How to we renew a local congregation that has been doing the same things for decades without results? Is it possible to “reinvent” a stagnant church before we have to close it?
These and other questions were launched the conversation offered by Rev. Guillermo Martinez, lead pastor of the Life Church of the Nazarene in the city of Campeche, Mexico, and director of the Nazarene Seminary on the West District of Mexico who shared this interesting webinar for SENDAS via Facebook Live.
Pastor Guillermo shared his insights, approaching the subject from his own ministry experience in the church he currently pastors. When Rev. Martinez became the pastor of Vida Church of the Nazarene, 40 years had passed since its founding, it had experiencd situations that caused divisions and internal conflict, the membership was very small, and attendance was inconsistent. Today, just a few years after arriving, the church has a membership of 450 people, and it is still growing.
According to Rev. Guillermo, he had to make five decisions based on fundamental principles for church development which if applied in their different contexts, any congregation can get the positive results toward renewal and growth. Pastor Martinez made it clear that God who helps us achieve growth in order to use us, is the same One who received the honor and glory, but we have to do our part.
His first decision was to have a vision, a plan for the work ahead because when others know the direction, they are going to follow. This is only possible when there is a written vision and structure with concrete mission, objectives, and strategies to follow.
The second decision he made was to have healthy relationships, meaning it is important not to enter into conflict with other people. Many will not be in agreement with the work plan when it involved change. Although there is opposition and there are negative reactions to some of the plans, you have to love the people and pastor them.
The third decision he shared was to change with purpose. All change much be with purpose and more importantly change must be introduced step by step. You should not make changes abruptly or lightly. You should not fill the calendar with activities that have no purpose or do not have clear objectives “just to do them.” One of the main focuses or objectives should be evangelistic.
The next decision he mentioned was to invite influential minds. If there is anything that can help congregations to change mentally it is to invite pastors who see the ministry from another perspective and can share what God has done for them. In this way they contribute significantly to the change mentality of the congregation being motivated by faith and experience.
The fifth decision he shared with us was to have a challenging faith which has to believe in God and has confidence in His support in each project that is planned for the advancement and growth of the congregation. It can be a plan that demands a higher investment of economic resources, materials, people, time, etc., but there must be confidence that God is opening the necessary doors to provide for these resources.
Pastor Guillermo recognizes that these five decisions have helped him in the process of renewing his congregation, and today they are experiencing constant growth even in the middle of a global pandemic. Praise the Lord!
Rev. Felipe Flores
Host of SENDAS Webinars
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