By Dr. Tracy Jaggers
Dr. Tracy Jaggers serves as the Church Development Associate in the Tryon Evergreen Baptist Association in Conroe, Texas, where he consults in Church Health, Growth, Revitalization, Education, and Conflict resolution. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Church Revitalization. He and his wife Lorna have five children.
My first exposure to Church Revitalization (which was a term I was unaware of during those days), I found that attempting to “fix” a church that was dwindling and broken, had all the complexities of building a super-computer with a pair of needle-nose pliers and a roll of Duct tape.
For me, it was because I was inundated with pastoring my family through a crisis. I was just too physically and mentally drained to expend any more energy, even on the needs of the flock. We had hemorrhaged by 21% before I was cognizant of any bleeding at all. With an unplanned revival, that included me, my family, my deacons and some key leaders, we not only saw rejuvenation, but we surpassed our former status by 37% and began to experience real, unified ministry inside and outside the church. It was not because of an intentional process. It was because of brokenness, confession, prayer and shared responsibility.
Immediately following this revival, I read “Breakout Churches” by Thom S. Rainer. That was us! We were a breakout church by the grace and power of the Lord. I am so glad I didn’t know to lean on any processes or procedures at that time, because God got all the glory.
I am now convinced, through the life of men like Nehemiah, that there is a place and time for an outsider to come into a local congregation and help them rebuild the “walls” of their struggling and declining assembly. Just like Nehemiah, I am blessed to be in a position where we come alongside church leadership and walk with them through a process that has been tested and verified numerous times in the past few years. We do not claim to be experts, just research and development ministers.
There are two things we have experienced, that have attempted to stifle the possibility of success in the renewal process; conflicts and cantankerous individuals. Allow me to offer ten hindrances that can become obstacles to a successful revitalization:
Always attempt strategies that build bridges to a bright, new future, and be careful not to allow barriers and hindrances that keep the church body from realizing God’s goals of restoration and revival. The Lord needs loving, barrier-busters!
I conclude with nine possible barrier-busters (not ordered by importance):
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