Leadership

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In the Local Church and Ministry

As your church or ministry enters a time of rebuilding, understanding the process of renewal has never been more relevant. Many leaders want to bring about revival by first changing the structure of their church or ministry. However, this can be destructive for you, your leadership, and your church or ministry.

The five renewals and how they will always precede a spiritual awakening within your church or ministry.

I believe God is preparing the church and ministries for another reformation. The first reformation focused on what the church believed; this one will focus on what it does.

For too long we’ve separated the Word of God from the work of God. As the church, we’re called to be the body of Christ—the whole body. We’re not just called to be the mouth of Christ, but the feet and hands as well. Most ministries are the hands and feet while the church is the mouth.  How more Biblical and effective it would be that the Church and ministries would be the mouth, hands, and feet.

Every time a new reformation has come, five renewals have preceded it. The awakening and reformation of the global Church will begin with churches and ministries like yours. The same five renewals will precede this movement in your church and ministry.

PERSONAL RENEWAL

It starts with the heart. If God is going to renew your church or ministry, He’ll begin it with you—and then it will continue with the rest of your church or ministry. You might call it rededicating your life, being filled with the Spirit, or the “deeper life.” It doesn’t much matter what you call it. Just get it! Leader, the bottom line is this—you need to fall in love with Jesus again. Do that, and suddenly, it’s not about religion and rituals; it’s about a relationship with Jesus. You realize that Jesus doesn’t just love you, but He likes you.

RELATIONAL RENEWAL

After you “get right with God”, you’ve got to get right with others. Jesus told us this. He told us to love God with all our heart and then love others as ourselves. When you have relational renewal in your church or ministry, the gossip goes down and the joy goes up.

How do you know when a church or ministry has been through relational renewal? People hang around longer after the service or meeting. They want to spend time together. If people don’t want to hang around after your services and meetings, you have a performance, not a church. The church is more than content; it’s a community…and ministries should be the same.

MISSIONAL RENEWAL

This is when a church or ministry discovers what God wants it to do. We have a kingdom assignment. We’re not here just to bless one another. God wants to bless the world through us. Specifically, God has given us five purposes—worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. Missional renewal happens when we focus our churches and ministries on these purposes. When your church or ministry gets personal, relational, and missional renewal, it can’t help but grow.

CULTURAL RENEWAL

In this stage, God renews the culture of the church and ministry. I’ve known pastors and leaders who have tried to change the culture of the church and ministry without going through the other three renewals. There’s a word for that—martyrdom. You cannot change the culture of your “work”. Only God can. But once the first three renewals have happened in the church and ministry, God will change the culture.

STRUCTURAL RENEWAL

After your church or ministry has been through the first four renewals, it’s going to outgrow your current structure. No doubt about it. The structure that works for a church of 100 won’t work for a church of 250 and so on. The same for a ministry too. There is no perfect structure in Scripture. Why? Every situation is different. We’ve got to structure our churches and ministries differently depending on our circumstances. Healthy churches and ministries change structures just about every year.

You can’t put new wine in old wineskins. As your church and ministry begin to get healthier and healthier, the structure must change.

Let’s look at the Five Stages of Church and Ministry again…

  • Personal renewal… It starts with the heart. 
  • Relational renewal… you’ve got to get right with others.
  • Missional renewal… the church must rediscover its purposes.
  • Cultural renewal… the personality of the church changes.
  • Structural renewal… the church outgrows its current structure.

A great spiritual awakening is on the horizon. Will your church and ministry be a part of it? Be aware of these five stages of renewal. As a pastor for many years and a national ministry leader, I know God has called you to be a catalyst in the renewal of your church and ministry. You can’t do that unless you know where your church or ministry is on its journey.

Here is one more thought:  For churches and ministries to have renewal, doesn’t that include Christians having a personal renewal in their lives…yours and mine?

Exciting days are ahead of us. Truly, the best is yet to come when we live for Jesus, with Jesus, and like Jesus!

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Written by Stan Ponz
Dr. Stan Ponz is founder and president of Make It Clear Ministries (a national ministry that began in 1973 to help people take the Gospel and the Word of God into every person's world!). Stan also serves as President of Clarity Christian College. and is married to his high school sweetheart Carol, who led him to the Lord in 1966.