Some short notes on the need for churches to restart, and the difficulty of turning a church around.
New Life Chicago has had a lot of experience with restarts in the Chicago area. “New Life has had the privilege of adopting and restarting several historic churches in Chicago that date back over 100 years.” Take a look at a video that explains a little of their story.
The best book by far that I’ve read on turning around a church is From Embers to a Flame: How God Can Revitalize Your Church by Harry L. Reeder III. It’s got some substance and it manages to be practical and helpful without being technique-driven. They also have a ministry that’s worth checking out.
I received a few good emails. My friend Todd D. gave me permission to share his. I think he’s right on:
I have had some experience helping in various ways to plant seven churches in Canada in recent years. Five of those could be described as re-plants. In order for a re-plant to be successful there is one indispensable essential: humility. Until the leaders and people of an established and dying church are truly “broken” before God, it won’t happen.
As you said in one of the posts, we’re not talking about surface changes here. It goes deep. Most often we’re talking about changing the kinds of things with which Jesus challenged the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. You have to be completely humble to receive that.
Sadly, we don’t find a lot of humble people in dying churches. What we find are people tenaciously holding on to “their thing”.
But when we do find such humility, it is amazing to watch the transformation of a whole church…and there’s nothing like a church plant (or re-plant) for reaching the lost.