Dictionary.com defines replanting: “To plant (something) again or in a new place…”
With regards to a church replant, a church avoids permanent death by recognizing it will no longer flourish unless conditions are drastically changed to facilitate growth.
Here are some facts about churches in the USA that most pastors and church planters have heard:
1) 3,500 churches in the USA close every year.
2) 85% of all churches are in decline or have plateaued.
Can anything be done to stop these closures or to reverse the decline? Of course there is!
I have heard that it is easier to birth a baby then raise the dead. So….why would anyone try to revive a dying church?
There are 2 good answers:
1) Because there are people in the church that God cares about. These people are probably the most faithful and have been praying for some type of renewal.
2) Because with God’s help….it can be done. It’s not easy…but it is possible. Just ask my brothers in Nigeria about people raising from the dead : )
The process begins with a primary vision carrier – much like a typical church planter. The replanter however must have some additional skill sets. You see, they must be able to reorganize and pastor without the help of a core team that are excited about the “new” church. Typically, a replant consists of a leader and some people but people who are somewhat burned out. The excitement of church…has gone.
The replanter must make tough decisions. I liken these decisions to that of a triage nurse – there are things that need immediate attention and there other items that can wait. Most people would try the “turn the ship slowly” rule. I would recommend making tough decisions quicker rather than slower. Dont worry about losing people. Do what you are lead to do as the leader! The smaller the group, the faster you can make changes! Small groups that have been around for a period of time usually need quick change so that life can take place once again.
Note on change: Dont make unneeded changes based solely on your personal preferences. There should be a reason for change. If you can’t clearly articulate it and it’s value, put it on the back burner.