The Hope of Church Revitalization

What is HOPE?

Hope defined by Webster’s II New College Dictionary, is “to wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment.” Hope means the confidence to trust in your actions and reactions. There is a desire connected with hope to see something good come about as a result of ones efforts. One of the most powerful, energizing words in the English language is the word “hope.” It’s a power that energizes us with exhilaration and purpose, as we look onward to the future. Hope takes our everyday obstacles and converts them into opportunities. Hope gives us motivation to live. Hope is a muscle that keeps us moving in the hardest stages of life.

It’s been said that a person can live 40 days without food, 4 days without water, 4 minutes without air, but only 4 seconds without hope.  Hope truly is a power that energizes us with life.

Hope is the ultimate talent of a church revitalizer!

Hope has the power to make our renewal churches healthy in an detrimental world in which we minister.  Our job as church revitalizers is to always be a provider of hope for those who need it the most.

Hope is the winning difference between turning a church around and letting it die!

This difference while appear small is huge. A church revitalizer, which can convey hope has the innate ability to keep the morale up in a church that wants to function more like a previous failure than a glowing success. Hope give us a positive feeling and attitude about the future and if you lack this hope there will be and cannot be any power in the present.

The church revitalizer is the one responsible for providing hope.

No one else is responsible for providing this hope. It is the calling and duty of the church revitalizer to be the one which imparts hope on a regular bases.  A friend of mine Tom McEachin, many years ago talking about my nature towards providing hope said that even my lowest days are still so full of hope who would every know when I am down! Every church revitalizer must have the skill set of being an encourager and provider of hope. Churches that are being renewed must place people on staffs that ooze from this one skill set. You cannot have negative people serving on a church revitalization staff because it is just too hard to turn around the church anyway.  These negative skunkers just cannot be part of the forward charge. “Skunkers” in church revitalization efforts are those people, which spray negativity all around the good things that are helping turn a church around. A church revitalizers we are dealer in hope and you just cannot feed hope for your new congregation without you possessing hope yourself.

How Does a Church Revitalizer Offer Hope to Others?

When I was thirty-two year of age I was at a meeting in Upper Marlborough, Maryland where John Calvin Maxwell the great leadership guru was speaking. He said something way back then which has stayed with me all of these many years regarding hope.  I wrote it in my Bible that day and it has been there ever since.  I know John could do a better job at this but here is what has stayed with from that significant encounter. It is an HOPE acrostic that has served me well.

Help Your Restart Change Their Way of Seeing and Thinking

People of habit have a hard time seeing new things. In fact the biggest difference between creative and reactive people is how the use the letters. A church revitalizer will often work among individuals who are not able to think or see right most of the time and it will be a journey to patiently help them make the journey towards hope. People who do not possess hope do not think right most of the time. Turning around a restart church is why the church revitalizer will deal with over and over again low self-esteem and confidence. Church people often grow hopeless because they have faced decline for so long they are not use to looking up. Hopeless church members need a church revitalizer that offers hope each and everyday.

Offer Safety and Reassurance During Periods of Doubt

The passage to revitalization and renewal is not a short one and there will be periods where the rank and file just need to know they are safe and that their leader is assured of victory so they can be reassured of victory as well. A church revitalizer that leads visually out front of others helps the rest see that the path is just ahead.  I think about the priest which bore the Ark of the Covenant as they went into the Jordan river it was a miraculous sing to the rest that God was providing safe passage and that they could be reassured of His wonderful presence all around them. Here was the army of the pharaoh behind them and the Jordan River in front of them and they were afraid. But the Lord our God and His leader offered safety during a significant period of doubt.

Put Some Wins Under Their Belt

Nothing helps the church revitalizer more than success for the leader and on behalf of the restart. Even little serendipitous blessings are ways in which the members see the hand of God upon each of them. Renewal pastors need these little wins and blessings because revitalization is a long-term effort and cannot be rushed. Small wins become middle size wins and in turn become large wins. Do not keep, the little wins secret, share them humbly and continually. You will help the church and its membership by doing so.

Express Openly Your Confidence in the Renewing Church

Every strong church revitalizer shares the ministry and the blessings given.  Expressing your belief in those which make up your ministry is a blessing to your followers and an asset to the work. Ministers which do not have the gift of generosity often struggle with this issue because they believe it is more about them than it is about the collaborative group. Openly sharing your faith and trust in your fellow labors is a great way to offer hope. Express these feeling often and unapologetically.  Church revitalization is a going together movement not a movement form the general’s headquarters.

Short Sermon on Hope for the Church Revitalizer

The first epistle of Peter gives five wonderful promises of a living hope:

3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 5 You are being protected by God’s power r through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith —more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  8 You love Him, b though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), 1 Pe 1:3–9.

  • There is a Hope that is Imperishable (vs. 3-4).
  • Our Hope is Protected by God (v.5).
  • This Hope Leads to Joy (v. 6).
  • Our Hope Will Be Tested and Proved Sound (v. 7).
  • This Hope Fosters Faith and Belief (v.8).

  • I love going to Washington D.C. it is a place where history leaps out from its many Smithsonian Institute collections.  Wrapped around the Mall it is a wonderful place for a family to go and enjoy history and beauty. I just cannot keep from mentioning that it is also free to go into these museums as well. Our family often enjoyed this vacation because it was always fun and the free part played into our families vacation many times.  I still enjoy walking the Mall and enjoying all of it history.

    When our nation was faced with a financial challenge they closed all of these family friendly areas as the Park and Recreation was closed for a short time. We were dismayed because we had counted on the museums being open so we could have a vacation that was affordable. Instead we walked all around Washington D.C. and explored things we would never have done if the nation had not been shut down. As we walked under one of the overpasses, which had cars racing too and fro over our head, there was a sign, which posted this little phrase:

    “Due to the present economic conditions, the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off until further notice.”

    I remembered what I had been taught by John Maxwell some thirty plus years before:

    It is the Leader’s Job to Turn the Light Back On!
    As a church revitalizer that is your calling and your charge! Turn the lights back on in this dear church for which Jesus died. Keep the lights on and watch as many come to Christ through an individual salvation experience. Keep the lights on for Jesus’ sake.

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