Last fall, I received a call from State Missionary Mike Jackson asking if I would consider returning to the State Board of Missions to work in the area of church revitalization. I prayed and sought godly counsel as I wrestled with this decision.
After all, I loved the pastorate and I loved the church I was pastoring.
However, I was well aware of the great need for church revitalization across our denomination. Ultimately, I felt this was something of a “Macedonian Call” in my own life.
The first question I had to answer was this: “What is church revitalization?” What do we mean when we say that a church needs to be revitalized?
In Webster’s Dictionary, in the definition of the word “revitalization” was the word “revival.” When we talk about a church needing to be revitalized, we are literally talking about a church needing revival!
Ezekiel 37 is perhaps the clearest demonstration of God’s reviving power in all of the Bible. God takes Elijah out to a valley full of dry bones and asks, “Can these bones live?” Elijah answers, “O Lord God, You know.”
Elijah was saying only God knows if the bones can live again, because only He can cause the bones to live again. Whether we are talking about dry bones coming alive or a church being revived, it has to be the work of God.
But how does God do it? Ezekiel 37:4 says, “O dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord.” Then, verse 9 says the breath of God blew upon the bones. In other words, the dry bones were revived by God’s Word and the breath of God’s Spirit. The foundation for church revitalization is the same. Revitalization comes only from the reviving power of God’s Word and God’s Spirit.
I am honored and excited to be working with church revitalization at the State Board of Missions. But to put it more plainly, I am excited to be praying and working for revival to come to our churches across our state.
One more thing: I’d love to meet you at the Church Revitalization/Replant Conference on Monday, February 25, at 1:30 p.m. in the sanctuary at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham. Mark Clifton is speaking, and we’re giving away 300 copies of his book, Reclaiming Glory. Then plan to stay for the State Evangelism Conference that starts that evening in the same location.
To register for the Church Revitalization/Replant Conference, please visit alsbom.org/crconference. For more information about church revitalization among Alabama Baptists, please contact State Missionary Daniel Wilson (lead church health strategist) at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 343, or (334) 613-2343, firstname.lastname@example.org.