A statewide summit for those interested in church revitalization was recently held at the Missouri Baptist Convention office in Jefferson City.
Pastors, church revitalizers and planters gathered along with directors of missions to hear about the Resound Network — a ministry of MBC — and working together to bring new life to struggling churches.
Mark Hallock, president of the Calvary Family of Churches, Englewood, Colorado, was keynote speaker as well as leading a breakout session.
“We focused on the word ‘hope,” said Brandon Moore, leader development strategist (revitalization & church health) for MBC and summit organizer. “Everything can be ready, but you have to have the key (which is) hope.”
He compared it to trying to turn on windshield wipers but not having the car keys — they just don’t work.
Many churches want to be revitalized and get back on a growth pattern, Moore said during the Feb. 9 event, but they have to have hope. Without it the effort is futile.
Hallock preached the first message, suggesting “How to Persevere in Ministry.” He said he often hears from pastors who say, “I just don’t know how I can keep going.”
There are many pressures on ministers, Hallock acknowledged, including unrealized expectations, family matters, complaints from church members, the political climate, divisive members, a lack of spiritual growth and people desiring comforts and privileges instead of going after lost people.
“Church ministry is hard,” Hallock declared, adding, “We need hope that can only be found in the Lord.”
He also noted four reasons for hope in ministry: 1) The Lord is with you and for you, 2) God is sovereign over lives and ministries, 3) God desires faithfulness not “bigness” and 4) Glory is coming.
“Every church matters and every pastor matters.”
The Calvary Family of Churches was established with Calvary Baptist Englewood in 2009, which had 30 people in a struggling church in the suburbs of Denver. Hallock said the people were ready to do whatever it took to reach their community, and they organized for growth and health.
By 2012 they began to enlarge the organization, but instead of building a bigger building or relocating they planted new congregations in Littleton, Aurora and Lakewood.
They consider themselves a “family of churches:” rather than a “multi-site church” or “network,” Hallock noted. There now are 30 congregations in the family: 15 churches and 15 church plants or replants.
He encouraged Missouri Baptists to “rekindle hope,” saying, “It is not us, but the Holy Spirit. We prepare the way for the Holy Spirit to set it on fire. Don’t lose heart!”
John Vernon, director of missions for Cape Girardeau Baptist Association and one of the breakout leaders, told his group, “The Lord gives hope (to churches) through a well-thought-out process. Membership needs to matter. It brings responsibility, not just benefits.”
Vernon noted discipleship should lead to membership and then to leadership.
“It should not be just based on ‘willingness,’” he noted.
Vernon urged the group to discover the leadership they need by nurturing disciples and having clear expectations for membership. Out of that pool comes future church leaders.
Attendance at the summit was at near capacity, Moore noted, and he hopes to have one every year. Currently the Resound Network is engaged with about 30 churches at various levels in the process.
To connect with the network and learn how a church can enter the process of revitalization visit ResoundNetwork.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Richard Nations and originally published by the Pathway.