Restart Based CP REVISED

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Published on January 28, 2008

Author: Modest

Source: authorstream.com

The Restart-based Church Plant :  The Restart-based Church Plant By Tom Cheyney The Restart-based Church Plant:  The Restart-based Church Plant The restart-based church plant model is being used all across North America. Any group planting churches should have a restart church planting strategy if it is going to be a wise steward. A complete change of leadership and direction is a must for this model to be successful. The Restart-based Church Plant:  The Restart-based Church Plant A Church in the thriving San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles had dwindled to just a handful of members. They finally decided to die, deeding their property over to the local association and relinquishing control. Three years ago, the church planting steering called a planter as the restart pastor. Since then, the church has grown to 70 in attendance on Sunday mornings. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant When we're talking about a true "restart," I am not referring to the typical small, struggling church that finds fresh life and growth. Nor am I looking at mergers or relocation of existing churches. A church that is a candidate for a restart-based church plant has already disbanded, or is almost ready to do so. The church has dwindled down to a handful of survivors who are too tired to continue. It is a church that must have leadership and resources outside itself. God uses the local director of missions or state denomination to help bring back to life a "restart-based church plant." The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant When a parenting church, or field partner, seeks to aid a dying congregation with a solid revitalization project, reality must be squarely faced. Decisions must be made that are often hard for the declining church. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant It is hard to admit sometimes, but the concept of letting the declining or dying church die is huge if you are going to restart and make it a growing new work. For good healthy change, there needs to be a spiritual death for that church. There is mixed opinion in the area of whether a restart should close up for a time or continue on. I believe a case could be made for closing, if not for even a short time. Some, to be fair, say that a rebirth of vision is all that is needed. That may be too optimistic. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant Just how do you go about restarting a dead church? In talking to restart pastors and denominational leaders across the country, these seven principles come up again and again: Make sure there is growth potential in the facility’s location. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant Not every church is a good candidate for a restart-based church plant. Rural areas that are losing population, areas of ethnic change, and declining neighborhoods are difficult. The area around a restart church needs to have a definable target group of sufficient size, which may be effectively reached by the type of ministry the local association or state convention has to offer. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 2. Celebrate the Existing Church's Past. Before the existing church passes away, gather to celebrate its victories and glorious past. As one church got ready to close, an elderly member was asked to prepare a history of the church for distribution at the final service. It then becomes a time of joyful memories shared. Think about asking four or five members to share as part of the celebration. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 2. Celebrate the Existing Church's Past. Use those who have been there the longest. Consider using some type of candle ceremony. Ask the oldest (length of membership) members to light a candle, working down to the newest. This is a very significant way to symbolize the ministry they once had. Conclude the worship service with great hymns of faith and the Lord’s Supper. Finally, move into a period of “Starting Something New,” led by the local Association Director of Missions or State Executive Minister. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 3. Close the Doors of the Church for a Time. Many new restart planters often wonder if closing the doors might have helped the restart. Comments are usually the same, and surround ideas such as: "We are not sure we ever died.” "The old church never closed.” “Services continued under interim leadership. To older members, it seems like we went through a sickness and a trauma, which we have now come out of. If we had closed the church, renamed it and done some remodeling, the community would have realized what was happening. In the business world we would have put out a sign that said 'Under New Management.’” The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 3. Close the Doors of the Church for a Time. Here is the point: You lost an opportunity to say something new to the community. One restart planter said it this way, "Have we really severed ties with the past? If we would have shut down, let the building take care of itself and kept mortgage payments going, maybe we could have crossed these hurdles better." The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 4. Transfer control from local church power brokers to a steering committee of mostly outsiders One of the most common blocks to growth in a dying congregation is leadership that is closed to faith and vision for the future. Often, these entrenched “old timers” have run off the very people who could have provided vital ministry. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 4. Transfer control from local church power brokers to a steering committee of mostly outsiders The failure to effectively change the leadership contributed to the failure of a restart of an old urban church in Boston. "The nucleus of old timers were still trying to call the shots and were not willing to see change," recalls a state denominational member. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 4. Transfer control from local church power brokers to a steering committee of mostly outsiders "When the few new people showed up, they were intimidated by the older core of people. Right from the beginning," he counsels, "make sure you have the cooperation of the church people involved. Here, there was an indication that the church people were only half-hearted about cooperating." The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 4. Transfer control from local church power brokers to a steering committee of mostly outsiders One restart church in Philadelphia didn't use a steering committee. "We did not follow the guidelines for a restart, and I think that was a tragic mistake. We never closed. Lay leadership never changed. This has been one of the greatest obstacles to growth." The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 4. Transfer control from local church power brokers to a steering committee of mostly outsiders A steering committee of outsiders dilutes the power base that has blocked growth and allows a new dream to develop. The meetings should be very focused without the same rhetoric, the same conflict and the same discussion over the same issues. It's more visionary. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 4. Transfer control from local church power brokers to a steering committee of mostly outsiders Even a steering committee may not break all the negative power struggles. One pastor says, "The people from the restart church on the steering committee are part of the old power group." Another comments, "There have been a couple of key people who have been very reluctant to see anything change, and they exert a powerful influence. They're domineering and can throw a wet blanket on any new idea. People will sometimes outvote them, but you lose the thrust." The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 5. Change the church's name One church in New York state decided to change their name as they entered the restart process. “One of the things that was most symbolic for this church in giving up their identity was to change its name. That way the people in the community could see that it was not just the same old group limping along, but a new church.” The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 5. Change the church's name Another important symbol might be transferring ownership of the property to the local association or state denomination office for a time. While this seems drastic, death is drastic. It should be done for the right reasons, though. The protection the church receives from being taken over by outside groups is secondary to its symbolic value of death and breaking of power. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 6. Develop a fresh vision for the community Without a mission beyond its own survival, a restart church is neither new nor viable. The word restart is not fully appropriate. Remember, you are not going to restart the old ministry. You are there to make a new beginning. You will have a new name, a new vision and a new purpose. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 7. Call a new church pastor with energy and faith Restarting a church takes mountains of energy, and the faith in God's power necessary to ward off discouragement. One of the common ailments in a restart situation is the people's tiredness. "You fix it for us pastor," they seem to say. Trying to do it all will burn out a planter in short order. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 7. Call a new church pastor with energy and faith The pastor's energy must be focused on growth. "If the church doesn't die," observes one restart pastor, "the new life brought in by a new pastor is expected to revitalize the old traditions and there's not enough energy left to do something new." That's the single theme which one hears again and again from restart pastors: make sure the church is really willing to die and help it seal this decision with significant symbols: name, control, property, etc. The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant 7. Call a new church pastor with energy and faith A pastor on the East Coast recalls, "When I first moved here, I thought the denomination had done the right thing by not closing the church. I thought I could build on the church's standing in the community. But it's like what Jesus said, 'You can't put new wine in old wine skins.' It's taken me a while to see you just should not leave everything intact." Other Things to Consider in Restart Based Church Planting:  Other Things to Consider in Restart Based Church Planting To use this model, it is critical that a restart contract be developed between the old church and the new church plant. Appoint a transition committee (TC) that is made up of those outside the existing church. Empower the TC to make all decisions from the beginning. Research target area for what type of new work will have the greatest chance for survival. Other Things to Consider in Restart Based Church Planting:  Other Things to Consider in Restart Based Church Planting Begin outreach activities and new church core group development. Begin seeking God for a church planter for the new work. Start the countdown to the new church launch and grand opening! The Restart Based Church Plant:  The Restart Based Church Plant A Final Restart Observation In human life and in church life: A period of feeble health you can expect from an elderly person who recovers from a grave illness. Resurrection is only possible from a corpse.

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