A lot has changed in the last three years. When I began this journey of assisting associations and churches in the area of revitalization, I wanted to do so with fresh eyes. I had a plan, then the pandemic struck. Now it became necessary to have a fresh start for Fresh Start. Maybe you and your church are ready for a Fresh Start, also. If so, here are 3 commitments you will need to make.
First, a fresh start requires a spiritual change. Hopefully, you and all the leaders in your church are believers. I am making this assumption. That being said, every believer goes through dry spells. Sometimes we get comfortable in our routine and our spiritual life needs a fresh start. When you realize this, something in your spiritual journey needs to change in order to bring a fresh perspective, a fresh wind of revival or a spiritual awakening. Dr. Steve Horn’s new book, Change Me is a 4-week, intensive, soul-searching guide to experience personal revival. Check with the Executive Director’s office at the Louisiana Baptist Convention for availability. Another renewal tool is Claude King’s book, Return to Me, which can be purchased at Lifeway.com These are just two of the numerous resources available. If you’d like additional recommendations, please contact me. The key is, you can’t lead your church to experience a fresh start unless you experience one first!
Second, a fresh start requires different thinking. I am sure you have heard the adage, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. Principles never change but methods do. If the next time you and your leadership are planning something and someone says, “Well back a few years ago, we did this and that happened”, or, “well, we tried that and it didn’t work;” maybe it’s time to try something different. Methods are not holy. They may be personal and emotional, but they are not holy. Healthy, growing, community-impacting churches don’t keep doing the same things over and over again. They adapt and so should you.
Third, a fresh start requires a new strategy. One thing we have learned from the pandemic is that there are lots of ways to minister to, with and through your people without being at the church building. Don’t get me wrong, I like in-person worship, small groups and events, they are important, but, they are not the only way we can connect with one another and a lost world. We need a new strategy. Recently, I recruited a young adult in my church to help with our digital ministry. I gave him two assignments; 1) develop a simple website that describes who we are and why we exist, 2) improve the quality of our online worship services via social media. I knew these tasks would cost some money. Initially, the deacon leadership and finance committee questioned why we would spend so much money on systems which could keep people away from our church. My responses: 1) there are lots of people who would like to check us out before visiting, and 2) some people may not be ready to come back to the church building. Updating/improving these systems, provides a means to keep people engaged with our church.
A Fresh Start requires change. Some changes will be fun and some will not. However, change IS necessary. So, are you ready for a Fresh Start? Let us help you make the first step.
Sean Keith is the point person for the Fresh Start Initiative. Email or call him at 318.448.3402.