I’m writing this blog here in Cuba. As we’ve traveled around the country, we were saddened by the poverty and lack of freedom but encouraged by the power and humility of Christ’s church. During the three-day seminar, I met many bold church planters who are starting simple cell churches or house church networks. These warriors are changing the culture. They will be victorious because Jesus Christ, the head of the church, is fighting for them. I heard testimony after testimony of God’s power and provision to plant simple cell churches.
We enter into a church plant or pastoral ministry with a dream in mind. A prayerful set of God-honoring goals for what the church will give itself to and gradually become. But do we have an equally clear set of goals for who we are to become as we stare down the barrel of a new gospel work?
I believe in church revitalization. I’ve seen it happen, and I know it happens all over the country. Still, though, I’m convinced that some revitalization efforts will never work. Here’s why:
Having started and pastored a church for over ten years now, God has blessed me in allowing me learn many valuable lessons about ministry and leadership. Though I’ve been learning these convictions in the context of planting a church, these lessons still guide me as I lead our church into the next decade.
There has been much written on declining attendance in churches. Specifically, many of us have addressed the issue of attendance frequency where even “active” church members attend less frequently.
A need for revitalization does not necessarily mean an entire church is unhealthy. Even the healthiest of established churches have at least one area requiring work, if not several. Sometimes the entire church needs revitalization. In other cases, a particular area of the church needs revitalization.
Dirty. Crime ridden. Crowded. When asked about their impression of cities, this was the response I got from a group of ministry leaders called to urban church planting. While they embraced the vision of ministry to cities, they had yet to embrace a love for the city itself. An overwhelming majority of American evangelical Christians are from rural or suburban areas, which often influences their perspective on urban centers and the people who call these places home. No matter what a person’s background, it is important to recognize that urbanization is not a trend we can ignore if we’re concerned about the future of mission and the growth of the global church.
One of my clearest memories from my seven years in East Asia is lying inside a nomad tent, under a blue tarp, while rain gently drummed my entire body. I was alone—alone in the sense that there was no one like me for miles and miles around.
Baby yaks stirred within arms reach on one side, and a family of nomads with wild hair snored on the other. How did a girl from the suburbs of Minnesota get here? I thought.
Going to church, believe it or not, can be a controversial topic around the holiday season. Some of us go consistently each week, some of us used to go, and some of us have vowed to never walk through the halls of a church again.
Everyone comes from different families, cultures and backgrounds, and thus we all have different stories in this regard.
To my delight, my almost-2-year-old daughter has developed a love for The Lion King. It means I have an excuse to re-watch what is, for many reasons, one of my favorite movies.
The other day, an exchange between Simba and Rafiki stood out to me:
Simba: “Looks like the winds are changing.”
Rafiki: “Ahh. Change is good.”
Simba: “Yes, but it’s not easy.”
Good, but not easy. Isn’t that the truth?