It’s very easy to look at the condition of many churches and see the need for revitalization. When attendance is down, baptisms are down, and kingdom impact is down, revitalization is needed. Blaming society or culture is a non-productive cop-out.
As leaders in our local churches, God has given us a mission and it’s our job to lead our church to accomplish it. The mission is the leader’s burden before it can ever become the church’s burden. It is his vision from God long before it’s the church’s vision.
But simply having a burden and a mission and a vision isn’t enough—because by themselves, those things don’t get anything done. All they are is words hanging in the air until something actually gets done. In order for something to get done, a plan has to be made .
Here’s the order—God burdens the heart of a leader with the mission he wants to accomplish through his people. The leader sees the vision and casts the vision to God’s people. Then the leader begins to work with the people to plan the work that it will take to accomplish the mission.
But here’s the part that is often overlooked. After God gives the burden and before the plan is made, the leader should do three things.
Get some rest
The worst thing a leader can do is jump right in to planning. No matter how pressing the burden for revitalization might seem, don’t start to plan until you have a clear head. And you can’t have a clear head when you’re exhausted. God hardwired us with a need for rest. When we don’t rest, we’re rebelling against the way he made us. We’re telling God that he can’t do this without us. We need to have enough faith in God that we can rest in him even when the need for revitalization is urgent. When it comes time to plan the work that God has called you to do, do it with a rested mind.
Make it real
Is your burden real or is it theoretical? I know what the statistics tell me. I know what demographics tell me. I know what Ed Stetzer and LifeWay Research tell me. But what is my neighborhood telling me? It’s one thing to know that demographics tell you Millennials need Jesus. Do you actually know any? Your burden won’t really become real to you until you begin to experience the need for yourself. If your church needs revitalized, get outside and begin to feel the lost and dying community around you. Meet the people. Begin to find ways to share life with them. You can’t begin to craft a good plan until the mission is real to you.
Make it yours
Has God called you to pastor a church in need of revitalization? If he has, then you have to own it. It has to be yours. The calling is yours. The burden is yours. The responsibility to lead is yours. Leadership isn’t done by consensus. Leadership isn’t done by collaboration. Leadership isn’t done by majority rule. Good and godly leadership happens when God’s man feels God’s burden for God’s mission and begins to lead and influence and inspire God’s people to accomplish it. Now, I’m not talking about being a dictator. I’m talking about leadership. Somebody has to drive the bus. One time when Adrian Rogers was talking about headship in the home, he said that anything with no head is dead and anything with two heads is a monster. Leadership matters. Own it. Make it yours. And lead.
Now you’re ready to start planning for revitalization.