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Revitalize and Replant looks at major pivots breakout churches are making today. In part two of this three-part series, Mark and Thom discuss what these church leaders are doing differently with their facilities. They are building smaller worship centers. They are asking questions about their community. They are sharing their facilities. They are r…
 
Revitalize and Replant looks at major pivots breakout churches are making today. In part one of this three-part series, Mark and Thom discuss what these church leaders are doing to reach more people with the gospel. They are creating an outward culture. They are increasing efforts and resources by 4X. They have at least one major emphasis a year. T…
 
It is a sad commentary, but congregations in North America are less evangelistic today than at any point in recent history. Kevin and Thom share what churches are doing that have turned around evangelistic apathy to evangelistic energy. This podcast is the third of a three-part series called “Five Ways to Revitalize in a COVID World.” 1. Begin or r…
 
Church unity has always been a key issue for congregations. In the COVID world of today, divided churches are more common than ever. In this podcast, Kevin and Thom address how a church can deal head-on with church unity issues. This podcast is the second of a three-part series called “Five Ways to Revitalize in a COVID World.” Acknowledge the elep…
 
By now, we thought we would be talking about church revitalization in a post-COVID world, but the Delta variant spike has brought new challenges. In this episode, Kevin and Thom unpack five key ways COVID is impacting the work of church revitalization today. This podcast is the first of a three-part series called “Five Ways to Revitalize in a COVID…
 
All other things being equal, longer pastoral tenure tends to enhance the health of a church. Kevin and Thom look at trends in pastoral tenure after COVID. 1. Median pastoral tenure is up to five years. 2. COVID extended pastoral tenure because few pastors left their churches during the pandemic. 3. Boomers are retiring or stepping down in much gre…
 
There will be times in a church revitalization or replant when you sense from God that it is time to leave. Mark and Thom discuss five steps pastors and other church staff should take to leave a church in a healthy manner. 1. Prayerfully make sure you have heard from God clearly about this call away from the church. 2. Decide who should be told and…
 
Kevin and Thom have been following the progress or lack of progress of revitalizing churches as they regather. After several months of regathering, these churches have six definitive trends. 1. Regathered worship attendance is about 20% lower. 2. A paradox of celebration and exhaustion is present among the members. 3. Lingering conflict over COVID …
 
There is often an intense pain when a church member comes to you with complaints about your spouse. Whether you are a pastor or any other person on ministry staff. Mark and Thom offer five responses you should make immediately. 1. Pray for calm and wisdom. 2. Let the church member know your spouse is someone you love dearly. You will defend them wi…
 
Approximately 10,000 Boomers turn 65 every day. At some point, they will consider retirement. Mark and Thom looked at six reasons why leading a revitalizing church could be a good option in the retirement years. 1. Your experience is invaluable. 2. You could work part-time since many revitalizing churches can’t afford full-time pay. 3. You could go…
 
Many pastors face that defining moment where they feel like they can’t lead their church because a power broker in the church opposes their leadership at almost every juncture. Kevin and Thom offer some wise counsel on leading (or not) in such tough scenarios. How do power brokers get their power? Go back to Cracker Barrel. Seek common ground. Deci…
 
We have heard and read countless discussions on “worship wars” in the church. Most of these wars were really generational wars. Thom and Kevin look at five ways to address and deal with these wars. 1. Try to understand the true reasons behind the conflict. 2. Get representatives of the different generations talking to each other. 3. Show examples o…
 
Some church members have unreasonable expectations about when pastors and staff should be in the office. This concern has been exacerbated by COVID. Mark and Thom look at some strategic ways to respond. Listen to them. Recognize that many members deal with old paradigms. Let them know what ministry responsibilities take you out of the office. Be wi…
 
Almost every week, the team at Church Answers gets one or more questions about bylaws. For many church leaders, bylaws seem to be, at best, a necessary evil. Thom and Kevin look at this issue from a few different angles with the guarded conclusion that, yes, church leaders do need to examine their bylaws. You need to look at your bylaws to make cer…
 
It is one of the most difficult meetings a leader will have. The time has come to tell a team member that he or she is being let go. On today’s episode, Thom shares some insights to guide you through this process. Show the compassion of Christ. Remember you are dealing with a person, not a budgetary burden. They have hopes and dreams and families. …
 
This question seems to be more frequent since churches started regathering after the pandemic. Kevin and Thom answer the question with a “yes,” but the affirmative answer does have some caveats. Counting is scriptural . . . if it is done with the right motive. Counting helps us to know how to use our resources. Counting for competitive reasons is n…
 
Does a pastor have either a right or an obligation to address issues caused by a staff member’s spouse or children? Thom and Mark look at ways to navigate this tricky issue. 1. Discern the nature and the severity of the problem before talking to the staff member. 2. Don’t try to solve other church members’ interpersonal issues with the person. 3. L…
 
Most church websites are seldom used and often neglected. Thom and Kevin discuss how a church’s website can be used for the Great Commission without much cost. A church’s website is the most common front door for guests. Non-members, including lost people, are much more likely to visit your website than church members. Non-members will visit your c…
 
Many church leaders in revitalizing churches bring someone on staff from within the congregation. Mark and Thom examine the reasons why this move can be problematic. Be sure to listen to episode #201 where they look at the opposite perspective, the reasons why you should hire from within. 1. Working with someone can bring out a totally different pe…
 
For many years, congregations have watched as their facilities become dated, costly, and less-used. Kevin and Thom discuss this issue and offer insights about churches that have seen their facilities become much more Kingdom-efficient. Do a thorough evaluation of your facility. Look at the community demographics and psychographics. Find ways to use…
 
Many church leaders in revitalizing churches bring someone on staff from within the congregation. Mark and Thom examine the reasons why this move can be positive. Be sure to listen to episode #203 where they look at the opposite perspective, the reasons why you should not hire from within. 1. You have had the opportunity to observe them and get to …
 
Many churches of the past 50 years were able to keep the doors open with zero to minimal evangelistic intentionality. That is simply not the case today. Kevin and Thom examine five reasons why non-evangelistic churches will close. Cultural Christianity is almost dead. It is not a growth source for churches. The U.S. birthrate is its lowest ever. Wi…
 
During the pandemic, many pastors and other church leaders became weary and frustrated. Mark and Thom respond to those leaders who are asking if it is okay to quit their churches. 1. Have you given this matter to prolonged prayer? 2. Is this a circumstantial frustration that may pass in time? 3. How does your spouse feel about your quitting? 4. Wha…
 
Many churches call a pastor by congregational vote. Those churches have stipulations on the percentage needed to affirm a call. It is typically in the 60% to 80% range. Why do some votes to call a pastor result in a surprisingly low percentage? Kevin and Thom look at some of the possible reasons. 1. A current staff member wanted the job. 2. A frien…
 
Much has been written and spoken about how churches should function during the pandemic. Mark and Thom look at five unique issues for leadership during this critical period of regathering. 1. Leaders must encourage patience among the members. 2. Leaders must be voices of hope. 3. Leaders must be realistic. 4. Leaders must move the church outwardly.…
 
When a church member leaves, it is almost always painful for the pastor. The pain is exacerbated when the departing member offers one of these reasons. Kevin and Thom look at five sorry reasons people leave a church. 1. “I wasn’t getting fed.” 2. “The church does not have enough fun activities for my kids.” 3. “You didn’t visit me.” 4. “You didn’t …
 
The virtual church was a hot topic during the pandemic. Now, as the church begins to regather, what are some major considerations to evaluate? Mark and Thom report on the ways they are guiding church leaders in this area. 1. The virtual mission field is a real mission field. 2. Prayer ministries in the virtual world have great stickiness. 3. Don’t …
 
Though it’s only two years away, churches in America will look significantly different than they do today. The pandemic accelerated trends that were already in place. Kevin and Thom look at some future realities just around the corner. 1. Non-evangelistic churches will decline rapidly and die. The transfer growth is just not there. 2. Worship gathe…
 
Mark and Thom delve into the issue of changing your church’s name. They suggest asking five questions. Too many church leaders have made big mistakes by not asking these questions: 1. Is there a compelling reason to change the name? 2. Is the reason for changing the name more positive than negative? 3. Have I asked the opinion of key influencers in…
 
The small group ministry of a church has always been a vital ministry of a congregation. In this episode, Kevin and Thom share why the ministry is more important in a post-COVID world. 1. Assimilation will be critical and fragile in the regathering stage. 2. There will be an immediate desire for connections as the church regathers. 3. Your church’s…
 
In this episode, Thom interviews Mark about his work in the replant of Linwood Baptist Church. You will not want to miss some of the stories and invaluable lessons about replanting or adopting a church. What is the background of this replant? How did the church get to its near-death state? What are some of the greatest successes thus far? What are …
 
It is a reality for most churches. Many members will not return when the church regathers. Leaders must prepare for that reality. Kevin and Thom discuss how to best approach this issue. Be prepared for around 20% not to return. Understand that the departure for many of them was already in place before COVID. Low expectation churches are partly to b…
 
Church leaders are often shocked to discover many of their most faithful volunteers have not returned to their ministries. Mark and Thom look at five ways to jump-start your church’s volunteer ministry base: Restart your new members class with the expectation of being involved in ministry. Ask for eight-week commitments. Ask members who have never …
 
In this episode, Kevin and Thom provide an updated assessment of how the pandemic has affected revitalization of churches. Enjoy it — there is some good news in this podcast. Good: Many church leaders have become more focused. Bad: Church leaders are weary, and leading revitalization and replanting has become more exhausting. Good: The members who …
 
Lay leaders often contact us in a bit of a shock when their pastor just quit, especially if it’s sudden with no apparent moral failure. Mark and Thom look at five common reasons pastors are quitting today. They are just worn out. They took the “wrong” side of a political issue. They ran into a controlling bully of whom few members are aware. They d…
 
Thom and Kevin look at the fragile nature of churches in revitalization, and how disrupted unity can totally destroy revitalization momentum. Even better, though, they offer some concrete solutions to overcome disunity. Revitalizing churches are already fragile. Resources of time, energy, and emotions are diverted from the Great Commission. Most ch…
 
On today’s episode of Revitalize & Replant Mark Clifton talks about four ways to address preaching burnout in a replant or revitalization. Remember that the apparent lack of responses of the members may not be indicative of the work God is doing through your preaching. Share the preaching load with others. Seek prayer intercessors for your preachin…
 
On today’s episode of Revitalize & Replant Thom Rainer and Kevin Ezell talk about the five most common times of conflict in church revitalization. When you change the music When you change the name of the church When the newberries are the same number as the oldberries When an iconic part of the facilities is changed or eliminated When you go again…
 
We all know change is hard. The idea of church adoption is becoming more appealing to change-resistant members. Thom and Mark discuss four reasons why. The pandemic has exacerbated the problems of declining church health. The change-resistant members are becoming fewer in number. Many of these members have seen their friends and family leave the ch…
 
What are some things your church needs to know when looking for a pastor? Thom and Kevin share seven incredible steps to help your church as you look for a pastor. Get a clear picture of the church’s actual health. Get a clear picture of the church’s perceived health. Get a clear picture of the community the church serves. Spend more time than ever…
 
It’s a new year and everyone is tired. As we move forward in the work of revitalizing churches, Mark and Thom share the profile of a healthy revitalizer after COVID-19. Has a realistic view of the post-COVID world. Patience, patience, patience. Is an example in evangelism. Is emotionally and spiritually prepared for conflict Has a longer-term view …
 
The key to a strong revitalization is leadership. Today, Thom and Kevin discuss six leadership situations which will stop a revitalization dead in its tracks. Moral failure Staff or leadership conflict. When the pastor’s family is hurting deeply Majoring on minors Letting a power group rule Forgetting about the Great Commission Resources in Today’s…
 
From most discouraging moments to greatest surprises of 2020, Thom and Mark answer listener questions on today’s episode of Revitalize and Replant. What was your most discouraging moment in a church revitalization? What was your most encouraging moment in a church revitalization? Do you consider yourself thin-skinned or thick-skinned? What has been…
 
On today’s episode of Revitalize and Replant we discuss the difficult topic of how to address moral failure of a church leader. Thom and Kevin Ezell break down five ways to deal with the unfortunate circumstance. Be transparent with limits. Protect the transgressor’s family. Show grace with discipline. Be prepared to provide pastoral care to the co…
 
When a pastor is called to lead a church replant or revitalization their family should remain their first line of ministry. Thom and Mark discuss five rules for taking care of your family in a replant or revitalization. Make certain they are your first line of ministry. Pray with them. Get their input; listen to them. Do regular check-ins Don’t sac…
 
Renewing a culture of outreach and casting vision for loving the community is vital for churches needing revitalization. Thom and Kevin discuss five ways to reignite an outward focus in churches needing revitalization. Model it. Seek to lead explicitly evangelistically. Give examples of other churches. Combine prayer and outreach. Seek accountabili…
 
We have seen several trends among church revitalizations during the global pandemic. As we find ourselves approaching a post COVID-19 world, Mark and Thom discuss five of the most prominent trends we are witnessing in church revitalizations today. Progress has been set back two to five years. More have moved from revitalization to seeking adoption …
 
We would all love for things to return to normal. But in reality, this will not happen any time soon, if ever. With this in mind, Thom and Kevin discuss six mistakes to avoid as your church regathers. Assuming that “normal” will return. Neglecting community ministry and outreach. Talking more about problems than opportunities. Failing to seek outsi…
 
The pandemic has given us many reasons to stress and contemplate the future. Today, Dr. Thom Rainer and Mark Clifton discuss the other side of the coin and give us five reasons pastors should have hope as we look to the post-pandemic era. It is still Christ’s church Your community is likely to know you better after the pandemic due to the live-stre…
 
We can learn much from positive and negative examples. In today’s episode, we isolate a group of churches in order to examine five common developments in declining churches. Decline is more pronounced. Closure or merger is more likely. Flaws become more visible or pronounced. Volunteers resign from their ministries. Conversion growth moves toward z…
 
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