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August-September 2016


Relentless Parenting


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Three Steps to Church Revitalization

By Jim McComas


Last year, my wife Beth had partial replacement surgery on both knees. She had put the surgery off for quite some time, but we finally scheduled it when I would be off the road and able to take care of her during her extended rehabilitation and recovery. The weeks and months after the procedure were certainly anything but fun—pain, hours of rehab, and discouraging setbacks, all of which left my wife wondering, “Why in the world did I have this done?”

Six months after surgery, however, my wife has recovered wonderfully. The mobility and agility she now enjoys are far better than the pain she had endured before the surgery. Truly, at the end of the day, the pain was well worth the gain she received.

The process of church revitalization is much like my wife’s procedure. While it is not enjoyable by any means, it is necessary. The church cannot function like it ought unless painful and difficult changes are made. Please notice that I did not use the words “simple” or “easy” in the title of this article. While I believe these principles are sound and will lead to nothing but good things for our churches, they are by no means easy to implement. Just like corrective surgery, however, I believe that the results will be worth the effort. With that in mind, let’s consider the steps to revitalization every church needs to take:


We need to lift the Pastor UP.

I am completely aware that our denomination has had its share of “bad apples” in some of our pulpits, pastors who have been unreasonable, illogical, and some even immoral. Yet, for every lazy, apathetic, and ineffective pastor, I can show you ten God-called, dedicated, hard-working, sincere, and sacrificial ones.

Furthermore, I believe some of the biggest problems we face in churches today—and certainly some of the biggest hindrances to growth—are church members who refuse to submit to the Spirit-guided leadership of the pastor. The sad truth is, many church members think their pastor is great…until he does something they don’t agree with or preaches something that “steps on their toes.”

How many churches have run their pastor off, only to discover that while they got what they wanted, they lost what they had. Let the pastor be the pastor. Rather than picking apart his family, his preaching, and his personality, let’s do more praying for, praising, and supporting him.


We need to get the trouble OUT.

Recently in Switzerland, the Hadron Collider, a 17-mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons together at nearly the speed of light, had a mechanical failure that caused it to shut down temporarily. When the cause of the failure was investigated, it was found that a small rodent, probably a weasel, had gnawed through some electrical wires. Incredibly, the tiny mammal managed to shut down one of the world’s most powerful and expensive scientific instruments.

For too long, many of our churches have tolerated noisy troublemakers in their midst. Power hungry and rebellious, these men and women put their own agenda ahead of God’s plan for the church with an “It’s my way or the highway” attitude. Usually, it’s not a huge number, but even one or two left unchecked can do immeasurable damage to the church and the cause of Christ.

Please don’t misunderstand; I am not talking about godly, well-meaning church members who handle legitimate concerns biblically. I am talking about hateful and mean-spirited rabble-rousers who thrive on controversy and confrontation. Our churches will never be all God intended until such people are confronted and disciplined. And yes, sometimes a “back-door revival” is necessary. It’s time we deal with the weasels in the church.


Finally, we need to bring the lost IN.

This past Sunday, I walked into the sanctuary of the church where I was starting a revival and sat down on the front row. All of a sudden, folks headed towards me from every area of the auditorium with big smiles on their faces. Everyone in the choir turned in my direction, grinning from ear to ear.

Just when I thought to myself, “This has to be the friendliest church I have ever attended,” all of those folks went right past me to a baby carrier in the next pew. You see, a family in the church had brought their newborn baby to church for the first time. Both sets of grandparents also attended the church, and it was the first grandchild for all of them. Needless to say, excitement filled the air as folks lined up and down the aisles to take pictures, utter “oohs and ahs,” and to give congratulations.

As I watched the crowd gathered around this family, I thought, “There’s nothing like a new baby to bring excitement to the church house.”

Once a God-called pastor is serving in his proper place in the church, and once the church members are all on board with the vision of the church, then the atmosphere is right to bring some lost folks to church and see them won to Christ. No plan can revitalize a church faster or more effectively than a soul-winning plan. Why? Because a new life brings excitement to the house of God!

I truly believe if we follow these three steps, we can see real revival come to our churches. Will it be easy? No. Will the process be painful? Yes, no doubt. But is it worth it? The answer is emphatically, Yes!

Just ask my wife.

About the Writer: Jim McComas is director of church revitalization for North American Ministries. To learn more about church revitalization or the work of NAM, visit




©2016 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists