Questions to ask when considering church revitalisation

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to get involved in a few church revitalisation initiatives.  Now the word revitalisation is potentially broad in its definition and could it could be suggested that every church will need an element of revitalisation from time to time if it is to stay fresh and relevant.  So, when describing revitalisation we tend to particularly refer to what are in effect re-plants.  We mean when a church is in danger of closing its doors but with some outside help is able to get going again, though often with something of a new identity.

In this article, I wanted to talk a little bit more about what to do in the early stages of a revitalisation. This is for people who are part of a church considering possible revitalisation/replanting and for those invited in to help.

In the early stages I believe it is important to ask a lot of questions of the remaining church and of others.  Here are some big questions you need to be asking the remaining church members.

  1. Can you describe the purpose of this church? Why does it exist, what is its mission and vision?
  2. Can you describe the values of this church.  What does it prioritise in terms of church culture?
  3. Can you remember why you first came to this church? What was it that drew you here and kept you here?
  4. Why do you belong to this church now?
  5. If you could draw a picture of what this church is like, how it feels, how it is experienced, what would that picture be? (Get them to physically draw it).
  6. Can you draw a similar picture, this time showing what you would hope the church would look like in 5 years time?
  7. If there was one small change that we could make today for the better, what would you prioritise?
  8. What are the biggest barriers to you inviting friends and family along to church?
  9. Do you honestly believe that this church has a future?
  10. Are you personally committed to this church for the medium term future?

These are initial questions.  There are things you can going to drill down deeper into.  This is particularly important if there has been a particular crisis point in the church. There may be specific issues of hurt and pain, areas of sin needing repentance and forgiveness that need to be addressed too.

I would not limit questions to the church family.  I would also want to go out and ask questions of the following groups of people to find out what they know about the church and how they perceive it.  These would include:

  1. People who have left the church, especially recently.
  2. People in the immediate community
  3. Other local church leaders.

All of this helps form a picture to help determine if a replant is viable

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