South Baptist church leaders are coming together to organize a revitalization movement in response to the large numbers of Baptist congregations that are closing their doors.
Joshua Hedger, director of the Center for Church Planting at Midwestern Seminary told the Christian Post, “Churches are closing in large part because they have either become disconnected from culture and/or disconnected from scripture. When this happens, life leaves the church.”
In recent years, 800 to 1,000 Baptist churches close on an annual basis, and the revitalization campaign will move to stop the crisis. The movement not only opens new churches, but also breathes new life into older congregations by changing the leadership.
The revitalization process can come in many forms. “In some cases, a simple change in leadership and culture takes place. Some fully shut down and allow a new church to takes over their facilities, assets, and people. Others find themselves anywhere between those two extremes,” Hedger said.
Some churches also must deal with past issues including “problems caused by members who embodied the works of the flesh” said Dr. Rodney Harrison, a former revitalization pastor. Harrison explained that this part of the procedure can be more painful due to churches not addressing these issues previously.
John Mark Clifton, pastor of a revitalized Baptist church in Missouri said that the process hopes to spark “a real change in the trend of dying and declining churches in North America.”
Publication date: April 15, 2014