Monterey Baptist Church
Monday, July 16, 2018
Pastor Daryl L. Poe

Church Revitalization

 

Psalm 51

 Renew a Right Spirit Within Me

It has been a little over a year since I answered the call as Senior Pastor of Monterey Baptist.  As we move forward, our aim is to encourage and promote meaningful church membership for everyone.  My earnest desire is to grow a ministry of revitalization.  Revitalization is not just for churches that are dying.  Revitalization is for any and all churches that desire to make an intentional effort to see the mission of the church renewed and moving toward sustainable health.   

Revitalization is not about a new program: it is about a renewed walk with our Lord.  Church revitalization is people revitalization.  It necessitates a personal passion and priority for loving one another, prayer, the Bible, and sharing the gospel.  With that in mind, let us gladly embrace church revitalization as a joint commitment to Emerge, Empower and Equip, Engage, and Endure for the furtherance of Christ's kingdom.  

Emerge(vv. 1-6)

 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 

An emerging emphasis on Jesus is essential to revitalization. An awakening to the reality of Christ is needed in each believer’s everyday life.  “The most urgent need in Church Revitalization is not to regain our lost numbers, but to regain our lost love”.  Revitalization requires we quit relying on a former encounter with Jesus and experience a fresh, powerful encounter with the Risen Lord. Revitalization requires that together, we continuously seek Christ and His glory, with a loving call to repentance. 

Loving the membership and encouraging one another to love Christ and the Gospel is the underpinning of our mutual relationship. It is essential to share Christ; not just in preaching, but in our daily conversations. Christ-centered conversations that are realistically centered on hope rather than despair acknowledges the challenge and vision of revitalization, but with a conviction that God will do a miracle. 

Loving one another requires a sharing of our mutual need for the Gospel.  Sharing promotes patience and patience is essential. It takes time to know and trust one another. When sharing our life's story in Christ's Kingdom, it is imperative to remember it  is our history.  We learn by listening and while celebrating our shared history, we recognize we cannot live there.     

Church revitalization is people revitalization and members need to hear their pastor and church loves them! Conversations must always celebrate Christ by loving what Christ loves—the Church and the Lost. As revitalization progresses, we cannot fail to celebrate small victories that advances church wide spiritual health. 

Empower and Equip(vv. 7-12)

  7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Empowerment for revitalization is achieved through intercessory prayer.  Revitalization will only happen in answer to faith-filled, prevailing prayer.  Intercessory prayer must be a priority in our individual life before it will become a priority in the life of the church.  Publicly praying for the lost, friends, the hurting, worship, and leadership will lead toward meaningful corporate prayer. The more the church prays, the more revitalized the church will become.  

The Holy Spirit alone can transform or revitalize a human heart. He chooses to do so through the application of Scripture. Reliance solely upon God’s Word requires expository preaching and teaching. Preaching through The Gospel According to John will help renew our love for Christ as our Lord, Savior and Destiny.  Studying Genesis strengthens our understanding of our spiritual identity and God's plan of redemption.   The Book of Hebrews is given as encouragement for Christians living counter culturally in a hostile world. By feeding the flock through the full counsel of God’s Word, our goal is to make disciples who connect, grow and serve in Christ’s kingdom.

Sadly, many young people left their church because they were never truly discipled. Apart from intentional discipleship it is impossible to achieve or sustain church revitalization. Equipping disciples takes place best in small groups where learning is not only vertical, but horizontal. Interactive small group Bible studies are more conducive to learning, while encouraging and providing intimate fellowship.  It is through intentional Bible study we can experience revitalization and improved spiritual health.   Future discipleship topics will focus on "the One Anothers" of Scripture, and interpersonal spiritual disciplines. The goal of discipleship is to create a community that is living in faithful, disciplined obedience to Christ’s commands.  Making disciples who make disciples.

Engage(vv. 13-17)

13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.  

Leadership is the most crucial factor in revitalization.  Increased spiritual health and shared ministry are important components in creating a servant leadership culture.  Our church must prepare a new generation of leaders.  By reclaiming biblical manhood, emphasis will be placed upon individual and family spiritual formation. Biblical manhood equips men to assume the leadership responsibility of being disciples who make disciples, beginning in their own home.  As this reclamation grows, servant leadership and accountability within the membership will increase exponentially. 

Revitalized homes leads to vibrant churches who are concerned for and engaged in their communities.  God will open our eyes for opportunities to reach into the community.   It is time for an honest audit of how we spend our time being involved and our money in light of the Great Commission. A revitalized heart will lead to specific plans to minister and evangelize our community.  By preparing for outreach efforts and engaging our community, Monterey Baptist will be more likely to experience revitalization.

Endure (vv.18-19)

18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Lastly, church revitalization requires a new paradigm: endurance.  Change is never easy.  Regardless the opposition, we must remain determined and patient; fully committed to the Word of God.   The authority and sufficiency of Scripture cannot be compromised.  The emotional awareness and tactical patience crucial in this ministry is best demonstrated by respecting the church’s legacy while building an increasing multi-generational ministry.  

There can be nothing less than a 5-year, church wide commitment to the revitalization ministry.  I strongly encourage Monterey Baptist to enter into partnership with NAMB's  “The Church Renewal Journey” to assist our revitalization efforts through organized lay mobilization.  

In conclusion, revitalization is God's sovereign work, but it is also our call to confidently join Him; knowing our definitive revitalization is assured when Christ returns. Until then, our battleground is the world for which Jesus died and to which the church is sent. What ultimately happens in our world depends upon what first happens in our local church. 

Meaningful Church Membership truly does matter.

In loving service, 


 
Pastor Daryl L. Poe
Monterey Baptist Church