When Does a Pastor Leave a Revitalization Effort? Six Questions to Ask

Episode #064
October 25, 2018
Revitalize & Replant Podcast Logo

Lack of progress in church revitalization can lead to frustration and a desire to leave. But before you do, you should ask yourself the six questions we cover today.

Today’s Listener Question:


Hi Thom and Jonathan. This is my second church revitalization pastorate. The first church was an incredibly hard situation, but also an incredible turnaround. It’s doing great. I came into a larger setting for this ministry with excitement to see it happen again. I have been here 4 years now. We have tackled all the major issues while at the same time being hit with challenges and setbacks no one saw coming. How long should a pastor stay when they are not seeing progress even though we are working hard? My fear is that I will now become the reason the church can’t turn around. During these 4 years I had to kill a number of beloved ministries because we couldn’t staff them and grow our needed ministries (kids min, Bible studies and outreach). Even after reflecting and praying about all the major change we have led through, they were all the right call and handled with great care. But they still hurt. I wonder if sometimes the guy who leads the hardest change doesn’t get to be the guy who sees the good results of that leadership.

Episode Highlights:

  • Pastors in revitalizations often have a stronger desire to leave than desire to stay.
  • Prayer is an issue of priority in a revitalization.
  • “If Daniel could sleep in the lions’ den, pastor, you can sleep in the parsonage.”
  • We need to celebrate wins more often in churches.

The six questions to ask when considering a revitalization are:

  1. How have I prayed about it?
  2. How is my family doing?
  3. How am I handling it physically, spiritually, and emotionally?
  4. Am I seeing beyond the short-term?
  5. Have I celebrated sufficiently?
  6. Have I led in an outward focus sufficiently?

Resources mentioned in this episode include:

Revitalize & Replant is sponsored by the North American Mission Board and ChurchReplanters.com. More than 10% of churches in North America are at risk of closing and the North American Mission Board is committed to reversing this trend by decreasing the death rate of existing churches while simultaneously increasing the birth rate of new churches. To learn more about what it means to become a replanting pastor or to explore resources for replanting and revitalization in your own church, visit ChurchReplanters.com.

Submit Your Question:

Do you have a question about church revitalization or replanting for us to use on the podcast? Visit the podcast page to submit your question. If we use it on the show, you’ll get a copy of Autopsy of a Deceased Church and Reclaiming Glory.