Sunday, August 30, 2009

Replanting churches? defines replanting: “To plant (something) again or in a new place…” In a church replant, a church avoids permanent death by recognizing it will no longer flourish unless conditions are drasticallychanged to facilitate growth.

Here are some facts about churches in the USA:
1) 3,500 churches in the USA close every year.
2) 80% of all churches are in decline.

Can anything be done to stop these closures or to reverse the decline? Of course there is!

I have heard that it is easier to birth a baby then raise the dead. So....why would anyone try to revive a dying church?

There are 2 good answers:

1) Because there are people in the church that God cares about. These people are probably the most faithful and have been praying for some type of renewal.

2) Because with God's can be done. It's not easy...but it is possible. Just ask my brothers in Nigeria about people raising from the dead : )
The process begins with a primary vision carrier - much like a typical church planter. The replanter however must have some additional skill sets. You see, they must be able to reorganize and pastor without the help of a core team that are excited about the "new" church. Typically, a replant consists of a leader and some people but people who are somewhat burned out. The excitement of church...has gone.

The replanter must make tough decisions. I liken these decisions to that of a triage nurse - there are things that need immediate attention and there other items that can wait. Most people would try the "turn the ship slowly" rule. I would recommend making tough decisions quicker rather than slower. Dont worry about losing people. Do what you are lead to do as the leader! The smaller the group, the faster you can make changes! Small groups that have been around for a period of time usually need quick change so that life can take place once again.

Note on change: Dont make unneeded changes based solely on your personal preferences. There should be a reason for change. If you can't clearly articulate it and it's value, put it on the back burner.

Friday, August 7, 2009

People Will Leave.....

People will leave your church. The majority of your core group (typically 80%) will not be with you in 2 years. This is just how it is! As leaders, we need to understand....even expect this to happen. Steve Sjogren calles these people "scaffolding" in one of his books - Community of Kindness. It seems as God sends people in for a season in order to help get things going. Then for some reason or another, they leave.

There are many reasons for a person to leave. Some are legitimate such as a calling to another area, or a return to a sending church. Some reasons are selfish in nature. Some people will stay as long as the church is small. Once they see growth, they bail. Some will go quietly and others will go crazy and try and bring others out. Some will talk to you about their leaving....some people will leave and then talk about you : )

If you are like might take it personally and wonder what you may have done or said to make them want to leave. But I believe we should expect this to happen and when people leave, we should bless their departure and thank them for their contribution to the church plant. Dont beat yourself up with doubts and dont try and keep someone who is determined to leave. By all means, NEVER promote someone to leadership in order for them to stay. This will only lead to problems down the road. Take the high road and bless them and get on with the ministry that God has called you.