Ed Stetzer on Church Revitalization, Part Two

Image: Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, serves as a dean at Wheaton College, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group. The Exchange team helped with this article. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.


In Part One, I talked about the types of renewal movements that can help revitalization. They can help, but they don’t always actually help. There’s an ingredient that has to be part of a renewal movement for it to move a church forward in revitalization: the renewal must lead to a renewed focus on reaching people.

For years, Rick Warren said, “It’s not about church growth, it’s about church health.” He’s right. But understand what he meant. In his view of church health, a healthy church reaches new, and non-Christian, people.

If you get a healthy church, it will grow, he argued, because healthy things grow. A healthy church, like a healthy fruit tree, will produce fruit like it. A healthy church is made up of Christians, and the fruit of a local church is more Christians.

What is church health? Basically, you’re revitalizing your leadership structure, you’re renewing spiritual formation, and a missional focus would be in that conversation. But you can’t leave out the fact that healthy churches are evangelistic churches.

However, in regards to church revitalization, sometimes evangelism gets omitted from the discussion. We all want to see renewal come to our churches. But not all renewal leads to reaching out. Remember, for a church to change, it takes two things: 1) wanting to change (the easy part) and 2) being willing to pay the price to change (not so easy).

It is obvious that a lot of church revitalization planning is built around the general idea of making the church better. We have to ask the question: If it doesn’t reach people, is it actually better?

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Source: Christianity Today