AVOIDING THE DEADLY SIN OF COMPLACENCY

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

man-head-on-deskThe Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary defines “complacency” as “a feeling of calm satisfaction with your own abilities or situation that prevents you from trying harder.”

Complacency can apply to individuals or organizations, including the church.

I found the word “complacency” in the Bible only once in Proverbs 1:32, HCBS: “For the waywardness of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.” There may be other verses that actually use the word itself, but there are many verses throughout Scripture that refer to the meaning of complacency. [Read more…]

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CHURCHES WANT REVITALIZATION

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Five Objectives 5 ObjectivesBRENTWOOD — This year’s annual Summit, scheduled for Nov. 13-17 at the Sevierville Convention Center, will mark the second anniversary of the adoption of the Five Objectives that were approved by messengers at the 2014 Summit at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood.

The Five Objectives are long-range goals for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. They are: [Read more…]

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CHURCH REVITALIZATION TAKES HARD WORK

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Bob Brown, far right, TBC church revitalization specialist, moderates a panel discussion with leaders of the church revitalization conference. From left, are John Mark Clifton, Tom Cheyney, Steve Holt, and Don Pierson.

Bob Brown, far right, TBC church revitalization specialist, moderates a panel discussion with leaders of the church revitalization conference. From left, are John Mark Clifton, Tom Cheyney, Steve Holt, and Don Pierson.

KNOXVILLE — Revitalizing plateaued and declining churches in America takes hard work and requires a willingness to change, agreed speakers at a church revitalization conference held Sept. 1 at Wallace Memorial Baptist Church.

“Churches don’t like change,” observed Tom Cheyney, executive director of missions for the Greater Orlando (Fla.) Baptist Association and founder of the RENOVATE National Church Revitalization Conference.

Churches get locked into things that keep them in a rut and keep them from reaching their communities and people who need to know Christ, he said.

As a result there are church behaviors that must be changed in order to reach those communities, Cheyney continued.

“As church revitalizers, we are called to bring change to the church,” he stressed, adding that only 32 percent of churches that are revitalized are done by the present pastor. [Read more…]

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REVITALIZATION DOESN’T HAPPEN AT ONCE

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Pastor Robbie Carty of Sunset Village Baptist Church, Bristol, stands beside the church’s Community Prayer Box which has helped connect the church to local residents.

Pastor Robbie Carty of Sunset Village Baptist Church, Bristol, stands beside the church’s Community Prayer Box which has helped connect the church to local residents.

BRISTOL — Robbie Carty is living proof that patience pays off.

When he became pastor of Sunset Village Baptist Church, Bristol, seven years ago he readily admits the congregation “was stuck in a rut.”

Members of Sunset Village did not want to change, he observed. They were content with maintaining the “status quo,” Carty related.

“It took me six years to get them to realize that change is going to happen — not by our accord but by God’s accord,” said Carty, a bivocational pastor. [Read more…]

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CHURCH’S LEGACY LIVES ON THROUGH GIFT

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

During the final service of Bordeaux Baptist Church, Bordeaux, which is located in metropolitan Nashville, Bobby Hatfield, left, a leader of the church, acknowledges Dwayne Lewis, who will lead the new church located there, New Season Church.  — Photo by Debbie Hatfield

During the final service of Bordeaux Baptist Church, Bordeaux, which is located in metropolitan Nashville, Bobby Hatfield, left, a leader of the church, acknowledges Dwayne Lewis, who will lead the new church located there, New Season Church.
— Photo by Debbie Hatfield

BORDEAUX — Bobby Hatfield admits he was the “hold out” in the group of the 14 remaining members of Bordeaux Baptist Church here in metropolitan Nashville.

“I’ve been the hold out. I was committed to doing everything we can to keep the church open. …”

“This is home church for us. … It was family,” he explained, noting that he and his family had been active members for 18 years. In fact Hatfield was saved and baptized at Bordeaux Baptist at age 10 after which he was away for some years.

However, recently Hatfield admitted to the rest of the congregation that he too had to consider a change. Amazingly, the next day, he received a call from Rusty Sumrall, director of missions, Nashville Baptist Association, asking if Bordeaux would consider some arrangement to help a black congregation needing some meeting space. Sumrall had been working with Bordeaux Baptist for about five years. [Read more…]

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REVITALIZATION: A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

Kevin Minchey
Church Revitalization Strategist, TBC

Kevin Minchey

Kevin Minchey

Church revitalization is about making a “comeback.” The sports world loves a good comeback: George Foreman, Jack Nicklaus, Michael Jordan. The movie industry thrives on comeback stories: Rocky (all of them), The Wrestler, Captain America. The Bible is also known for its comeback stories: In the Old Testament we find Joseph, Moses, even Samson made a comeback of sorts.  In the New Testament we see Peter boldly preaching at Pentecost, Saul of Tarsus comes back as the Apostle Paul. Of course the greatest comeback of all is Jesus resurrected from the dead!  Biblical comeback stories always point us to God and give Him glory.

When a church reverses years of decline or breaks out of a plateau and begins to actively engage its community (in the process defying the predictions of its demise) God gets the glory! That’s why we work, seek, and pray for churches to be revitalized.  Church revitalization is primarily about giving God the glory for the great things He has done! [Read more…]

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THE GREATEST ISSUE FACING THE CHURCH TODAY

Editor’s Note: “Rekindle: Fanning the Flames of Christian Leadership,” a church revitalization conference, will be held on Thursday, Sept. 1, at Wallace Memorial Baptist Church, Knoxville. Guest speakers include John Mark Clifton of Kansas City, Mo., and Tom Cheyney of Orlando, Fla. More information.

Robert Tyson
Director of Missions, Robertson County Baptist Association, Springfield

Robert Tyson

Robert Tyson

In a meeting with several directors of missions and members of the Tennessee Baptist Convention staff, we looked at ways to help churches revitalize. Most church leaders are aware that 80 to 90 percent of Christian churches have stopped growing or are declining.

Why do churches stop reaching their communities for Jesus. All kinds of reasons are offered. Here are some examples: “The community has changed and no longer looks like the congregation that meets here.” “The problem is the pastor. He is not leading his congregation to connect with the community.” “The problem is the congregation. The congregation has lost interest in reaching its community.” [Read more…]

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REASONS PEOPLE GIVE FOR NOT ATTENDING CHURCH

By Bill Wilson
Director, Center For Healthy Churches, Clemmons, NC

Bill Wilson

Bill Wilson

The photo below is of a perfect attendance pin for Sunday School. Many of you have never seen one. There was a day when it was a regular feature in churches all across America. If a person attended Sunday School every Sunday in a year, he or she was awarded a pin, or was awarded an attachment that hung below the original pin to denote another year of perfect attendance. People took great pride in amassing multi-year pins that honored their spiritual fortitude and persistence.

Gradually, the expectation that weekly attendance at church was a given has eroded and been replaced with a hope that people will attend church “regularly.” The definition of what constitutes “regular attendance” has been redefined downward as competition for  weekends has increased. Some churches are coming to realize that very active and loyal people are attending church much less frequently than before. As a result, average weekly attendance is in serious decline for many. [Read more…]

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CHURCH RELOCATES AFTER FIVE LONG YEARS

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Pastor Rickey Burns and his wife Sissy stand outside the new facility of Williston Baptist Church, Williston.

Pastor Rickey Burns and his wife Sissy stand outside the new facility of Williston Baptist Church, Williston.

WILLISTON — Thankfully the wait wasn’t 40 years, a popular biblical period. It would have been more tolerable if the wait had been 40 days, another common biblical period.

Instead Williston Baptist Church here waited about five years to begin to use its new building.

The situation developed because of a misunderstanding on building regulations. [Read more…]

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LEADERSHIP CRITICAL IN REVITALIZATION

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Union President Dub Oliver welcomes conference attendees.

Union President Dub Oliver welcomes conference attendees.

JACKSON — Leaders who recognize the need and are willing to be involved are critical to church revitalization, speakers agreed at a church revitalization conference held at Union University here last week.

The conference, which was sponsored by the Tennessee Baptist Convention and Union, addressed the issue of “Fanning the Flame of Christian Leadership.”

Tennessee native Jim Henry, former pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church, Nashville, and First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., spoke twice during the opening session on March 14.

A former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Henry has a unique perspective on church revitalization. [Read more…]

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