As I continued to read through Ron Crandall’s book, he gives a list of principles for church renewal and revitalization from the ages of church history. It may seem like a no-brainer, but at least observations through church history back it up.
1. Personal renewal.
Renewal of a church begins with renewal of the individual. Sometimes that might be a dramatic and decisive experience such as a conversion moment at a church service, or answering an altar call or responding to the invitation to receive Christ. I had that moment of conversion myself when I was still in my teens.
For others, such as those who grew up in a church it might be a deepening of faith, where you know it’s yours and not that of your parents.
But all of us go through spiritual dry seasons, and there are those events that bring a fresh wave of personal renewal. Some have found them at events like the PRMI Ignite weekend, Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus, Presbyterian Pilgrimage, ABIDE, Tres Dias, Lay Witness Mission and so on.
2. Corporate Renewal.
A new awakening in the life of a church — there is a new cooperation among believers wanting to fulfill the vision of God for the local congregation, a new sense of praying into God’s vision. Sometimes it might be a more dramatic revival.
3. Conceptual Renewal.
This is a stage where the people of a congregation receive the fresh vision of what God wants to do with the congregation. Old models are challenged, risk taking becomes more normal, and often churches will begin to rethink what they are about.
4. Structural Renewal
With a fresh vision old programs fade. Old structures are laid aside. The church begins to reorganize itself to respond to the new direction that God is leading. Any form that is helping the church to find its new life and be faithful to its history should be kept. Any that deny the new fresh fire from the Spirit should be modified or retired.
5. Missiological Renewal
A church needing renewal is overly inward focused. As churches turnaround, experience renewal and revitalization, the church begins a new focus on mission and service to the world. Sometimes renewal begins here. . ..