Revitalization Assessment Center May Be First of Its Kind

Post a Comment » Written on June 19th, 2008     
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PLYMOUTH, MN (June 19, 2008) – A Revitalization Assessment Center to identify potential revitalization pastors, conducted by the Evangelical Covenant Church, may be the first of its kind sponsored by a denomination and represents a commitment to strengthening existing congregations as well as planting new works, leaders say.

“Other denominations, along with the Covenant, have hosted assessment centers to identify church planters, but we don’t know of any that have done centers to identify revitalization pastors,” says John Wenrich, director of church revitalization for the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism.

The revitalization assessment was held in conjunction with the Church Planters Assessment Center at the Plymouth Evangelical Covenant Church. Wenrich says Plymouth was the perfect place for the two events because the congregation had undergone revitalization work years ago and went on to plant several congregations.

Over the four days, participants were involved in several general sessions in addition to focusing on their own particular areas. Wenrich says holding the centers together was important because it was cost-effective and enabled the cross-pollination of ideas.

All of the pastors have a strong missional focus, Wenrich says, but they face different obstacles and opportunities. He notes that church planters establish a congregation’s culture, but revitalization pastors must translate the church’s history into passion for the future.

“Revitalization is two to three times harder than planting,” says Dave Olson, director of church planting. “It’s harder to remodel a home than it is to build one.”

“There’s a joy in owning a new house,” Olson says, “and there is another joy in taking an old house and putting it back in its prime.”

Pastors who are approved through the assessment will take positions in “at-risk” or “critical moment” churches that have signed an agreement with the denomination on a revitalization plan, Wenrich says.

Olson emphasizes the center is not about imparting the latest techniques or theories. “We believe if a church is go to be built, it has to be God who builds it,” Olson says. “What we are trying to do is to work in harmony with God’s Spirit.”

The Pacific Southwest Conference will host the next Revitalization Assessment Center, although a specific location has yet to be identified.

Ministers interested in the center should first contact their conference superintendent, Wenrich says.

To learn more about the Covenant’s work in strengthening the vitality of local congregations, visit Wenrich’s blog.

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