Church renewal


Brett Gleason D.Min.
This project focuses on the best practices of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) as it seeks to support the replanting or reestablishment of local churches that are considered “dying” because of their unsustainability and inevitably will close. The project thesis is that replants that implement these best practices have more conversions, more growth, and a higher survivability rate than those that do not. Both best practices of replanted churches and denominations that support them were identified in this study. The field work was completed using qualitative research methodology through a series of interviews, surveys, and document review.

Ten best practices of replanted churches were identified. (1) Replant pastor develops pastoral skills before replanting. (2) The church has a disciple making emphasis. (3) The pastor models evangelism. (4) The church serves the community. (5) The church prays evangelistically. (6) The church uses a holistic approach to evangelism training. (7) The church has evangelistic worship services. (8) The church has a vibrant small group ministry. (9) The church has a Connections Ministry Team. (10) The church is committed to Children’s Ministry.

Ten best practices of denominations were identified. (1) Clear distinctions between revitalization, replanting, and church planting. (2) Denominational staff designated for replanting. (3) There is a vision for replanting. (4) A clear process for replanting is developed. (5) The denomination adapts and modifies church planting systems for replanting. (6) The church has a replanting residency. (7) There is an assessment process for dying churches. (8) Interim pastors are utilized in the replanting process. (9) An oversight board oversees the replanting efforts. (10) There is a committed sending church for the replant.

A Strategy for Revitalizing Calvary Christian Church through the Baptist Resource Network's Three Key Behaviors

Robert James Fontell Jr. D.Min.
Statistics indicate that thousands of churches have experienced decline to such an extent that without intervention, these churches will reach the death stage in the life cycle of the church. However, churches do not have to experience the final stages of the life cycle of the church because they possess the potential for renewed growth. Pastors can learn the skill of leading a church through revitalization.

This project will examine principles that bring life and transformation to the local church through biblical research on church health, the study of the life cycle of a church, common biblical behaviors of healthy churches, and their impact on declining churches. It will seek to explain the evangelistic efforts that addressed the decline experienced by Calvary Christian Church (CCC), Northeast Philadelphia, PA, and brought the beginnings of revitalization. The biblical research describes the development of an evangelism strategy that will change the culture of the church to rediscover its mission and foster a healthy state.

Enhancing the Project Director’s Text Driven Preaching Skills toward Church Revitalization at Ridgeview Baptist Church, Danville, Illinois

Robert Kevin Mims
The project’s purpose addressed text-driven preaching as one of the methods available to pastors and church leaders searching for a remedy or program to help revive the local church. Church revitalization has become critical as pastors eagerly search for ways and means to church renewal. Opportunities to reach congregations concerning church revitalization during the most populous gatherings, those occurring on Sunday morning, are missed. This project enhanced the project director's skill in text-driven preaching in conveying and convicting the congregation at Ridgeview Baptist Church in Danville, Illinois, of the understanding and need for church revitalization and, most importantly, participating in the church’s renewal.

Personal Equipping for More Faithful Text-Driven Preaching in Pursuit of Church Revitalization

James David Matlock II D.Min.
This project argues that the first step to church revitalization is the revitalization of the pulpit ministry. Then, it explores the biblical basis for text-driven preaching and its role in the revitalization of the local church.
Chapter 1 introduces the thesis of the project, explaining the need for pulpit revitalization in the life of the church today.
Chapter 2 explores the role of preaching from a biblical and theological perspective as it relates to the need for evangelism and church revitalization.
Chapter 3 explore the vital role that preaching plays in the ministry of church revitalization.
Chapter 4 examines the need to apply sound hermeneutics and improving homiletical skills in the effort to revitalize the student’s pulpit ministry.
Chapter 5 is an evaluation of the project, which includes feedback from pastors and professors who critiqued selected sermons preached by the student.

Developing a Replant Strategy to Equip Living Hope Dunbar Cave to Reach the Unchurched in Central Clarksville, Tennessee.

Blake Cordaris Allen D.Min.
Replanting efforts fulfill God’s desire for spiritual flourishing and gospel advancement. The goal of church replanting is to go from dying to flourishing. There is no pleasure found in the closing of a church that bears the name of Christ. For this reason, dying churches need biblical solutions to address their current conditions. The purpose of this project was to develop a replanting strategy to equip Living Hope Dunbar Cave to reach the unchurched in Central Clarksville, Tennessee. Chapter 1 presents the history and ministry context of Living Hope Dunbar Cave and the goals of this project. Chapter 2 provides an exegesis of three passages of Scripture (Ezek. 37:1-6; Rev. 3:1–6; Acts 2:40–47) to show that replanting efforts fulfill God’s desire for spiritually flourishing churches and gospel advancement. Chapter 3 presents the practical reasons for church replanting, including biblical stewardship, encouragement, and community vibrancy through gospel advancement. Chapter 4 describes the details and descriptions of the project itself, recounting the project goals, content, and teaching methodology of the eight-week series. Chapter 5 evaluates the effectiveness of the project based on the completion of the project goals. Ultimately, this project intended to take the first step in equipping churches for church replanting.

Training Members of New Life Gospel Church in Keller, Texas to Understand the Love of God for Sustained Spiritual Growth

Tiejun Wang
New Life Gospel Church (NLGC) Keller, TX a Chinese immigrant church, has been at a bottleneck for quite a while. The situation was analyzed through biblical research, historical review, and theoretical study. The analysis revealed that the Christians of NLGC Keller were still living in a state of spiritual war. Then, the project was designed to focus on solving this issue through ongoing heart transformation by the love of God.
The project is called “heart transformation project.” Only God’s love can transform the heart. Therefore, Christians’ hearts must be put into the circulation of God’s love. The argument is whether God’s love can continue transforming Christians’ hearts. If Christians’ hearts can continue transforming through receiving and giving God’s love in the love-circulating system, the church will certainly grow up sustainably.
Focusing on heart transformation, the project can be utilized as a discipleship training program. Through the process of transformation by God’s love, Christians are expected to grow up quickly to become acceptable to God after His own heart.

Equipping Church Leaders for the Task of Instilling a Missional Mindset into Their Congregations

Mark L Sadley D.Min.
For various reasons, homogeneous Anglo churches in demographically changing communities frequently experience a severe decline in membership. Unless such congregations adopt a missional mindset that seeks to reach other ethnicities and socioeconomic groups, they will cease to exist. This project aims to create a strategy for pastors and church leaders to guide them as they seek to instill such a mindset into their congregations.
The first section of this project will briefly trace the church’s understanding of the Missio Dei over time. It will set forth the proper role of the church as a participant in God’s mission. It will also emphasize the responsibilities of church leadership concerning discipleship, stressing the critical need for assembling a team of discipled leaders before initiating significant change programs. A discussion of the applicability of McGavran’s homogeneous unit principle to the planning of missional outreach will conclude this section.
The following sections will examine the process of leading organizational change. After explaining the various reasons individuals resist change, the author will describe and compare the change leadership principles advanced by noted secular and Christian authorities. Principles common to each group will then be juxtaposed with the change leadership actions of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul. The author will use the resultant listing as the basis for creating an effective strategy for instilling a missional mindset into congregations. That strategy will be the basis of a presentation to be used in training sessions targeted at church leaders. The dissertation will conclude with the creation of a presenter’s manual to be used in upcoming Equip to Serve leadership training workshops.

A Strategy to Develop Change Readiness for Succession Plans in a Post-Baby Boomer Era at First Baptist Church in Crowley, Texas

Aaron William Summers D.Min.
The Church is at a tipping point. Over the next five-to-ten years, decisions made by the local church will either prepare it for closure or seize the future for the Kingdom. The Western Church loses the second-largest generation when the Baby Boomers [Boomers] either die or become unable to continue attending and serving.
Is the church prepared? Is the church constructing a succession plan for when the Boomers are gone? The church will experience extreme shifts during this transition in leadership style, methodology, authenticity, polity, structure, and behavior. This project sought to understand the complexities of the coming generational transition and provide a starting point through the development of the change readiness of First Baptist Church [FBCC], Crowley, Texas.
The results of the project revealed an increase in change readiness for organizational succession planning after a sermon series designed to promote understanding and readiness toward change. These findings demonstrate that with proper biblical presentation and much prayer, the local church can be hopeful for the future.

Designing a Replant Strategy for Chattahoochee Baptist Church, Marietta, Georgia

Christopher Scott Rourk
The project's purpose was to design a replant strategy for Chattahoochee Baptist Church (CBC) in Marietta, Georgia. The replant pastor of the church was the project director. The project model implemented for the project was the strategy planning model which included four project goals and two professional goals.

The project director explored internal and external demographics of CBC and the surrounding East Cobb, Georgia, community to develop an accurate church profile. Exploration of successful replant models and other Doctor of Ministry replant projects determined best replant practices which the project director compiled. The project director selected and trained a strategy planning team who assisted designing the replant strategy. Finally, the project director presented the replant strategy to the CBC church body for approval.

The project director pursued two professional goals for the duration of the project. The first professional goal sought to improve the project director's strategic leadership skills while advancing him as a leader in the area of church replanting. The second professional goal increased the project director's knowledge in church replanting, developing him into an expert in the replanting churches.

Developing a revitalization Strategy for Bethel Baptist Church, Pleasant Grove, Alabama

J. Eric Taylor
The purpose of this project was to develop a revitalization strategy for Bethel Baptist Church, Pleasant Grove, Alabama. The project director gathered demographic data for the city of Pleasant Grove, Alabama, as well as a three-mile ring surrounding the church. Additionally, the project director analyzed internal church data and surveyed the congregation to augment his research. The community and church data helped the project director produce a profile of the trends in the community and congregation. The project director researched church revitalization models and methods, interviewed pastors involved in revitalization, and read extensively on the subject of revitalization. This investigation produced a report of best practices and potential steps toward revitalization. A team of strategic leaders in the church served as the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) and the project director led this team through a process to develop the strategy for revitalization. Various groups in the church received the presentation of the revitalization strategy and their input produced a final version of the presentation to be presented to the church body. The project director along with the SRT presented the proposed strategy to the congregation for approval. The church unanimously approved the strategy in a business meeting called for December 1, 2021.
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