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 two right 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 renewal. They realize that doing the same thing week after week, month after month and year after years isn’t making the impact it once did.
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 rising 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 is 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 the 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 are other items that can wait. Most people would try the “turn the ship slowly” rule.
I would recommend making tough decisions quickly rather than slower.
Don’t 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 some time usually need quick change so that life can take place once again.
Note on change: Don’t make unneeded changes based solely on your personal preferences. If you can’t clearly articulate the reason and its value, put it on the back burner.