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What is Church Revitalization and Why Does it Matter? Discover Biblical Keys to Helping Your Church Come Alive Again[^1^]

Revitalize: Biblical Keys to Helping Your Church Come Alive Again

Is your church in need of revitalization? Do you long to see your church grow in health, holiness, and mission? If so, you are not alone. Many churches today are struggling to survive, let alone thrive. But there is hope. God is able to revitalize his church by his grace and power.

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In this article, we will explore the book Revitalize: Biblical Keys to Helping Your Church Come Alive Again by Andrew M. Davis, a pastor and professor who has experienced firsthand the challenges and joys of church revitalization. We will learn what church revitalization is, why it matters, and how it can be achieved by following biblical principles and practices.

What is Church Revitalization?

Church revitalization is the process of restoring a once healthy church from a present level of disease to a state of spiritual health, as defined by the Word of God. It is not merely a matter of increasing numbers, programs, or budgets. It is a matter of recovering the gospel, the glory of Christ, and the power of the Spirit in the life of the church.

Church revitalization is necessary and noble because Jesus is zealous for the ongoing revitalization of his church in every age. Revelation 13 shows us that Jesus walks among his churches, evaluates their condition, commends their strengths, exposes their weaknesses, calls them to repentance, and promises them rewards. He loves his church and wants it to be healthy and fruitful.

Why Does Church Revitalization Matter?

Church revitalization matters for at least three reasons:

  • It matters for the glory of God. God is glorified when his people worship him in spirit and truth, when they love one another as he has loved them, when they proclaim his gospel to the lost, and when they make disciples of all nations. A healthy church displays the beauty and excellence of God's character and works.

  • It matters for the good of God's people. God's people benefit from being part of a healthy church that feeds them with sound doctrine, nurtures them with godly fellowship, equips them for ministry, protects them from error and sin, and sends them out on mission. A healthy church edifies and multiplies God's people.

  • It matters for the witness of God's kingdom. God's kingdom advances when his church shines as a light in the world, when it serves as a salt in the society, when it testifies to the grace and truth of Christ, and when it demonstrates the reality and power of the gospel. A healthy church impacts and transforms its community and culture.

How Can Church Revitalization Be Achieved?

Church revitalization can be achieved by following biblical keys that have been proven by history and experience. In his book Revitalize, Andrew M. Davis summarizes fourteen biblical keys for church revitalization that he applied in his own ministry at First Baptist Church of Durham, North Carolina. These keys are:

  • Embrace Christ's ownership of the church.

  • Rely on God's empowering grace.

  • Boldly preach Christ crucified.

  • Humbly follow Christ's chosen leaders.

  • Pursue biblical unity at all costs.

  • Maintain biblical standards for membership.

  • Empower godly men as deacons.

  • Cultivate meaningful membership through mutual accountability.

  • Prioritize corporate prayer.

  • Faithfully practice church discipline.

  • Fervently evangelize the lost.

  • Multiply disciples through small groups.

  • Mobilize members for ministry according to their gifts.

  • Plant new churches locally and globally.

Embrace Christ's Ownership of the Church

The first and foundational key to church revitalization is to embrace Christ's ownership of the church. The church does not belong to us, but to him. He is the head, the builder, the shepherd, and the bridegroom of the church. He purchased the church with his own blood. He knows every detail of the church's condition and history. He has the right to do whatever he pleases with his church.

Therefore, we must submit to his authority and follow his commands. We must seek his glory and not our own. We must trust his wisdom and not our own. We must depend on his power and not our own. We must align our vision and values with his word and not our own preferences or traditions. We must love his church as he loves it.

Rely on God's Empowering Grace

The second key to church revitalization is to rely on God's empowering grace. We cannot revitalize the church by our own strength or skill. We need God's grace to work in us and through us. Grace is not only God's undeserved favor, but also his enabling power. Grace is what saves us, sanctifies us, and equips us for ministry.

Therefore, we must humble ourselves and acknowledge our need for God's grace. We must pray fervently and ask for God's grace. We must preach faithfully and depend on God's grace. We must serve joyfully and celebrate God's grace. We must resist sin and temptation and rely on God's grace. We must remember that God's grace is sufficient for us and his power is made perfect in our weakness.

Boldly Preach Christ Crucified

The third key to church revitalization is to boldly preach Christ crucified. The gospel of Christ is the power of God for salvation and transformation. The gospel is what brings people from death to life, from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom, from guilt to forgiveness, from wrath to peace, from enmity to reconciliation, from curse to blessing, from shame to glory.

Therefore, we must preach Christ crucified in every sermon and every situation. We must preach Christ crucified as the center of Scripture, the climax of history, the hope of the world, and the joy of our hearts. We must preach Christ crucified as the only way, the truth, and the life. We must preach Christ crucified as both Lord and Savior, both King and Lamb, both Judge and Advocate.

Humbly Follow Christ's Chosen Leaders

The fourth key to church revitalization is to humbly follow Christ's chosen leaders. Christ has appointed pastors and elders to lead, teach, and shepherd his church. They are his gifts to the church, his under-shepherds, his ambassadors, and his stewards. They are accountable to him for their doctrine and conduct, and they will give an account for the souls of those under their care.

Therefore, we must respect and honor them as God's servants. We must obey and submit to them as they follow Christ and his word. We must pray for them and support them in their ministry. We must protect them from false accusations and divisive factions. We must learn from them and imitate their faith.

Pursue Biblical Unity at All Costs

The fifth key to church revitalization is to pursue biblical unity at all costs. Unity is essential for the health and mission of the church. Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples, so that the world may know that he was sent by the Father. The apostles exhorted the churches to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The early church was marked by a unity of heart and mind, of doctrine and practice, of love and service.

Therefore, we must strive for unity in the essentials of the faith, and allow for liberty in the non-essentials. We must avoid quarrels over disputable matters, and seek peace with all people. We must forgive one another as God has forgiven us, and bear with one another in love. We must cultivate a culture of grace and truth, of humility and gentleness, of patience and kindness.

Maintain Biblical Standards for Membership

The sixth key to church revitalization is to maintain biblical standards for membership. Membership is not a human invention, but a biblical implication. The New Testament assumes that every believer is a member of a local church, where they are known, loved, taught, served, disciplined, and sent. Membership is a covenant relationship between believers and a local church, where they commit to uphold the gospel, the doctrine, the mission, and the values of that church.

Therefore, we must uphold biblical standards for membership, such as a credible profession of faith, baptism by immersion, agreement with the statement of faith and covenant, regular attendance and participation in worship and fellowship, faithful giving and stewardship of resources, submission to pastoral leadership and church discipline, involvement in ministry and mission according to one's gifts.

Faithfully Practice Church Discipline

The tenth key to church revitalization is to faithfully practice church discipline. Church discipline is the process of correcting and restoring a sinning member of the church, with the aim of bringing him or her to repentance and restoration. It is also a means of protecting the purity and testimony of the church, and of warning others of the danger and consequences of sin.

Therefore, we must practice church discipline according to the biblical pattern in Matthew 18:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-13. We must practice church discipline with love and gentleness, not with harshness or vengeance. We must practice church discipline with patience and perseverance, not with haste or indifference. We must practice church discipline with prayer and hope, not with despair or condemnation.

Fervently Evangelize the Lost

The eleventh key to church revitalization is to fervently evangelize the lost. Evangelism is the proclamation of the gospel to those who do not know Christ, with the aim of persuading them to repent and believe. It is also the demonstration of the gospel by our words and deeds, with the aim of displaying its relevance and attractiveness. Evangelism is the primary mission of the church, and the responsibility of every member.

Therefore, we must evangelize the lost with zeal and compassion, not with apathy or indifference. We must evangelize the lost with clarity and simplicity, not with confusion or complexity. We must evangelize the lost with boldness and confidence, not with fear or timidity. We must evangelize the lost with urgency and expectancy, not with complacency or pessimism.

Multiply Disciples through Small Groups

The twelfth key to church revitalization is to multiply disciples through small groups. Discipleship is the process of helping believers grow in their knowledge, love, and obedience to Christ. It is also the process of equipping believers for ministry and mission in their various contexts. Discipleship is the goal of the church, and the means of its growth.

Therefore, we must multiply disciples through small groups that meet regularly for Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and outreach. We must multiply disciples through small groups that foster relationships, accountability, care, and support. We must multiply disciples through small groups that develop leaders, teachers, mentors, and coaches. We must multiply disciples through small groups that reproduce themselves by planting new groups. b99f773239


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