Ed Stetzer: the Five R’s of Church Revitalization, Part 2

In yesterday’s post, I talked about Reframing on Grace and Realigning on Mission as steps to revitalize a church in a gospel-centered way.

The word revitalize comes from a Latin word that we probably know: vitalis. We think of vital organs as those that are necessary for life. So a church needs life, or it will die.

A different metaphor of church as a blighted urban neighborhood might help us to understand how to bring a dead church back on track. Basically, planners can either gentrifyor revitalize a neighborhood. Gentrification is a kind of top-down approach where the urban planners allow the neighborhood to go downhill. When the neighborhood becomes so blighted that people don’t want to live there anymore, the planners bulldoze the place and build million dollar condos.

Revitalization of a neighborhood is more of a ground-up approach where people are empowered to use their abilities to make the neighborhood better. It takes time and shepherding, but it can work. The same thing goes for a church. And revitalization is possible because we serve a God who specializes in resurrections.

That’s the gospel. That’s the good news that God can revitalize the dead. So let me move on to my final three R’s.

Third, recast gospel vision

How do we recast gospel vision? Part of gospel vision is tied to this idea of the grace of God. It’s understanding that God is at work in you, both to will and to do for his good pleasure,Paul writes in Philippians (2:12-13). The question is the where question. It’s so much more than being gospel centered in church.

If you don’t talk about the gospel to your neighbor, you’re doing it wrong.

Recasting gospel vision means that it is the gospel vision that shapes us. It’s not getting saved and then getting over the gospel. Instead, we have the privilege of dwelling in the beauty of the gospel by keeping our conversations peppered with the gospel. So recasting that gospel vision continues to put before people both a way to behave and a way to believe. This changes everything.

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Source: Christianity Today