“I started a church today!” exclaimed Samuel Powers our congregation multiplication director as he returned to the office from a successful field visit with the potential sponsor of a new congregation.
I responded as the missions division leader, “No, you didn’t. You simply had the first meeting with a potential sponsor.”
“Yeah, but they agreed to start the church. I am putting it up on the board as number 23 this year,” Samuel said as he grinned at me as we both knew what was going on here.
Samuel liked to count new congregations as successes from the first discussion about launching the congregation. I insisted we talk about the seven phases of launching and developing a new congregation, of which the fourth phase was when we formally counted them as a new sustaining congregation.
Consider the full life of a congregation. What happens when a congregation first experiences the waning of its initial empowering vision from God that launched it into a life of worship, discipleship, fellowship, and mission. At some point when vision wanes, it decides it is time to re-envision, revitalize, renew, reinvent, or resurrect the congregation.