Earlier this year, Ronjour Locke sat down with Andy Davis, Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Durham, to discuss church revitalization and the many challenges associated with it.
Why should current or future pastors consider revitalization?
“I would really sum it up in one significant word and that’s the word “stewardship.” There is a stewardship of many resources and of the representation of Christ in that community, of the building, of the people. More than anything the people. That you could come in as a revitalizing pastor and really bring joy and hope and strength to a remnant of people that were praying and are praying for that very thing to happen in their church.”
“There is a representation of Christ in that local church that’s been damaged in that community that could be repaired for the glory and honor of His name.”
Stand firm and trust in God’s Word to do its work, and don’t look for a gimmick or a technique.
What would be some wisdom that you would give to someone considering revitalization?
“It’s different in some sense than normal pastoral ministry — in some sense, there is absolute overlap.”
“There are no guarantees. I wrote a book on it, other people have written really good books. There is no formula that if you do that you’ll definitely get revitalizations. Recognize the sovereignty of God in that. God may will for you to be a witness and a testimony, much like Jeremiah, but he is not changing the outcome…and that’s a difficult ministry. But, you go in with hope and you trust that God’s Word is going to be powerful and effective and change that church.”
Should a pastor ever feel like they should step down from revitalizing a church and how should pastors think through a decision like that?
“I think as a godly man you can leave a church without sinning…It’s not like marriage to your wife where you promise till death do you part. But, I think we need to model steadfastness. We need to model staying at your post. So there need to be significant indications, and the fact that you’re suffering isn’t one of them.”
“I don’t think we can be running from suffering. You can choose suffering in this place or another place, but you can’t choose no suffering. So just because you are going through a hard time actually may be indications that Satan is threatened, that God is at work, and you just need to stand firm and suffer well.”