The Church Revitalization Process – Your Steps To Church Revitalization

The Church Revitalize Center guiding principle is that biblical theology drives practical methodology.

Our methodology is based on a 5-phase, interlocking progression that provides for a church revitalization process as a roadmap. Each phase of the church revitalization process has one or more steps. The phases are interlocking in that each phase depends on completion of the prior phase.  This roadmap begins with Phase 1 warning signs that church revitalization is needed. Phase 2 is based on Ephesians 2:19-20 which says, “God’s household [is] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. ” That is why Phase 2 in the roadmap emphasizes that a Christ-centered Spiritual Renewal should be the prerequisite to any subsequent phases.  Phase 3 is a planning phase to drive the church forward to be more great commission focused to engage the community (Phase 4) and make disciples (Phase 5).   Our service offerings are designed to help you progress through this 5-phase roadmap. We offer comprehensive resources that equip church leaders with the tools you need that support the steps of church revitalization and help you succeed with your revitalization effort.  See a fuller description of each phase below:


Warning Signs


Leadership heeds warning signs, desires change and explores where to get help.
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Lessons from the 7 Revelation Churches and running the Return to Me Program.
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Conduct church and community assessments, create vision and plans.
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Discover community needs and evangelize.
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Grow leaders, utilize small groups, and provide discipleship.
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Phase 1 – Need for Change

This phase occurs when Church Leadership recognizes that the church is plateaued, stagnant or declining in one or more important dimensions.  Church leadership reaches a point where the need for change becomes apparent. What exactly needs changing may not be readily apparent.  These dimensions might be a drop off in church attendance, number of baptisms, conversions or drop off in collections. The warning signs can also involve decrease engagement with the neighborhood community, or lack of participation of church members in various in  ministries.  In this phase, the Church Leadership begins to search for help in the church revitalization process.

Phase 2 – Spiritual Renewal

The question every church leader faces when the need for church revitalization is recognized, is  “where do I start?” The biblical pattern is clear.  Revitalization starts when Jesus Christ is made preeminent in the church rather than secondary congregational preferences or man-made techniques (see the message to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:4 about the return to Jesus as the church’s first love).  Not only is this the New Testament prescription, we find this in the Old Testament as well. In Malachi 3:7 it says, “Return to Me, and I will return to you.” The Church Revitalize Center offers a spiritual renewal process based on Claude King’s book “Return to Me: God’s Plea and Promise to His Church,” augmented with several options provisioned by the Church Revitalization Center. The first option is to purchase the companion video webinars. Second, we offer church-to-church pastor cohorts to facilitate the program. Finally, we offer a program coach for your specific church as an option.   We firmly believe that Phase 2, Spiritual Renewal should precede Phase 3 Revitalize Planning, so that any subsequent vision and strategic planning outputs are Holy Spirit informed and led.  This conviction is based on Matthew 16:18 that Jesus builds his church using the faith of his disciples.        

Phase 3 – Revitalize Planning

Revitalize Planning involves several steps which culminate with a new vision and plan for the church.   First, in business strategic planning it is usual to perform a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).  This is extremely valuable exercise for churches as well with a few important differences. These assessments should be bathed in prayer and compared to biblical principles.  The habit of  prayer and depending on biblical guidance is a desired outcome to be nurtured in the prior phase 2 Spiritual Renewal process. The Church Revitalize Center recommends the assessment package called the Revitalize Bundle as provided by one of our partners, the Revitalize Network.

After completing a SWOT Analysis, church leadership next step should be to consider several replanting pathways. These replanting pathways can range from  revitalization from within, looking for a permanent or temporary foster parent church, or merge with another church.      

Phase 2 can also be thought as a renewed commitment to the Great Commandments on a church-wide scale to love God and love your neighbor. So, the focus in Phase 3 is the vision and planning process to build upon the Great Commandments foundation of phase 2 to become a Great Commission focused church in Phases 4 and 5.  A Great Commission church is highly intentional on reaching the community with the gospel (Phase 4) and growing disciples (Phase 5).  The Church Revitalize Center has a network of Church Consultants that can help you walk through either the assessment step or visioning and planning step or both. 

Phase 4 – Engage Community

Phase 4 is an implementation phase that follows from Phase 3 planning. Everyone in the church should consider themselves as doing “life on mission,” the mission of course is going to the community and making disciples. Reaching the community means intentionally loving the community. There are 5 major ways to reach the community.

First, by service initiatives. An oft quoted phrase from president, Theodore Roosevelt is that “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Caring and praying is the way to prepare the soil for gospel seeds that only God can grow.  Second, by going door-to-door with a systematic plan across the local neighborhood.  The Church Revitalize Center recommends the “Prayer and Go” program provided by our partner, Church Answers. Third, by holding special events like Christmas and Easter Musicals, Halloween  Trunk-or-Treat and others. Special events can be merged with the door to door evangelism campaign.  Fourth, utilize social media including the church website and Facebook site. Finally, personal and conversational evangelism.  Each one of these methods takes training, planning and coordination that the Church Revitalize Center can help with through courses and coaches.      

Phase 5 – Sustaining Discipleship

Discipleship like evangelistic outreach requires intentionality. First, the discipleship program needs to recognize that Christians go through a maturity lifecycle just like we progress through stages from infancy, toddler, teenager, young adult to adult. Also, people joining your church will want to know more about your church. Each one of these stages requires a specific strategy. Invariably, that strategy will require training materials, trainers, and mentors. A combination of course and small groups are effective strategies. But to make this a sustainable process, the church will need to continually pray for God to identify a new generation of leaders that the church can equip. The Church Revitalize Center can help you succeed in designing and executing this phase through courses and coaches.