Principles of Church Revitalization


From Embers To A Flame: Principles of Church Revitalization
by Harry L. Reeder III

1. God’s glory is revealed in our weaknesses.
2. Guard your reputation in the eyes of the community.
3. Uphold the centrality of God’s grace.
4. Leave the 99 to seek the 1 (church revitalization is seeking to save the church that is faltering).
5. Revisit to strengthen, encourage, correct and restore what is left.
6. Remember[1] from where you have fallen when Christ was leading this church.
7. Believe that the God who won the victory in the past will win the victory in the present.
8. Connect the future with past victories in Christ.
9. Repent[2] of failures in the past that controls the present.
10.  Leaders must be an example by repenting first of past failures, and then lead members to repent.
11.  Provide restitution for past sins. Ask forgiveness and make right where possible especially with those who left hurt and confused.
12.  Focus on Body health and let God handle the increase.
13.  Be faithful with little and God will give big. Do the right things at the right time in the right way for the right reasons.
14.  All biblical teaching is exploring the depth of the gospel. You never get beyond the gospel for it is the alpha and omega of God’s revealed truth in Scripture. You can only go deeper.
15.  All ministries must focus on the gospel of grace to be life changing.
16.  Prayer precedes revitalization and creates unity with God’s will. Prayer affords the privilege of participating in God’s reconciliation of His elect. Then, by faith act on your prayers.
17.  Make a list of all weaknesses and threats from Satan’s attacks and pray over this list regularly.
18.  Make a list of all Scriptures related to church revitalization and pray using the words of Scripture that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
19.  Pray thanking God for the opportunities presented by the bad that has beset your church.
20.  Make a list of all opportunities to do His will, then pray and see His power change the circumstances.
21.  Recover [3] the “First things,” get back to the basics that God blessed. Rebuild on these strengths.
22.  Godly leadership precedes God given church growth.
23.  Affirm what has been done well and identify weaknesses.
24.  Godly people follow godly leaders who follow Jesus and seek God’s glory.
25.  Resources follow Godly vision for ministry. Visualize a future blessed by God.
26.  Worship is the context in which the Great Commission operates. Do not replace worship for Christians with evangelism to “seekers.” Gather for worship, scatter for evangelism.
27.  Diversify evangelism efforts; multiply opportunities for gospel communication.
28.  Small group network is best way to assimilate new people and build community. Protect health of small group.
29.  Qualified leaders who present sound doctrine and are able to refute those who contradict it must lead small groups. Must avoid dialogue in small groups that leads to a compromise of truth or pluralism of ideas that accepts every opinion as valid. Scripture rightly interpreted must be central, then fellowship and prayer for “one another.”
30.  The Christian life is 100% dependence on God’s grace and 100% disciplined by grace.
31.  For a congregation to remain healthy church discipline must be exercised according to Matt. 18 on a regular basis. “Sin in the camp” must be confronted.
32.  A healthy Body of believers will grow as God adds those He wants discipled to maturity. Church growth is a natural by-product of spiritual health.

[1] Rev. 2:5 – Remember, Repent, and Recover is Jesus’ formula for revitalization.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Thoughts From a Dad

I was both saddened and excited by her email. Our daughter was away at college and as part of an assignment asked me to list the top five qualities that I would encourage her to look for in a spouse. My sadness stemmed from wishing we’d had this conversation sooner so that she didn’t even have to ask the question. Our kids could lead more secure and focused lives by having a clear response to this question firmly planted in their hearts as they transition from adolescence into adulthood. It didn’t take me long to respond. As the father of four children, I had intended to initiate this discussion many times, yet I never seemed to find the right moment – mostly because I was afraid that my thoughts might be perceived as manipulation. What excited me most about her email was knowing that my daughter is taking the time to cultivate her own criterion for relationships that are both healthy and holy.

Here’s my response:
1. That he share your love and passion for God. There must be a core values match in this area for a marriage partnership to flourish. My experience in ministry has taught me that couples can be unequally yoked even with other believers who do not share a parallel passion for pursuing God’s heart and ways.

2. That he be absolutely, totally, and utterly abandoned in his love and passion for you. Because you deserve it.

3. That he be able to support and even steer you toward the fulfillment of your divine destiny. To accomplish this he will need to appreciate your unique (albeit emerging) calling and spiritual gift-mix. This reflects the foundational purpose for our existence. In addition to the extraordinary opportunity for a growing friendship with God, we are invited to allow God to shape us and send us to serve humanity with wisdom, resolve, and anointing — which increases exponentially through regular affirmation and encouragement.

4. That, when he makes a mistake, it’s by giving, not by withholding. The old adage, “you can’t out-give God” is true. And remember, we don’t give to get — we give to get to give again.

5. That he would actively pursue mutually accountable relationships with other men. Most of the growth I have enjoyed has come through proactively pursuing mentoring and accountability. We all need people in our lives whom we have invited to ask us soul-searching questions – usually it’s about motives, money, and morality.

I love my children.  I may have learned more from them then they from me…