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April 5, 2017

Think back to the year 2000…

Think back to the year 2000. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago, right? In your mind it only seems like a few years, but what if you were thrown back in time to that year? You’d remember that DVDs had just become popular and affordable, and “MP3 Players” were the new hot commodity. You’d walk down the street and see girls wearing blue jeans under their skirts and playing Snake on their Nokia cell phones, which would soon be replaced by recording the newest Michael W. Smith hit on their Motorola Razors to be used as their ringtones. Even though it may seem like the year 2000 was just a few years back, there’s no denying that much has changed.

Change is inevitable in every facet of life because that is simply the way life progresses. Oftentimes, though, change isn’t as easy as upgrading your Nokia cell to a Razor or changing your style from blue jeans under your skirt to just…wearing a skirt. It can be difficult to realize when change is needed and even more difficult to go about implementing the change once it’s realized.

In the realm of Christianity, and specifically churches, this is more true than ever. This is why DiscipleGuide has developed a program called Activate, a church revitalization ministry designed to help churches evaluate and bring about unified change in the church bodies.

This program began when the program’s director, Todd West, was traveling and speaking at churches about five years ago. He noticed that many of the churches he visited were plateauing or declining.

“I felt burdened to do something to encourage pastors and churches to become healthier,” West explained. “This was a shared burden by other directors at BMA America, and approximately two years ago I began to collaborate about how we could help churches evaluate, revitalize, and become stronger.”

Todd explained that often churches who are considering beginning the program are hesitant at first because, as previously said, change is intimidating and may require some risk and steps of faith. Yet the process is proven and designed to be a great help to the body of believers.

“It’s something new and something different,” said West. “I think with any change there can always be some questions, but this is a very methodical, systematic process designed to come alongside the pastor as an Activate team to bring about unified change. This is what we’re trying to do.”

When a church hears about Activate and decides to consider the program for their particular congregation, the Activate team is eager to assist the church and begin the process of revitalization. The first step is for a church to attend an Activate orientation, held in a variety of locations, or watch an online webinar. From there, the church will work through the Activate program levels, all designed to help the church become a thriving, revitalized bride of Christ.

Every church’s assignment from Jesus is to fulfill his Great Commission and live out his great commandment. But how that is completed varies from church to church. It’s often influenced by a number of factors including that church’s culture, the history of the church, and specific instructions that God has given to that individual body of believers.

After a church has begun the Activate journey, awareness is created of their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the church begins to feel more ownership of their ministry and feel valued as a result of moving through the program’s process. Also, moving through Activate causes churches to learn from the past and anticipate what God is going to do in the future.

“I think that one of the greatest advantages of Activate is that it helps us understand how to embrace and reach our communities where God has placed us with the gospel of Jesus,” explained West.  “It inspires people to build relationships with unbelievers and helps them understand how to move them down the path toward discipleship. These churches, through Activate, have seen leadership growth, numerical growth, and an overall excitement about the vision of the church.”

Maybe your church needs to be refocused and revived, and perhaps that change will be a little more extensive than switching from MySpace to Facebook. But the eternal impact will be immeasurable as Christ is made famous and your community of believers is able to accurately portray the church model described in Scripture.  

If your church is interested in beginning the Activate program, contact Heidi Sorrells at Heidi@discipleship.org or call 1-800-333-1442.

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