Elders and Pastors Explore Church Revitalization

Nearly 150 elders and pastors from 52 churches around the Upper Columbia Conference gathered at Camp MiVoden in Idaho Feb. 21-23 to explore the principles of church revitalization at the Elders’ and Pastors’ Retreat.

For several years, the Mid-America Union has helped churches move into a growth mode. They started with nine churches and more recently expanded to an additional 52 churches. Gary Brady, pastor, and Dave Card, elder, of one of these churches that is experiencing revitalization made presentations at the retreat along with Doug Kilcher, who coordinates the church revitalization program and is ministerial director of the Mid-America Union.

The three-member team assured the attendees that small churches could experience renewal and growth. But they pointed out that it requires a significant commitment over a number of years on the part of the members.

Brady shared the story of his church in Clinton, Mo. In four years of focusing on revitalization, this church went from an average attendance of 30 elderly members to 100 attendees of all ages. Now the Clinton Church is involved in the community and reaching out in a variety of ways.

The revital-ization team emphasized the importance of discovering God’s vision for a church. The success of a church rests with God and the willingness of the members to cooperate with His plan. Once the members are united in pursuing God’s vision, the team encourages a church to participate in a self-assessment process using the Natural Church Development plan. The Upper Columbia Conference provides this service through the Church Ministries Consulting Service. After this look into the mirror, a church is ready to implement God’s vision for the future.

Many of the elders and pastors who attended the retreat were excited with what they learned and want to share with their churches. It is their hope that their churches will soon be taking the journey to renewal and revitalization.