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Resources for Revitalization

"See, I am making all things new." (Revelation 21:5)

In order to assist leaders of existing churches in the process of revitalization, we offer this list of field-tested resources.

We invite pastors and other leaders who have successfully used revitalization resources and tools that are not named in this list to submit them for posting. To contribute your resource(s), please email Joann Koning.

Resources

All Things New: A Fable of Renewal, by Rodger Price
     Contact Rodger Price, rprice@rca.org
This book introduces pastors to the benefits of belonging to a network–a small group of five to seven pastors who covenant to meet regularly for fellowship, accountability, and spiritual renewal. Also check out the online section for an electronic copy, discussion questions, and more resources. 

Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change, by David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney
     Recommended by Ken Eriks and Elaine Tetreault
     Contact: keriks@rca.org; etetreault@rca.org

Better Together: What on Earth Are We Here For? (40 Days of Community Workbook), by Rick Warren
     Recommended by John Kapteyn
     Contact: jkapteyn@reformed-church.com

Congregational Mission Assessment, by Thomas G. Bandy (www.easumbandy.com)
     Recommended by Arlen TenClay
     Contact: arlanministry@hotmail.com
These are comprehensive guides designed to uncover the roots of congregational identity and, from this foundation, build enthusiasm for and commitment to God's vision for your church. This process comes before the strategic planning stage and helps ensure that future strategic plans are on target and achievable. It's not brainstorming, daydreaming, or wishful thinking; it is a spiritual formation process in which God's vision is revealed in the context of the shared values and beliefs unique to your congregation. It takes three to nine months to complete the process, which includes preaching, congregational gatherings, and a three to eight person team. These resources are meant to be used in conjunction with these books: Moving Off the Map: A Field Guide to Changing the Congregation, by Thomas G. Bandy Coaching Change: Breaking Down Resistance, Building Up Hope, by Thomas G. Bandy

Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations, by Gil Rendle and Alice Mann (Alban Institute).
      Recommended by Rodney Veldhuizen
      Contact: revrod@jw.net
This book offers many practical tools to help a congregation take on the task of strategic planning and integrate it into the structure of the church. Included are practical tools like "Building A Planning Committee," "Favorite Hymn Exercise," "Developing a History Grid," and much more.

ReFocusing by Church Resource Ministries
      Recommended by Rodney Veldhuizen
      Contact: revrod@jw.net
ReFocusing, from Church Resource Ministries, is a two-phase revitalization process that integrates the personal renewal of leaders with the revitalization of their churches. You can find information on the refocusing program by clicking here.

While you may not want to engage in the full two-year process, assembling your leadership team for the three visioning summits is a very valuable exercise. Visioning summits are extended conversations around the questions such as: Where have we been? Where are we going? and How are we going to get there? The interim minister who served my current congregation took the church leadership through the process before my arrival; when the congregation participated in the NCD survey, our scores were the highest in our group and, at that time, the highest in our region. The only variable had been the intentional focusing process initiated by the interim minister. We continue to use this focusing process on a regular basis (in an abbreviated format) to keep ourselves thinking about where God is at work and how we could best join him.

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis and SWOT Worksheet
    Recommended by Aaron Anderson
    Contact: pastoraaron@graceofholland.org
A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method commonly used in the business world to evaluate an organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal characteristics, while opportunities and threats are external conditions that could affect the organization's work. These four areas are then compared to see if there are special alignments that might make strategic sense to pursue. Google "SWOT" to learn more about the method.

The Ministry of the Elder: Guiding and Nurturing God's People, by Robert White
The Ministry of the Deacon: As One Who Serves, by Betty Voskuil
     Recommended by Ellen Ratmeyer and Desiree Albizu
     Contact: eratmeyer@rca.org, albizu@valstar.net
These concise, Scripture-based guides help deacons and elders understand their roles as leaders in the Reformed Church in America. The books' appendices are filled with exercises and resources to help round out deacons' and elders' knowledge and skills. A great read for any new consistory member!

Twelve Keys to an Effective Church, by Ken Callahan.
      Recommended by Rodney Veldhuizen
      Contact: revrod@jw.net
Callahan looks at a way to assess the health of our congregations without needing to hire an expert from outside the church.

Twelve Steps to Congregational Transformation: A Practical Guide for Leaders, by David C. Laubach and Thomas G. Bandy
     Recommended by Arlen TenClay
     Contact: arlanministry@hotmail.com

Unbinding the Gospel, by Martha Grace Reese.
     Recommended by John Sanders
     Contact: pastorjohn@oldbrickchurch.org

The Choice is Ours: Fall Asleep--

"As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept"
(Matthew 25:5).


OR

Revive, Renew, and Multiply.

"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul" (Psalm 19:7).

 

 

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