|Hope for Creating Healthy Churches…
Thom Rainer, the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, has done a lot of research over the years regarding the health of churches across our nation. In spite of the statistics about congregations across North America, he continues to be an optimist about churches being revitalized as evidenced in his ongoing research and observations. In studying the leaders of these churches who have had turnaround experiences, Rainer observed that in almost every case the pastor embodied seven key traits that led to their churches’ turnaround. Here are the seven factors he identifies:
“1. These pastors faced reality. They looked at the current condition of the church. They likely did an informational historical survey of attendance trends. They refused to put their heads in the sand.
2. They became leaders of hope. They looked at Biblical truth regarding possibilities. They communicated that hope to their congregations. They truly believed all things are possible through God, including the revitalization of seemingly dying churches.
3. These pastors adopted a long-term perspective. They likely did not make some type of public declaration of their intent, but they did begin leading as if they were going to be at their current church for around 10 years. Most of them admitted that they did not want to close the door if they sensed God’s leadership elsewhere, but they led as if they were going to be around for a while.
4. They led incrementally. Because they had a long-term perspective, they were willing to lead in a way that the congregation could manage. It was not at the speed the pastors desired, but it was healthy for the churches.
5. They learned how to deal with critics and setbacks. Most of these pastors determined that they would deal with challenging issues in a positive way. Many of them had their own inner processes developed to deal with critics.
6. The pastors developed their own intentional outward focus. Many of them admitted they had become inwardly focused, so they started intentionally getting out in their communities. A number of them became highly intentional about sharing their faith on a regular basis.
7. They led their churches to an outward focus. These pastors began to lead their churches beyond their own walls. More energy and time were devoted to connecting with their communities and beyond. The congregations became Great Commission churches in action, not just in theory.”
As pastors and leaders in the church we know it is the power of the Holy Spirit that ultimately transforms and revitalizes a community of believers to create a healthy church. Let’s continue to be encouraged where we find pastors and leaders who create an attitude and culture of hopefulness and new possibilities in the churches where we serve Jesus.
– Wayne Van Regenmorter
11: Conference Call, Office
12: Go-To-Meeting Executive Team of Synod of Mid-America
13: Meeting/Bourbonnais, IL
14: Meeting/Living Springs Community Church/Glenwood, IL
16: Travel to Florida for Meetings
17: Worship/Congregational Vision Meeting/Reformed; Community Church/Venice, FL
18: KEZ Meeting/Calvary Reformed Church/Orland Park, IL; Travel to St Louis for Meetings
19: Meetings in St Peters, MO/Ferguson, MO
20: Transformed and Transforming Training Meeting/Grand Rapids, MI
21: Wisconsin Classis Meeting/New Life Community Church/Milwaukee, WI
24: Sunday Worship
25: Memorial Day
Wayne’s contact information:
10088 Prairie Knoll Ct.
St. John, IN 46373
Mobile: (941) 302-1281