Before you decide to revitalize your church or your small group, and to bring dead bones to life, first go to God and ask Him if he’s down with that plan. We started our revitalization conversation here, and if you’re trying to turn things around or just beginning your story, you’re probably excited about the journey. Stop the excitement however, in favor of going to God with your situation.
I am just finishing Matt McConaughey’s new book “Greenlights” and in the book he talks about processing God and doubting him for a while. He came out strongly believing in God, but he said that at times we use God as an excuse to not do things. I wholeheartedly agree with the “A Time to Kill” actor, but still believe we need God’s green light before we move forward in most major things we do.
Here are four ways to know that God is giving you the go ahead in your new church or group revitalization:
The Open Door
This one makes me a little nervous because Ive seen people believe that open doors represent a definite answer from God. It does not, but an open door can provide a nice entry way for beginning something God wants you to do. Are you finding open doors in the building of your new adventure? Did someone call you or email you about something similar to your thoughts? These are open doors.
Your spouses support
If you have a spouse, their support is absolutely necessary to moving forward with your life giving plan. A few years ago, I was offered a church revitalization job as a lead pastor. The church wasn’t dead, but it was headed that direction. I wanted the job and I could see the church revitalizing in my mind’s eye. My wife, however, wanted nothing to do with the part of the job that required us to move to the Midwest. I promised God I would not do it without my wife’s green light. She never gave it. I did everything I could to talk her into it, but she was not budging, so eventually I backed off and the church went another direction. I was heartbroken, but eventually took another job, and that church went into a very good situation as well. If I look back and give an honest opinion of how the last few years have looked, I can say that everything turned out good, and we made the right decision. I needed my wife’s support, and she couldn’t give it, so I couldn’t do it. If you’re spouse is not into the plan, get a new plan.
Robin or even Cisco Ramon
You can’t do kingdom work by yourself. You need people around you that will come alongside you and partner with you in the journey in which you are embarking. Going solo might be interesting if you’re climbing a mountain or even starting a business, but in the world of kingdom work, you either better be a partner or have one. Batman had Robin, and good thing too, because the intense struggle of ministering to and discipline people can be overbearing at times. Don’t go into a church revitalization or a group setting by yourself, unless you are absolutely sure God wants you to. You need people with you. And if possible, you need more than Robin. If you’re a fan of DC Comics, you’ll also be familiar with the Flash. My kids love him because he is super fast. His team is 3-4 people deep. Cisco Ramon is one of 3-4 people at any time who are on the Flash’s team. As the author of Ecclesiastes says, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
A Mind’s Eye Plan
If you don’t have an idea in your mind’s eye what you might do if you entered into this church revitalization process or small group building process, then don’t do it. If you’re someone who God has gifted to pastor or build these things, then He has already gifted you with ideas and plans, all of which you may use or not use when you get started. But if you have no clue HOW to do it in the first place, it’s probably not something you should be doing. You may not know everything about what is going to happen or how to make it happen, but a basic idea of what you will do if God gives you the green light is important to whether or not He is leading you that direction. Why would he send you somewhere you are not gifted or qualified to handle? I understand there are times he challenges us in things we don’t think we can handle, but that’s different than being able to see what you will do with God’s help. It’s called vision, and the leader/group of leaders can see some if it play out before it plays out.
There are four ways to know that God is giving you the go ahead on a church revitalization or a small group building. Did I miss anything?
This article was written by Martin Holman. It is the 2nd post in a series on church revitalization. Martin is also the author of “Back to Acts: How to start a home church”, available here.