October 19, 2018 • Adam Wyatt
Let’s be honest: it seems as if there are many churches—maybe even the majority—that are dying or, at the very least, in decline. Many churches are stagnant, fail to reach their community, and seem to be nothing more than retirement centers for people that claim to be saved. What is to be done in churches like this? Can anything be done?
If you are a pastor at a church like this, and many of us are, the Bible says much to us as we seek to bring new life into a church that seems to have little.
Preach The Word
First, a pastor of any church—healthy or unhealthy—has one major, crucial, job: to preach the word. This is not an overstatement or an oversimplification. We are to preach the word faithfully. If a church is to be healthy it must receive a steady diet of the word. If many churches are unhealthy, it stands to reason that many of them have had an anemic diet of the word. They have had many various issues that have created a culture where the word has not been preached, exposited, or nurtured. As a result, the churches are unhealthy.
Second, a pastor of any church—healthy or unhealthy—must realize that while plans do need to be made and while efforts of strategizing can be healthy, nothing can overcome an anemic diet of scripture. It is easy for pastors in a revitalization context to think that all they need to do is to simply “rebrand” the church, get a new logo, a new website, and change a few things and they will be ready for healthy and sustainable growth. This is a lie. If this was true, more churches would be healthy. What is needed, above all else, is proper, expository preaching from God’s word. Nothing will hinder your revitalization attempts more than poor preaching.
Trust The Sufficiency of Preaching
Third, pastors must trust that preaching of the word is sufficient in the revitalization of a church. Again, this is not to say that we should not make proper plans and attempt to “fix” things that are wrong within a church but we must understand that for true change and for things to truly be “fixed” we must take great care to properly preach the word of God. Nothing will “fix” what is broken like the word of God.
Churches need to be revitalized. Some churches are on the brink of closing and, worse, some churches are willing to die a death that will take decades. To combat this pastors, preach the word. Do not neglect this ministry. In revitalization contexts it is easy to get so burdened and busied by the overwhelming issues at hand. There will be time to address these. But you…you preach the word.