I play hockey on Thursday nights. We try to talk about anything other than work, but word got around the dressing room that after ten years of serving as the Associate Pastor at Broadway Church, I’d taken this new position at our District Office.
After trying to explain what my new position was (and what a District Office was), I simplified everything down to stating that my goal was to try to assist churches that have plateaued or declined in attendance to find health and growth again.
The room got a bit quiet as they considered my description when the goalie asked, “Isn’t that, like, every church?”
The short answer is... pretty much. According to our newly formed National Revitalization Committee who lead a breakout session at our General Conference in Victoria, I was reminded that church attendance in Canada is trending in decline; attendance in PAOC churches nationally is doing the same but at less of a slope than other denominations. Said differently, we’re leaking slower than most others. Hardly a statistic to celebrate, wouldn’t you agree?
The truth is, if we were completely honest with ourselves, we all need to be continually revitalized, both personally and corporately. Sin is still destroying lives, lost people are all around us, and who of us would ever claim to be fully discipled?
That’s not to say that we’re not working hard. I see a lot of my friends in ministry trying to be a Ministry Superman, but are not seeing the changes that we want and as a result, are looking very, very tired.
Ministry success used to be measured in many circles by hard work and faithfulness, but at some point, those metrics changed. While we had our heads down, with our hands firmly gripped to the plow, leadership dynamics in churches changed. Corrections needed to be made, and frankly, we weren’t all exactly sure what changes needed to be made, when they needed to be made, and worst of all, how they were supposed to be made.
For some of our churches, revitalization is a simple matter of minor recalibrations. For others, it’s a cry for the equivalent of a spiritual defibrillator.
At the end of the day, while we applaud hard work and faithfulness, Jesus holds us accountable for fruitfulness.
I am so grateful that God equips and empowers us for what He calls us too. He has called us to lead fruitful congregations.
Our hope lies in the truth that the Holy Spirit has not diminished in His ability to work in and through us, and there are more church leadership tools and resources to assist us than ever before.
I LOVE the fact that our District Leadership Team and our National Office have essentially sounded the alarm across our Fellowship with the message, “Stop everything. Let us simplify our efforts and regain focus on what needs to matter NOW.” They’ve redefined our priorities for us: Church Multiplication and Revitalization.
There’s an urgency to this, and it’s bigger than trying to meet the goal of our national 2020 Initiative. Lost people are still in need of a Saviour and Jesus is still coming back soon.
So friends, buckle up! We are collectively about to make history together! Our churches are about to experience a new season of LIFE in our Fellowship, and I believe that many of us who are leading churches are about to experience a fresh new joy in serving the Kingdom of God with it.
I am praying that Revitalization will touch each and everyone one of us.
Allow me to close by honouring Pastor Dave Solmes for his leadership and the investment of his life into this role when he sat at the desk I now sit at. As a newbie looking into the world that he led, I am reminded of how generously he gave of his time and talents to serving us all so well. We wish him God’s best as he now leads our Living Waters Church in Fort Langley.
The future is bright.