Fast food and speedy check outs have become a way of life for many people and households. We live in a world where the idea of, “needing it now” is normal. Many kids grow up seeing their parents rushing around in life, so much so that it has become second nature. This is easily observed at times when the internet goes out. Families, coworkers, or friends have to put their phones down and talk to each other.
During times of survival, there are times where we won’t think straight. With our hearts pumping and the adrenaline flowing, we tend to act on the first plan that comes to our minds. This, however, could be the most dangerous thing we could do. We need to slow down and think out the plan before we take action.
In the church it is no different. When we start to see the numbers on Sunday dwindle, there are pastors or church members who can start to go into a panic. Then on Monday they begin to make plans in order to bring the numbers back up. Although this sounds great, like in outdoor survival, the pastor could go with the first plan that comes to his mind, and that may not be the best plan. In order to survive, we need the best plan that will have a lasting effect, not just a quick plan that may have no effect at all.
Don’t be too eager to move
Many times in a survival situation, people want to move. That whole mindset of “the grass is always greener on the other side” gets people into big trouble. When we get impatient with our surroundings, we get careless and this can one of the biggest and possibly the deadliest decisions we could ever make. If a person feels like they are in the middle of nowhere, they may think if they just keep walking, they will come upon a road, river, or town. This is not always the case. Most of the time, the best plan is to stay put and wait for help. Although, there may be times where you must move, but this should in a matter of life and death case, but do not move until that is the last option.
Within the church we can be eager to move in many ways. This happens when we start to see the church plateauing or declining. When we notice the numbers of average additions dropping, we want to take action to get the numbers back to where they were before. And although something needs to be done, one cannot make unwise or rash decision while doing church revitalization.
When you are looking at the survival of your church, you need to take your time and remember that Rome was not built in a day. Church Revitalization is a minimal investment of 1000 days. So when doing church revitalization, take your time and do it right. Moving too fast can result in a waste of time, energy and resources which in both a survival situation and church revitalization could mean death. There is no magic pill that will double the size of your church overnight. Be smart and do it right.
Don’t lose your temper
Losing your temper in a survival setting will cause you to stop thinking. You could have the best survival skills or even be an expert, but a person’s temper will always get the best of them. When something irritating happens, and it will, stop. Take a deep breath and relax. Start over if necessary but don’t lose your temper.
When I was pastoring my first church I got into the nasty habit of counting heads. Every Sunday I made sure to stand in the back of the church and count every head that was seated in the sanctuary. Now understand that I was pastoring a church of about 20 people on an average Sunday and when someone or worst yet, a family missed a Sunday, our numbers took a major hit.
I was getting to the point where I actually started to get upset at families that would take vacations because I knew that Sunday’s numbers would be low. I allowed my temper to get the best of me and it would ruin my day of worship.
How did I fix this? I stopped counting. Just one day I decided that would not allow the numbers to affect my worship or my preaching. I would preach as if I was standing in front of hundreds of people each Sunday.
We allow things to bother us in the church or we beat ourselves up if something fails. Understand that you’re not perfect and not everything you will do is going to work. Use what works and learn from what doesn’t work and move on. Know that God wants the church to survive and will fight for you.
Face the Facts
A person’s worst weakness is thinking that something bad will not happen to them. Once you start to believe this, you have lost. People get into major trouble in the outdoors because they don’t believe that they will ever be in a survival situation. Know you cannot prepare for every situation but preparing for nothing is the worst. Face the Facts, the world is a dangerous place and without warning, your life can be in danger.
In the church you need to know that there will be times of change. Your church will grow, your church will plateau, and your church will decline. Every church has been in one or all of these areas. The congregation and the pastor loves to see the church grow and hopes it will never stop. But when the church starts to plateau or decline, sometimes the congregation and pastor try to avoid the situation by not admitting there is a problem.
The only way to get help is by admitting there is a problem and once you find out the problem you are one step closer to finding a solution. Know that the enemy wants to destroy your church and congregation. Know he will stop and nothing to make this happen. Face the facts, danger does exist and you do not want to be one of the dangers by not realizing the church needs help.
Church revitalization takes time and patience and although you want to move, remember that undue haste makes waste. Your church can once again be healthy as long as you seek God and focus on the task at hand. Stay calm and do the work God has called you to do.