In his book Reclaiming Glory: Revitalizing Dying Churches Mark Clifton asks this disruptive question: ”What about a dying church brings glory to God?”
The answer? Nothing! Yet more than half of the churches across the US are plateaued or declining. Consider this church—a composite of many I’ve talked with through the years. The church is without a pastor. They have been in decline for over twenty years. Their building is old; it’s all the members can do to pay the utilities each month. The demographic makeup of the community has changed. Though the folks who attend worship still live in the community, they don’t look like most of the folks they see in the neighborhood supermarket each week. They know they need to grow or they won’t survive. So they call and ask for help finding a pastor, because they believe if they just find the right pastor they’ll start to grow again.
When I meet with them I share with them my revitalization equation: a skilled pastor + a willing congregation = the possibility of revitalization. While they think all they need is the right pastor, I remind them that the other part of the equation is just, perhaps even more critical.
What is a willing congregation? What must they be willing to do?