The KEY to Revitalization

I am currently posting highlights from Dr. Gary L. McIntosh’s recently published book aimed at Church Revitalization called There’s Hope for Your Church.  In the last post, we looked at 3 Reasons There Is Hope for Your Church. In this post, we’re going to examine the irreplaceable role that pastoral leadership plays when it comes to church revitalization. I agree with Dr. McIntosh when he says….

“In order for a church to be revitalized, the pastor is the key!”

In chapter two, McIntosh discusses consultant Ken Priddy’s belief that two types of pastors exist: a revitalization pastor and a revitalization leader. A revitalization pastor sees the church as his client while the revitalization leader sees God as his client. A revitalization pastor views himself as an employee of the church while a revitalization leader sees himself as being called by God to lead the church where God wants it to go. Revitalization leaders expect to encounter resistance and are willing to lead without affirmation and often with pain.

“For churches to transition into a new era of ministry, courageous, godly leadership is paramount.”  Terry Walling

One of the reasons that most pastors are not successful in bringing about revitalization is that they simply don’t stay long enough. The average tenure of a senior or solo pastor in the United States in 3.8 years. McIntosh says that it takes 5-7 years to revitalize a church in the city and 10-12 years to revitalize a rural church. The bottom line is that revitalization leaders stay!

McIntosh warns that it is possible for a pastor to stay too long. In his experience, if the church has not experienced revitalization within 10-12 years of the pastor’s tenure, it is not going to happen. Although there are exceptions, the average pastor’s ministry tends to lose momentum after 10 years. After 10 years, the original vision the pastor had for the church has most likely been accomplished, and then the church flounders, searching for a new direction. Some pastors are able to re-envision their life and ministry for another 10 years in the same church, but some cannot and find it best to move to another ministry.

Nehemiah Sermon Series

I’ve been preaching for about 32 years now and some books of the Bible have gone virtually untouched in my preaching. Until the beginning of 2012, that was true about the book of Nehemiah. I may have preached one or two sermons from Nehemiah through the years, but I’m not even certain of that. Last year I felt prompted to preach through the entire book of Nehemiah, but I wasn’t sure about the timing. I continued to pray about it and finally began the Nehemiah sermon series on January 1, 2012.

As anticipated,  Nehemiah is full of practical, Godly leadership principles. Nehemiah’s quest to lead the Jews to restore the crumbled walls and burned gates of Jerusalem in 52 days was one of the greatest leadership ventures in history. Did you know that originally Ezra & Nehemiah were on one scroll. Later when the Jews divided the scroll they called them 1 & 2 Ezra. The chronological setting for the Books of Ezra & Nehemiah stretches from 537-433 B.C.

Over the next weeks, I will continue to work through this great book. Here are links to the video of each of the sermons in this series: