how it should be changed.

 

For an example of a lapse of organizational awareness listen to EP #20 “How not to change the name of a Replant.”

 

Book Recommendations for these Characteristics

 

Embers to a Flame by Harry Reeder III

Leading Major Change In Your Ministry by Jeff Iorg

 

Fun Links

 

Shoney’s Restaurant

Send Jimbo some Wright Brand Bacon

 

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Episode #4 – When and How to Change Bylaws and Other Documents (Boots on the Ground Question from Wesley Lassiter)

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Episode #4 - When and How to Change Bylaws and Other Documents (Boots on the Ground Question from Wesley Lassiter)
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In this episode, Bob and JimBo discuss a boots-on-the-ground question sent in by Wesley Lassiter.

When is too soon to change the bylaws and other docs in a replant?

A lot of the answer will depend on the nature of a replant. Often in a replant as a campus or merger the legal documents will change very early in the process. This still needs to be walked with wisdom though.

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Episode #3 – How NOT to Lead Facility Changes

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Episode #3 - How NOT to Lead Facility Changes
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In this episode, Bob and JimBo start a new segment called, ‘Stupid Stuff We Did and Survived’. JimBo will share a few stories of how he unwisely led facility changes. We invite you to laugh at us and with us during this episode. Hopefully, you will be encouraged and challenged as well.

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Episode #2 – Advice for Replanting Residents and Rookies (with Boots on the Ground Guest Jesse Peters)

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Episode #2 - Advice for Replanting Residents and Rookies (with Boots on the Ground Guest Jesse Peters)
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In this episode Bob and JimBo are joined by BOOTS ON THE GROUND GUEST Jesse Peters from Ebenezer Baptist Church in Henderson, NC. Jesse is helping start a replanting residency at his church and wanted to know what advice we would have for replanting residents and rookies.

Replanting is not easy work, but it also isn’t super complicated.

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Episode #1 – What is the Difference Between a Replant and a Revitalization?

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Episode #1 - What is the Difference Between a Replant and a Revitalization?
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In this episode, Bob and JimBo discuss and define terms. This is one of the questions we get the most. What is the difference between a replant and a revitalization.

Replanting is a form of revitalization. Every replant is a revitalization, but not every revitalization is a replant.

REVITALIZATION = existing church + existing leaders + existing structure + history or legacy + renewed/new effort (over a protracted period of time)

REPLANT = new qualified/skilled leader + existing people + new structures/approaches + outside partners + new people + history

Want to read more? Check out this blog post

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