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  • Writer's pictureMark Hallock

Understanding God’s Heart for Church Revitalization and Replanting: Conviction #4

Conviction #4: When a church returns to its first love, Jesus, begins to bring about revitalization through three types of Renewal.

When a church comes to the point of genuine humility, returning to Jesus and the Gospel as its first love, then and only then does God begin to bring about true renewal and revitalization. He does this through three types of renewal.[1]

#1: Personal Renewal. The personal renewal of a dying congregation’s leaders is where true congregational renewal begins. This starts with the heart of the leaders. Personal renewal means that as leaders in the church, in our lives we need more of the Holy Spirit. We need to grow in humility. We need to grow in our love for people. We need to grow in our love for the lost. As leaders we cannot take people where we’ve never been. We cannot give what we do not have. This is why congregational renewal begins with personal renewal. And this is why our love for the Lord and His Word must be primary.

#2: Relational Renewal. In a church where leaders begin to experience personal renewal, relational renewal should naturally begin to follow. What do I mean by relational renewal? Relational renewal means this: Leaders are not only right with God but now they are getting right with others. The leaders in a congregation are doing all they can to pursue peace and harmony with others in the congregation. Reconciliation marked by genuine kindness and love for other brothers and sisters in Christ is a top priority for them.

Rick Warren says this,

When you have relational renewal in your church, the gossip goes down and the joy goes up. How do you know when a church has been through relational renewal? People hang around longer after the service. They want to spend time together. If people don’t want to hang around after your services, you have a performance, not a church. The church is more than content; it’s a community.[2]

#3: Missional Renewal. As leaders grow in their love for God and He begins to renew their hearts, it begins to spread out to others and relational renewal is the result. This then leads us outward on mission. It’s inevitable. If the Spirit of God renews us, what that means is that the Spirit of God is going to align our desires with the desires of God Himself, namely, living life on mission.

This type of missional renewal is seen not only in the leadership, but is now beginning to spread through the congregation as individuals and families grow in their passion and conviction to make disciples of Jesus. When missional renewal begins to happen, a church begins to both believe they need to reach the lost and they are willing to do whatever it takes to do it. It is when a church begins to experience this third type of renewal that God begins to do incredible things in a dying church. This is when replanting gets really fun! Seeing a church get back on mission, focusing no longer on itself and its survival, but on the lost and the surrounding community that deeply needs Jesus. This is God’s desire for dying churches. This is God’s heart for replanting and revitalization.

[1] Rick Warren article,, that Rick Warren has very clearly and helpfully laid out.

[2] Ibid. Warren article.

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