Church Revitalization: The Heart of the Matter

Here’s a thought-provoking article written by Christian Post columnist Wallace Henley in which he looks closer at a turnaround church and suggests what he believes is at the heart of church revitalization.


In 1978 the congregation of Houston’s Second Baptist Church met in a stately building whose mighty steeple towered over its rapidly growing community, and whose imposing appearance might have given the impression to passersby that the church it housed was healthy, strong, and dynamic.

What casual bystanders would not have known was that the impressive facilities in 1978 housed a declining, perhaps dying, church.

Today that classic sanctuary building with the looming steeple still stands, but it is only one of several structures on that site, which is now one of five campuses spread across Houston, with two more underway for a congregation at this writing of more than 64,000 members, baptizing 2,000-3,000 annually.

Second Baptist is among the exceptions in the Southern Baptist Convention, which at present is experiencing the death of 800-1,000 of its churches every year, as noted in a recent Christian Post report. Further, the giant denomination that once experienced sustained dramatic growth is shrinking – though it is still the largest non-Catholic church body in the United States, with nearly 16 million members.

One of the ways to recover a dying church is for a congregation to receive as pastor “a young man who will come with ideas and concepts that are perhaps different from theirs,” said Kansas City revitalization pastor John Mark Clifton, quoted in the Christian Post report.

That’s exactly what Houston’s Second Baptist Church did in 1978 when it called Ed Young as pastor. Young left a church of 6,000 to assume leadership of a congregation that had shrunk to 300-500 in weekly attendance. From day one, however, Young sensed he had been called to Houston itself, and the vision was to build a church that would impact the city, and from there the world.

Young’s first challenge was revitalizing Second Baptist Church. Like an ER doctor he went straight to the heart of the matter, and decline was reversed with dynamics and growth that continue under his leadership, now in its 36th year.

What is this “heart” of church revitalization, and how can it be healed and strengthened? That’s the question we will examine in this three-part series.

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Your partner in ministry,


P.S. – One of the ways you can transform your church is through an evangelistic revolution! And right now through this Friday, June 6, you can get my book Ignite: How to Spark Immediate Growth in Your Church for more than 50% off! You’ll also get over $183.00 in resources and bonues, including a $50 gift certificate. Hurry, this offer is good only until June 6Click here now to follow our easy “A B C” process to get your book and bonuses!

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

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