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December 14, 2017

Replanting & Revitalizing

By Daniel Im

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Breaking the Cycle

There has been an endless cycle of church closing and church planting. There are approximately 1,200 churches planted every year. In the same year, about 1,000 churches close their doors. That leaves a net of barely 200 churches being created each year. This staggering statistic is incredibly discouraging to most church planters. Many church planters have a passion for starting new plants, but with so many closing, it’s hard to keep from going backward and losing ground.

People may see a dying church as a failure. A dying church does not convey that our God is awesome and can do incredible things. What if we changed the way we saw these churches? Instead of seeing these churches as a failure, what if we started seeing these churches as an opportunity? With every dying church, there is an opportunity for replant.

Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Church Replanter?

A special type of person is necessary to come and love an unloved church. One characteristic that a church replanter will need is tactical patience. Often when churches are replanted, pastors want to change everything from the logo to the worship style. However, changing all the elements of the outside is not going to change people’s hearts on the inside. You aren’t going to attract unchurched people to a dying church. You have to start with the remaining members. You have to help them let go of the control and familiarity of how things were in the old church. You have to shift the way you view the older members. Stop seeing older members as an obstacle to your ministry, and start seeing them as the first step in your ministry.

You also will need to be multigenerational in your ministry with the ability to disciple millennials, young adults, and older generations.

The last characteristic necessary for being a replanter is to be a visionary shepherd. You have to be focused and driven in your vision. You have to shepherd the people because you love them. They won’t rally around your vision until they see you as a loving shepherd. Once you gain this trust, you must shepherd them with a clear vision in mind so that you aren’t shepherding them in a circle.

To read the remainder of this article and to listen to the entire Behind-The-Scenes segment with John Mark Clifton, click here for the full post.

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  • “Dying churches aren’t something to run away from. It’s an opportunity for God to display his glory once again.”-@johnmarkclifton
  • “The older members are not an obstacle to my ministry, they are the first step in my ministry.”-@johnmarkclifton
  • “You don’t go save a dying church in order to acquire it’s building, you go love and serve that dying church because that’s what Christians do.”-@johnmarkclifton
  • “Changing things on the outside of your church isn’t going to change the people’s hearts on the inside.”-@johnmarkclifton
  • “Replanting a church can be a meaningful and rewarding ministry on many levels.”-@johnmarkclifton


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


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