How to Revive a Dying Church
In these end times, many the Men of God who have exchanged their Divine glory for earthly affinity. At no other time in history than now does the Scripture in 2 Timothy 4: 10 come alive in such startling reality:
“For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed…”
The real tragedy is not that many have changed their message from God to suit the WANTS of men and not their NEEDS; but that they do not know that they have left the path allotted to them by God and veered into someone else’s tracks. In any competition, especially athletics, every attempt to cross into someone else’s tracks results in disqualification even if the athlete so guilty wins the race convincingly.
I am afraid of what Judgment Day will reveal especially in the light of what I find in Matthew 7:13-27 and Matthew 24:12. Please read the passages carefully. I earnestly urge you to do so and then examine yourself thoroughly! Ask yourself if you are still in the ministry given to you by God or you have veered into another man’s calling.
However, not to digress, I have prepared this little article for the man of God who desires to rebuild a fallen or dying Church. These are a few of the things I have gleaned from great men and from personal experiences and I hope they will help someone out there revive a dying Church.
1. HAVE A VISION/PURPOSE: Anyone who wants to accomplish something in life must have an idea of where he/she is going. If I get up in the morning and just move out of the house hoping things will work out just fine, I may be opening myself up for a BIG disappointment. But if I have a desired set of places I want to get to and what I expect to get at each of them, there is a chance that I will achieve all or most of my desires because I have a vision and a purpose.
2. BE ON GROUND: You don’t examine a situation thoroughly and draw conclusions (or make diagnoses) based on the report of others or from a distance. Probably, their reports might just be accurate but you may find something they missed that will change the diagnosis so you must be on ground zero – where you expect to raise a Church. Why did they call it dying or dead? What are the members like? How is the Church run? Is there any interference from “outside”? These are a few of the questions that can be answered only if you go to the Church and see things for yourself.
3. MEET THE PEOPLE: The Church is not the building – it is the people. Interacting with them will give you an idea of what the problem is from their perspective and they will also get to see the person that they may have to deal with for a while. This is a time for two-way assessment. You assess them and they assess you.
4. TAKE STOCK: Having met the people, go back and take stock of what you have seen and heard. Scrutinize every bit of detail you got and categorise your information. Some are for use immediately, some are for later and some are for NEVER.
5. ASK FOR GUIDANCE: Now is the time to take the matter to God in prayer, having seen enough to start work with. Lay everything before the Lord and ask for His guidance in everything 0 and I mean EVERYTHING!
6. MAKE THE RELEVANT COVENANTS: Take the time to enter into covenant with God on behalf of the people – there will definitely come a time when you may not feel like praying for them because of a change in the attitude of some or the relapse you may inevitably see in some members. The Lord keeps His Covenants and He will operate His own end of the bargain when you have no strength to operate yours for a season
7. SHOW GOD’S LOVE: Make up your mind from the onset to show them practical examples of God’s love no matter what you face. We preach more powerful sermons with our practical portrayal of Scriptural Truths than the mere words we speak from the pulpit. They may not respond immediately to your love – in fact some of them will spurn it and chalk it up to hypocrisy but rest assured that HE that matters most is watching and recording your love sacrifices and will surely reward your labour of love in due season.
8. WATCH YOUR BACK: No captor is happy with the soldier that sets his captive free and the devil will most certainly come against you with everything he has including the very people you are so painstakingly taking care of. Sometimes even family can be the temptation you will face so you need to prayerfully and diligently watch your back.
In October 2008, while serving a flock in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, I came to realize a wonderful truth: in order to be a good shepherd, I had to think like a good shepherd. There is no flock of sheep anywhere in this world that comes to its shepherd to ask if the shepherd has eaten or slept or had a glass of milk. In as much as we expect the congregation to respond to our pastoring by expressing appreciation with gifts and seeds, we should ultimately remember that the employer of the Shepherd is the provider of our daily needs.
May God help us to truly be His servants in everything. Amen.