Louisville—Christian leaders and pastors consider the necessity and nature of church revitalization in the 21st century in a new guide book released by SBTS Press, sponsored by the Mathena Center for Church Revitalization of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In “A Guide to Church Revitalization,” which released today, editor and Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr. highlighted in the opening chapter the need for a new generation of church revitalizers. Replanting struggling churches about to close their doors is a critical calling for contemporary pastors, Mohler writes.
“One of our central tasks in the present generation is to be bold in our vision of replanting churches—helping existing churches to find new vision, new strategic focus, new passion for the gospel, new hunger for the preaching of the Word, new love for their communities, and new excitement about seeing people come to faith in Jesus,” writes Mohler in the chapter. “Replanting churches requires both courage and leadership skills. A passion for replanting a church must be matched by skills in ministry and a heart for helping a church to regain a vision.”
The guide book details the necessary elements of revitalizing a dying church, from the centrality of expository preaching to cultivating spiritual discipline among members. It includes a description of the revitalizing process, a summary of the factors indicating ultimate success, and a depiction of the personal character required to be a spiritually effective church planter.
Also featured in the guide book are Dan Dumas, senior vice president for institutional administration; Croft, who is also senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville; Donald Whitney, professor of biblical spirituality; and David Prince, assistant professor of Christian preaching and pastor of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington.
“This new guide book seeks to help this historic need in the SBC by relying, not upon the latest trends and church growth gimmicks, but upon the power of God working in his Word,” said Brian Croft, senior fellow at the Mathena Center. “It is a helpful beginning to what we hope will launch a great movement of God’s Spirit and equipped men called to this unique work to breathe new life into dying churches.”
Dumas’ chapter focuses on the need for genuine godly character and integrity, while Croft offers several considerations for churches about to enter a revitalization phase. Whitney’s chapter encourages pastors to rekindle a passion for godly spirituality among their congregants, and Prince emphasizes the need for expository preaching in a growing church.
The book concludes with a series of interviews with Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.; Andrew Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, N. C.; and Croft. The interviews present evaluations of necessary components of church revitalization, including frank and honest assessments of the pastors’ early years of ministry in churches that experienced revitalization.
A Guide to Church Revitalization is available at sbts.edu/press. (SBTS)