Dead Church Walking

In the latest issue of Credo Magazine (for which I’m thankful to have been a part of the proofreading team) has an interesting and fitting article written by Harry L. Reeder III entitled, “Dead Church Walking: Why Church Revitalization is More Important than you Think.”  In the last two posts, we’ve looked at the related concept of church revitalization, first with a look at Revelation 3:2 and then through the experience of Ernest Reisinger in working for church reform.  In this article by Reeder, we get a combination of both Scripture and experience through his well written and informative contribution to the magazine.  Some highlights from the article are below:

God’s Word is Sufficient

“While the Bible, in the Book of Acts, records ‘statistical growth’ in the church, there is no indication that the leadership focused their ministry philosophy upon statistical church growth.  But, the leadership did focus on the spiritual vitality and health of the church with statistical growth recorded as a consequence of the Apostolic ministry, not its objective.”

Strengthen the Church

“Paul’s strategy of church revitalization is clearly not embraced by today’s denominations, who for the most part leave struggling churches to fend for themselves or superintend their closing while pursuing the planting of other churches.  Paul, in contrast, intentionally and strategically sought to ‘strengthen the churches’ who were stalled, plateaued, or declining by leading them to spiritual health and vitality.”

Pursue the Wandering Flock

A Biblical Paradigm

“Instead of closing more churches than we are planting, why not close fewer, which then allows us to plant more because there are more healthy churches to reproduce new ones?”

“The objective is not church growth.  It is church health.”

“If church growth becomes the objective it will eventually lead to the pragmatic decisions of injecting ‘cultural steroids’ into the church body.  So worship becomes entertainment.  Membership becomes customer service.  The salvation message becomes the prosperity gospel or the self-esteem gospel.  This will likely result in a statistical increase initially, but a compromised message and methods for growth will eventually destroy the church body.”

You can read the article in its entirety here: http://issuu.com/credomagazine/docs/2_credo_april_2014_final

Harry L. Reeder III is Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church.  He is the author of  From Embers to a Flame: How God Can Revitalize Your Church.

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