Church Legacy / Restart / Turnaround
Very little has been written on the subject of restarts / relaunching. Slightly more literature has been written on turnaround churches, but the pool of resources are very limited. This tutorial provides some basics and explains the differences between relaunching / restarting and renewing / turnaround.
Why do churches face these tough decisions in the first place?Everything under the sun has a season, including the local church. As we read in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,
We live at a time when more churches are either stagnant or dying than are being started or growing. Such a time as this for change. The church is called to be the light of the world and to live out the Great Commandment (love God, love people) and the Great Commission (reach the lost, grow disciples). God does not intend for His church to be powerless in the community.
When a church's leadership team becomes convicted that things must change, the first step is most often to consider questions like "how do we turn things around...how do we revitalize...how do we change our culture...how do we get our members taking ownership...how do we become more relevant...how do we become more outreach focused...how do we grow?" In some cases, churches decide the best thing for the Kingdom is to shutdown and use the church's assets to start a brand new work (a new church plant).
Options to Consider
The church leaders are faced with at least four options:
Leveraging Your StrengthsIn discerning the best path for your church, start with an inventory of your strengths. What do you do really well? What are your best assets (e.g. facilities, location, equipment, leaders, key community influencers attending, etc)? Make a list. Be candid. This assessment should identify your strengths as the average church leader in your community, state or nation would see them...not as you see them relative to yourself. For example, you may feel that your leadership team is one of your relative strengths when in fact it is weak compared with the average healthy growing church. On the other hand, you may own a facility is one of the best locations in town...by anyone's standards including many businesses that would pay top dollars for your property. Call this a strength if it would be broadly recognized by the average person as a strength.
Facing up to Your Weaknesses
Do the same inventory with your weaknesses as you did with your strengths.
Making a Decision
No matter what path of change you take (option 1 through 4 above), trust that God wants to do a new thing in you. The question becomes "how does God want to use us to do a new thing?" Look hard at your strengths and weaknesses. Pray. Check your motives. What is driving your decision making? What is the likelihood of success? Is there broad and compelling ownership / buy-in by your key decision makers for the path being chosen? What will the different options cost to do them effectively? Are you willing to make the investment? Do you have the right leadership (the toughest question you will face)? Are you relying on your leadership to perform at a level markedly above where they've been in the past?
Church Legacy Solutions - Great resource for churches choosing option 1 above.
Leading Turnaround Churches - Great resource for churches choosing option 4 above.
Article on "Restarting a Dead Church" - Good resource for churches choosing options 2 and 3.
North American Missions Board Presentation - Good resource for churches choosing options 2 and 3.
copyright 2005 Church Planting Solutions