Pastor is Key
The Pastor as the physical & spiritual leader of a local congregation is the key element in both church health deterioration and/or revitalization. It is critical that the pastor realize this to be true!
Throm Rainer has said that nine of ten churches in American are declining, or they are growing slower than their community and he says that the pastor is a major contributor to the failure to revitalize.
I would state it a different way and say the pastor is the key player in church health. Rainer mentions the following four reasons (my order not his) for this failure.
1. Pastor fails to focus on corporate prayer
2. Pastor does not emphasize or have a membership/discipleship class.
3. Pastor fails to encourage/have outward/evangelistic focus.
4. Pastor spends to much time placating critics or naysayers!
The above is why I say that the pastor is key to church health, both physical & spiritual.
By physical, I mean the practical decisions, human activities and church organizational structure such as the decision to implement or not the four reasons above and by spiritual, I mean prayer both corporate and personal and also the Biblical (Word of God) foundation and work of the Holy Spirit.
In most cases, if not all, the church revitalization effort is a combination of both physical & spiritual activities. However I will attempt to break them apart to show how the pastor is the KEY in the implementation of a plan to restore Church health.
The pastor can can usually start casting a vision for church revitalization through personal and corporate prayer, plus implement membership/discipleship and evangelism programs as well as a personal decision not to focus on the critics and naysayers, but on revitalization.
The pastor in most churches has the freedom to initiate most of the above initiatives as they build unity with staff and the key church leadership on developing a formal plan for church revitalization and renewal.
It is my recommendation the pastor spend time in mediation and prayer for direction and discernment as they implement the above initiative. Start as soon as possible with staff and church leaders such as elders, deacons, etc to build unity in creating a vision, mission statement, strategy, and implementation plan for this revitalization effort.
Every step be bathed in prayer and reliance on the power of God’s Word and Holy Spirit to be carried out, however it also requires the physical element of a decision and commitment to implement this program (physical element).
Based on the condition of the local congregation, this can be done in parallel. While the pastor is building unity in church leadership and changing the direction of church, the pastor is casting a vision in corporate prayer and public comments while implementing a preaching/teaching program & initiate a discipleship program to build a solid Biblical/spiritual foundation with the people of the church. START TODAY!
The pastor needs to use every occasion to caste the vision in his prayers, conversation, preaching/teaching, and discipleship program and all other elements possible to continue to reinforce the elements of church health!
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