9Marks ministries has released their latest eJournal, and the subject matter of this month’s journal is, Revitalize: Why We Must Reclaim Dying Churches—and How. There is a story on a church that went through revitalization, articles on “Why revitalize?” and articles on “How to revitalize.” There are several really good articles on this subject. So, if you, as a pastor is thinking of revitalizing your church, you need to pay attention!
In his article, Be a Tortoise, not a Hare, Jeramie Rinne gives the personalities of 4 types of revitalizers:
- The Purist: “The Purist has strong theological convictions. He has been blessed with a clear biblical vision for church life and practice. He runs straight and true without deviating from the course. Unfortunately, he moves too fast for the congregation.”
- The Pragmatist: “The opposite extreme from the Purist, the Pragmatist will do ‘whatever works’ to get people into the church and keep them there. Nothing is out of bounds so long as it grows the church and doesn’t involve blatant immorality or obvious heresy.” Of course, questions remain such as, “Are people truly being converted by the gospel, repenting of sins and trusting in Christ?”
- The Copycat: “The Copycat shaves time by taking a short-cut: he merely replicates another church’s philosophy, programs, and structure in his own congregation. Why reinvent the wheel? Why not just buy the book, attend the conference, order the kit, and download the sermons from another successful church?”
- The Narcissist: “This final hare is perhaps the most dangerous. The Narcissist views church ministry through the lens of his own personal narrative. He sees congregational renewal and reform as the stage for acting out a self-centered script. Maybe he dreams of being the guy who helps the stodgy traditional church become cutting edge. Or perhaps he fancies himself an activist who confronts the complacent suburban church about engaging the poor.”
- The Uniquetist (my own): The Uniquetist (pronounced as unique-a-tist) is the person who wants to always be different. This person wants to be unique and will almost do anything not to be like anybody else. As a result, this person ends up forcing his church into that mould too. The result of this is that you have a church that no longer looks like a church, but a club in the world.
- The Listening-To-Godist (my own): The Listening-To-Godist’s view is that God is speaking endlessly and we must listen all the time, just in case we miss out on something. This pastor, or group of pastors, will, perhaps several times a year, go away for 2 or 3 days just to hear from God for the future. While this is admirable (wanting to know what God wants us to do), it also creates the idea that God may just change His mind from what He said 3 months ago. Is God so double-minded that he is going to change His mind every couple of months? Or, perhaps this person simply is not sure that he has heard God correctly the first time (or the second, third, fourth, . . . time).
I suggest you visit the eJournal for several articles that may just answer some of your questions.