First, let me start off by saying that I have not been posting much lately because I am extremely busy making arrangements for a move from California to Ohio, packing boxes at home and in my office, and wrapping up my time at my current church. All of this on top of watching my 8-month old daughter on my days away from the office (which is when my wife works). I promise to write much more as soon as the move is complete.
I have not yet found a new church, but I have been making contacts with congregations currently without a pastor to discuss whether or not we would be a good fit for one another. However, since I have not yet found a new church ministry, I have been constantly thinking about what I would want in a church. What are the “must-haves” (or “must-not-haves”) and what are the “it would be nice to haves”?
One of the things that I have considered is the age of a church. I am not talking about the average age of the people (although this is something to consider as well), but how long has the church been around. Also, how much has the church changed over time? Are they still running the same programs they ran 10 years ago? How about 20 years ago? 30? If so, how easy is it going to be to make changes? Is it even going to be possible? Is it worth the fight?
As a young guy with limited experience, my options are somewhat limited. Larger, thriving churches want guys with experience and a proven track record of leadership. The churches willing to bring in a guy like me tend to be small and on the decline. Many of them are on the decline because they are not willing to change. Sometimes I wonder if planting a new church would be more productive than trying to revive an older ministry that is resistant to moving forward.
What are your thoughts? What are the “must-haves” (or must nots)? Do you think planting a new church makes more sense than trying to revive an older, declining one? When / how do you decide when it is time to plant new rather than work with the already established?
What difficult questions!
The Biblical answer is “Trust God.” He does the reviving through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Personally, I don’t think there is such a thing as a “dead” church. I know there are a lot of people who would disagree with me, but oh well.
There are churches that have drifted so far from the Word and the Spirit that they feel dead, but can God be limited that way? I don’t think so. It may take years, but if you are called to a church like that, be patient. Let God work as God works. Be faithful to proclaim the Word and be patient to let Him lead.
I agree with you. There is no church that cannot turn around. I think for me I would be more interested in seeing a willingness of the people to get past whatever has been holding them back. I want to see a willingness to forgive, serve, and reach out. I want to see this in practice, not just lip service. If these things are currently present in a church, I would be willing to serve there, regardless of their past. Even if they are not present, I still may be willing to go there, but I realize the initial task would be different.
Hi Tim I was just wondering if you have found the answer to your questions yet? Probably some days you’re thrilled with your “new” church and other days wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into. Just wanted you to know that many are thankful that God directed you to BCC and we are praying for you everyday! MarkA
Thank you for the encouraging words, Mark A. I am very happy to be at BCC and look forward to the days ahead.