After living in nine cities, Richmond, Va., had the best city planning by far. Before a new neighborhood or apartment complex could be built, studies were done to determine success potential. Professionals identified all the infrastructure that had to precede it. There must be widened roads with curbs, new stop lights, utilities run underground, and every lot staked out. Schools were built or expanded. A church plant to which I belonged was one of the first in an area being developed. When eventually homes or other buildings went in, traffic flowed better than ever. Families had infrastructure that supported them. The area became a boom town.
And that’s how it should be with church revitalization.
Church revitalization requires faith! Planning requires an active faith in God and faithful planning that honors God. In Exodus we read that the entire Egyptian Army was closing in on the Hebrews fleeing from bondage. Matters were urgent and the people knew it! God told Moses to stop standing there by the Red Sea. He was to hold out his staff and start moving. When Moses pointed the way, then God parted the waters and all the Hebrews left Egypt behind on dry ground. (See Exodus 14:16)
Which comes first? Where do you start?
Bill Hounshell has been working with several CABA churches. He’s had some early “wins” by helping them understand their community and its potential. For instance, he identified one church that wanted to wait until they had kids to update their area for kids.
“Many churches will do it when it happens,” Bill said, “instead of getting it ready to happen.”
Don’t be afraid to conduct a study of your community. CABA, through a license with the SCBO, can provide MissionInsight demographics of your church’s community. Take the clue from Georgia Baptists. They did a study among churches that showed those with evangelism plans dramatically increased baptisms. The community stat report is provided by CABA at no cost to your church. The need for planning is also why CABA offers Facility Assessments and Mystery Guests.
No Place Left training includes an opening session on Vision. Vision includes Brutal Facts and Urgency. If you’re looking toward revitalization for your church, then look at reality and wake your folks to the growing army of lostness! Those far from Jesus are coming after Christians in the Cincinnati Area through legislation, busyness, eroding biblical values, and ungodly entertainment options. Hold up the vision God gives you and get moving in faith.
Resources are available from CABA in many forms like MissionInsight and also include coaching from Brad Cunningham (firstname.lastname@example.org), Bill Hounshell (email@example.com), and the GC3 Summit Pastor’s Conference, April 20, at Clough Pike Baptist. The theme this year is “reVITALize!”
--Mark Snowden serves as Director of Missional Leadership for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association