A few years ago, Bobby Jameison wrote an article on the 9Marks website entitled: “The Bible’s Burden for Church Revitalization.” In it he said, “I would suggest that church revitalization—bringing life to dying churches by dealing with the causes of decline and building toward faithfulness—is a biblical burden.” He then quoted from Jesus’ letter to the church at Sardis to substantiate his claim saying, “If you need a one-verse proof text for church revitalization, Revelation 3:2 is it: ‘Strengthen what remains and is about to die.”
In thinking on this idea of revitalization, it seems that every church will face this command of Jesus at some point or another. Every church in its history, whether short or long, will face a decline. I’ve discovered that there are dozens of reasons that churches decline such as the following to name a few: the make-up of the local community changes, the church loses its heart for the community and turns inward, unity among members becomes fractured and unaddressed (i.e. biblical confrontation is lost), the gospel becomes obscured by programs or tradition, sentimentalism of what once was usurps what could be, hope and faith are replaced by discouragement and doubt, and on the list goes.
So, the question is this: how do followers of Jesus obey the Lord’s command to “strengthen what remains” before it dies? Is it an absolute certainty that some churches just need to die? Maybe. But what if there were a few men and women, full of the Holy Spirit, convinced of the power of God and demonstration of His Spirit through His gospel, who would lay down their lives to see the declining Bride brought back to her full radiance and glory. What if there were a few people that believed God could do the miracles that were done in biblical times? What if there were a few people that would stake their lives on the gospel of Jesus Christ and plead with God to pour out His Spirit upon His people? May the Lord pour out His Spirit upon His people at Clairmont to revive and multiply us!