Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why Pain and Suffering? Guest Post by Bill Davis

"Why would a just and loving God allow us to go through such things as the loss of a spouse or other loved one?" It is a very fair question. As Christians, we must stand firm in our belief that God works all things to our good.

Romans 8:28 New International Version (NIV); "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

We must have faith that our trials and tribulations have a divine purpose. Is God responsible for human suffering? Is God cruel and vindictive? If God truly is all loving and powerful, then how can He let someone He loves suffer? Are these unfair questions for Christians to ask? Our usual response to tragedy is to blame God. Those who don't believe in God seem to be the first to blame the God they don't believe in. God created a perfect earth and mankind and women-hood through Adam and Eve. He put them in a perfect place but due to our greed and desire for self will, sin came into the world.

Genesis 1:1 & 26-27 Selected; New International Version (NIV); "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image.' So God created mankind in His own image."

God never meant for us to suffer, but we chose to "do it our way". Something really must have happened to change God's design and intention of creation—that something was free will and sin. God's ultimate desire was for us to be more Christ-like. I like the fact that Jesus did not hesitate to say that we would surely experience pain and suffering.

John 16:33 New International Version (NIV); “I (JESUS) have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We look at all things from an earthly state while God looks and directs all from a Divine state. It is His Word that leads and comforts us.  

1 Peter 1:6-9 New International Version (NIV); " In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

I have personally struggled with an answer to the question of why God allows suffering. Once, as I was talking with a strong and somewhat well-known follower of God's word; I asked him that question. After several moments of complete silence, he simple said: "I do not know". He went on to say; "I don’t have God’s mind. I don’t see with God’s eyes." Profound? Yes. 

1 Corinthians 13:12 New International Version (NIV); "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

"So when you ask about specific individual events and want to know why this particular thing happened, we won’t get the full answer in this world. Someday we’ll see with clarity, but for now things are foggy. We can’t understand everything from our finite perspective."

Romans 8:22 New International Version (NIV); "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time."

Trials develop Godly character, and that enables us to lead others to Him. Sure, it is hard to understand and often does not even seem fair; but it is the orchestration of God.

Romans 5:3-5 New International Version (NIV); "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

Bill Davis serves through Lighthouse Ministries, speaking in churches across Anderson Country, South Carolina. He is also the Executive Pastor of The Bridge Church, an outreach of Anderson University.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Big Churches and Small Churches - Partners in Ministry

Recently I was involved in a Facebook discussion about large churches. I think I have a unique perspective on this issue because I was a member of a mega-church in high school and college and was on that staff of that church for 4 and a half years. Both of my younger brothers are still members there. I have also been the pastor of a small rural church with less than 100 on Sunday morning in worship. Few people have had the experiences of being in both extremes of the church field.

As I contemplate my time in both types of churches, if I was forced to choose between ONE church of 1,000 or TEN churches of 100, I would take the ten churches of 100. I would make that choice because in my experience I think they have greater impact on the lives of individual believers and a greater reach into the non-believing community. Though their pastors may not dress cool or have perfect hair or teeth nor get all the stage time at big meetings, they are quietly making a difference, sharing their faith and teaching the Word to their community.

However, in a perfect world, instead of choosing one or the other, I would have BOTH. Large churches   can do certain things well that will attract people who are drawn to those types of things. Smaller churches engage in the more personal style of ministry that so many people crave in our impersonal world. In a perfect world, there would be a large church in a community, surrounded by lots of small churches, and instead of the large church feeding off the small church and the small church being bitter against the large church; they would see each other as partners in the Gospel. The small churches would support some of the special events that the large church can do. The large church would respect the small churches and encourage their pastors and discourage their members from leaving the small church and joining the large church. Regretfully, we do not live in a perfect world.

It is hard to find a big church that loves small churches. It seems that many large church leaders see small church leaders as ineffective and perhaps even unimportant. Such arrogance cannot be a blessing to the Kingdom. Likewise, it is hard to find small churches willing to cooperate with big churches. They are afraid of losing their church members to them. Somehow we must work through these issues and become real partners in reaching the entire community with the Gospel. Let us pray toward that end.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Creating a Sense of Worship - Part Four

In the last few posts we have been discussing how to create a sense of worship. In today’s post I want to discuss preaching. We often think of preaching as educational, or motivational, and it should be those things. But Christ-centered, Bible based preaching can create a sense of worship in the hearts of the hearers.

Worshipful preaching is delivered passionately and uses applications that are relevant to daily life. Some churches think they can grow by watering down the sermon. While that may be true, such growth is at the expense of God-honoring worship. Other churches have attempted to force the gospel message on those who attend through emotionally manipulative methods. This rarely works in our postmodern era because people do not simply accept what they are told any longer.

Many churches have discovered several keys to worshipful preaching. One of those keys is to base the sermon on a single passage of Scripture. This helps the sermon be more than just the pastor’s opinion supported by proof texts. Using a large number of additional verses that are not part of the main text is often counterproductive because most so many people are biblically illiterate. Jumping around from passage to passage is very confusing to them.

As the sermon draws to a close, it is important for worshipful sermons to challenge the listeners to consider how the truth of the Scriptures just taught can be applied to their daily lives. This might also include inviting them to a prayer room to talk with someone further about the implications of the sermon or giving them an email address or phone number they can text with questions about the sermon may be more eective. This allows the message just heard to continue to speak to the heart of the hearer even after the sermon is done. This helps create a sense of the awe of God in our lives, which helps us be in a more worshipful frame of mind.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Creating a Sense of Worship - Part Three

In our previous two posts we discussed various aspects of how to create a sense of worship during a church service. You can read part one here. You can read part two here. As we continue that discussion, it is important for us to consider an often neglected aspect of worship, prayer. Churches often talk about the importance of prayer, yet very little prayer takes place during a church service.

In my experience, I have seen two styles of prayer predominantly used. One is the pastoral prayer. At some point in the service the pastor, or perhaps a deacon, offers some type of official prayer. It is often for the service itself, and perhaps includes a few prayer specific prayer needs, but it is just that one person praying. Though it is possible that the rest of the congregation is fervently praying silently for things as well, that does not seem to be the case most of the time. This type of prayer often seems formal, stiff, impersonal, and rarely leads to a true sense of worship on the part of the congregation.

The other style I have often seen used is when people in the congregation share prayer requests. While I am not opposed to the sharing of prayer requests before prayer, what I have seen in most cases is that the sharing of prayer requests becomes more of a time to catch up on everyone's gossip. After a pro-longed time of learning way too much about people than we need to, someone offers a quick 60 second (or shorter) prayer that God would "bless all these requests we have heard." This is even less worshipful than the pastoral prayer option. This steals the focus from God and puts it on all the people sharing.

I would suggest that a better way of using prayer in worship is to have an extended time during the worship service in which people can pray directly to God, either silently or out loud. This would be longer than the 60 second pastoral prayer and would take some time. But if done correctly, can be powerful and moving. Instead of having people share requests with each other, have them pray those prayers directly to God. The rest of the people will hear their request and be able to join them in praying for it. But time is not spent gossiping first and then only giving a token prayer at the end. Instead, time is spent actually praying. Then, as the Spirit leads, the pastor, or deacon, can close the time with a more formal prayer and then perhaps close the prayer time with the Lord's Prayer recited together as a church. Thus allowing both individual and corporate prayer to take place.

Though I have only seen a few churches that have taken this approach, it has been very moving and worshipful in those that did. While there is always the possibility that one or two people will try to monopolize the prayer time with "sermonized" prayers, such people must be taught that God does not hear us due to much babbling or lofty sounding words. A congregation can learn to pray well and it can lead to powerful times of worship before the Lord.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Creating a Sense of Worship - Part Two

In my last post we began a discussion on how to create a sense of worship in a church service. You can read that post here. In this post we want to continue that discussion by addressing the issue of music. Though many people want to argue about musical styles and the types of instruments that should, or should not, be used, I think that is less important than the wording of songs that are chosen.

Many church services fail to help the worshippers connect with God because all the songs simply talk about God instead of talking to God. Worship should be a conversation with the Living God; not just state theological facts about God. Most of us would find it odd if we invited a group of friends over to our home for dinner and all the guests talked about us in the third person but never talked TO us, even though we were right there in the room. Whether a church chooses ancient hymns or modern songs, it is important that the songs allow the worshipper to talk to God, since He is the focus of worship anyway. Powerful worship does not just say “I will praise Him.” It proclaims, “I will praise You.”

It is interesting to note that some of the older hymns that are more of a conversation with God are actually coming back into popularity because the next generation has discovered that those hymns express a sense of awe inspired worship to God. For example, “Be Thou My Vision,” an old Irish hymn written by Dallan Forgail in the sixth century and translated into English in 1905 by Mary Byrne, has become one of the most beloved songs of the modern worshippers looking for a vision from God. There are many other hymns that worship minded musicians have taken and changed the pronouns from the objective third person to a more personal first person, thus addressing God directly and expressing their love for the Lord in a fresh way. Churches that are willing to select songs that either already speak directly to God or that can be converted into such communication with God will find it much easier to create a sense of real worship in their services.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Creating a Sense of Worship - Part One

When it comes to Christian music, there is a difference between “worship” and “performance.” It seems lately that many Christians have replaced real worship with attending Christian concerts. I am not against concerts, they can be very powerful moments in time, but to be healthy spiritually, Christians need to be engaged in genuine worship on a regular basis in a local community of faith.

In Christian worship, the attention of the audience should be pointed to the Lord and who He is. Worship should also remind of us what God has done, is doing and will do in the lives of the saints. In a concert performance, the attention of the audience is most often pointed toward the musical score, or the musician, or both. There is nothing wrong with being a performer. But it is very different than being a worship leader. In a concert, the musician, or the music, gets the glory. In worship, the Lord gets the glory.

In Christian worship, the words we are singing are just as important as the musical score because the words are what we are saying about the nature of God and our relationship to Him. Therefore, the words should be at the “center of the stage” instead of the worship leader. Though many buildings in which churches meet do not allow this to physically be the case, when possible, physically putting the words in the middle and the musicians to the side makes a powerful statement about the place of the worship leader.

Using a projector, or other system, to put the words in the middle and have everyone focus on those words as they sing may sound overly simplistic, but it is a subtle way to remind everyone that it is not the worship leaders who are the focus. That does not mean that a church cannot also have hymn books, as those are helpful to those who read music and can help carry the musical notes for the congregation, but for the vast majority of the audience who cannot read music, looking at the words together at the center of the stage can help create a worship experience.

What types of things has your church done that enhanced the sense of worship in your church services?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Training Lay People in the Principles of Church Planting

My official job title is to be a Church Planting Catalyst. A catalyst causes a reaction. Therefore, my role is to cause a reaction in churches that leads to church planting.

As I visit churches in the area and encourage them to consider planting churches in nearby communities, I get mixed responses. Some churches are excited about it, realizing the need for more points of light in the community. Some churches are not interested at all, perhaps fearing it will take away from their own congregation. Most churches have some level of interest, but do not yet know enough about church planting to take action.

I spend quite a bit of time explaining to people what church planting is, and what it is not. Part of that effort has been to train lay people in Hartford in the principles of church planting. Each Monday for five weeks we spent three hours teaching the Church Planting Essentials principles to 25 lay people. Most of them are from two churches, but each week we have a guest or two from other churches that are trying to understand more fully how they can become involved in church planting. It is our hope that some of the students will become church planters. Others will become part of the core group for a new church. Others will remain in their home church and offer prayer and financial support to those who engage in church planting. Each role is vital to the overall church planting process.

Pray for me to be able to encourage local Christians to accept the challenge of planting churches. Pray for each participant who took part in this training to know what their personal role should be in church planting. Pray for training opportunities in other churches across Connecticut. If your church is interested in this training, contact me, Dr. Terry Dorsett, at

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Different Kind of Diversity

As our regular readers know, my wife and I recently moved to Connecticut after 19 years in Vermont. We are settling in to our new church planting ministry. We are meeting new people and learning how similar and how different Connecticut is from Vermont. Connecticut is similar to Vermont in its adherence to postmodern culture. Parts of Connecticut, especially the Litchfield area, are amazingly similar in geography to Vermont.

Connecticut is different from Vermont in its level of diversity. The diversity in Connecticut is just incredible. When we think of diversity, we normally think in terms of race. Connecticut definitely has a lot of racial diversity. At any given time we are in stores, restaurants and churches with a wide variety of races. We think that is cool.

But what really stands out to us is the economic diversity. Connecticut has some incredibly rich people and some incredibly poor people, and everything in between. Surprisingly, race has less to with where a family is on that scale than one might think. The economic contrast is ever present as we drive around the greater Hartford area ministering to others. This is a different kind of diversity than what we normally think of, but diversity just the same.

We are convinced that God wants all the people who live in our area to have a chance to clearly hear and understand the Gospel. Regardless of their race, or their economic situation, each of them deserves a chance to hear the Gospel. Join us in praying for God to show us ways to share His love with all of those around us.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Why Does Everyone Want to Go to Heaven?

As odd as it may sound, I would like to know why everyone wants to go to heaven when they die. Do not misunderstand me, it makes sense that Christians would want to go to heaven when they die. After all, we have spent a lifetime loving the Lord and trying to be more like Jesus. We obviously look forward to hearing the Lord say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into thy reward." But what confuses me are all the other people, who clearly are not living as Christians, who also want to go to heaven when they die, even though they do not live as though they believe in heaven. It just makes no sense. If you believe in heaven, you should live like it. If you do not believe in heaven, then why hope for it?

My friend, the Rev. David Wesley Gould, pastor of Nashville First Wesleyan Church, made an interesting statement a few months ago on Facebook. He correctly said, "It is unrealistic to think that you could live your brief life on Earth without a deep relationship with God, and still expect to spend eternity with Him." Yet, many people do exactly that. They live a life without any real connection to God. They do pretty much whatever they want to. Often they say things like, "I am spiritual but not into organized religion." But when they die, their end of life plans almost always include a Christian funeral with the hope that someone to "pray them into heaven." If a person does not cultivate a relationship with Christ while they are on earth, why in the world would they want to spend eternity with Him in heaven?

Some of my Christians friends are feeling a bit uneasy right now reading this because they think I am suggesting we can earn our way into heaven through religious deeds. I am not saying that at all. We can only gain salvation by the grace of God. The point I am trying to make is that many people want to live outside that grace but somehow expect to get in when it is all said and done. That is just unrealistic. If we truly know the Lord, then our lives will demonstrate that. Though no one is perfect, the thrust of a life that is lived for God is clearly different than a life lived for self.

Those who live for self can pretend all they want to about eternity, but deep inside, they know that what awaits them on the other side are not streets of gold. Fortunately, if we are still alive, we can change what awaits us on the other side of death. We can accept the grace of God into our lives that was made possible by the death of Christ on the cross. We can repent of our sins and start living for Jesus. Whether we have a month, a year, a decade or a lifetime left to live, we can live that life in relationship with God. In doing so, we will find a great peace when we consider eternity, because we will have the confidence that we really are going to heaven when we die.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Is Preaching Worth Listening To?

There has been much discussion in recent years about the decline of the church. Many churches are on the decline. Numerous books and articles have been written on the subject. Indeed, whole conferences and extensive seminars are held each year to address this issue.

There are numerous reasons why this perceived decline is taking place. One of the reasons often stated is that the preaching in most churches is irrelevant to the lives most of us live. Interestingly, it is not just the far left that thinks modern preaching is irrelevant. In fact, well known pastor Alistair Begg, Senior Pastor of Cleveland's Parkside Church, a position he has had since 1983, said not long ago, that "The reason most preaching is ignored today is that it deserves to be." Pastor Begg was not saying that the Bible, nor the Gospel contained in it, is irrelevant, but the explanation and preaching of the biblical Gospel is often less than it should be.

Let's be honest. A lot of preaching is just plain boring. Other sermons are delivered with great passion but have little content. Even meaty sermons delivered with passion often use terms that many younger people do not understand or illustrations that seem like they are from another lifetime.

Preparing a good sermon can be a challenging thing. But if people are going to turn away from the church, let it be because they have rejected the Gospel itself, not just because our sermons were either boring, shallow or simply out of touch with today's real life situations.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Finding Support in Challenging Times

When people go through difficult times they will sometimes say things like “I know who my real friends are” in reference to the people who showed outward support during their trials. Such a comment is also a way to express disappointment with those whom did not show such outward support during the challenging time. It is a back handed way of saying, "I also know who are NOT my real friends."

While there is some truth to this sentiment, we must be careful not to judge people who did not appear to support us the way we wanted them to during a troubling time in our lives. Perhaps things were going on in their lives that kept them from being able to demonstrate their support as we had hoped. Maybe they did not talk to a friend who was going through cancer treatments because it brought back painful memories of a loved one who suffered terribly from cancer and died in great pain. Maybe they did not call a friend during a divorce because they are still dealing with the pain of their own divorce. We often forget that people around us have their own issues and those issues may keep them from expressing the support we wish they did when we go through our own rough times.

Becoming judgmental of them does not help the situation. If they are indeed our friends, then they are praying for us from a distance. That in itself is huge. When the moment is right, they will express whatever level of support they are able to, even if it is not when and how we had expected. But if we have cut them off already, with some judgmental comment, then we will lose what could have been an important source of support.

For more devotionals like this one, consider Touching the Footprints of Jesus

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mid-Night Calls to Prayer

Normally I am a very good sleeper. I go to bed and within minutes I am deep asleep. Sometimes this drives my wife crazy, as she tries to get me to roll over so I will stop snoring. But twice in the last week I woke up in the middle of the night and could not get back to sleep. There was no noise that woke me up. No bright light or thunderstorm. Just suddenly I was wide awake and could not go back to sleep.

Both times I decided to check Facebook. Immediately I saw posts from friends who had significant prayer needs right at that moment. I spent time praying for a long list of serious needs. Normally I would have been asleep and not even known about those needs until the next day when the immediacy of the issues had passed. It was obvious that there was indeed a reason that I woke up. The Lord woke me up so I could answer the call to prayer.

Perhaps you have had a similar experience when you woke up in the middle of the night for no reason. The next time it happens to you, instead of watching reruns on TV or simply tossing and turning, consider your wakefulness a call to prayer.

For more devotionals like this one, consider Touching the Footprints of Jesus

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fear of Church Planting

There are many reasons why people oppose church planting. Some people think it takes too much money. Others think it takes too much time. All agree that it demands a lot of energy. In many cases the new church may not follow all the time honored traditions people have grown accustomed to. Though all of these reasons are common, in my experience I have found that opposition to church planting most often comes from people in existing churches who fear that if a new church starts in their community some of their faithful church members will flock to the new church and abandon the existing church.

In such situations, what I think most people fail to realize is that faithful members are faithful because their existing church meets their needs. Faithful members typically like the music, the building, the location, the fellowship and the sermons in the existing church. They are faithful to the existing church because it works for them. It is extremely unlikely that faithful members will leave an existing church to help start a new church unless there is some clear “missionary” call in their lives. Since only a handful of people experience such a missionary call, our concerns that large numbers of faithful members will leave existing churches are simply unfounded. In the rare case that a faithful member does have a missionary calling, would we really want them to ignore it?

What I have found often happens is that some less faithful members of an existing church may indeed check out the new church. Perhaps they are only Christmas and Easter attendees. Perhaps they have moved too far away to remain faithful to the existing church. Perhaps the existing church, as wonderful as it may be, just does not meet their spiritual need. People on the edges of an existing church may checkout a new church across town, but what has the existing church lost in such a situation? In fact, should we not rejoice when a wayward believer finds his way back to the Lord, whether it is in our church or another?

Though sometimes less faithful members of existing churches will wander into a new church, what I have found is that the overwhelming number of people who visit a new church have no meaningful connection to an existing church at all. Perhaps they were once members of a church, but it has been a decade or more since they attended, even for a special service. Or perhaps they never got into the whole church thing at all and are checking it out for the first time. People like this are often sponges eagerly soaking up all that God has for them. While they could have attended some existing church, for whatever reason they did not. Something about the freshness of a new church got their attention. Watching them grasp spiritual truth, repent of their sins, give their lives to Christ and become faithful disciples of the Master is a wonderful thing to behold. Why would a faithful member of an existing church ever want to oppose a person who does not currently practice their faith from attending a new church that helps them engage with God?

Let us pray for new churches. Let us rejoice at those who attend those churches. Let us release our fear and celebrate the expansion of God’s Kingdom through church planting.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Church Planting or Church Revitalization

Church planting has been a hot topic the last few years in North America. But some leaders in existing churches are starting to push back, suggesting that church revitalization would be more productive than church planting. Having been involved in both church planting and church revitalization, I can see the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The advantage of revitalizing an existing church instead of starting a new one is that it already has the land, the building and the people. New church plants often expend incredible amounts of money, time and energy finding land and building a new building, or finding an existing commercial building and converting it into a church. Some would argue that this money and energy might be better expended on helping an existing church modernize and rehab their building. New churches also must spend an incredible amount of time and energy gathering a core group, training the core group and then using that core group as a base to reach out to the lost and de-churched to bring them into the fellowship. Finding that first 40-50 people is the hardest. An existing church already has that core group and if they could be trained and deployed to be on mission, then it would seem to many that such an approach would make more sense than starting a new church from nothing.

The disadvantage of revitalizing an existing church is that it already has the land, the building and the people. Yes, you read that correctly. The advantages that an existing church has are often also its greatest disadvantages. For example, if the location the existing church is located in is no longer workable but the building is also not very marketable for resale and relocation, then the land and location become a liability instead of an asset. Many rural churches were built in places that once were surrounded by farms with large families. Now the farms are run by one or two man crews with big equipment, the families have all moved away to the nearby town and the old home church is in the middle of nowhere. It is nearly impossible to sell, so relocation to a better spot is not really viable. Even though the old home church is struggling, its location makes it impossible to reach the children and grandchildren of its members. A new church will need to be built closer to the population. The same is true in urban areas. Perhaps a church was built in a neighborhood where people walked to church. No parking lot was needed. Now the homes are gone and businesses own all the land around the church. People have to drive their car to church and need a place to park. If a small church does not have the funds to buy an expensive piece of business property next door to turn into a parking lot, suddenly the location is a hindrance instead of a blessing.

Sometimes it is not the location that is the problem, but the building itself. It could be a building in a rural area or right in the midst of an urban center, but if the building is in such bad condition that it is cost prohibitive to repair and is worth so little that it cannot be sold for enough make relocation a viable option, then the building becomes a weight pulling the church down instead of a tool for community outreach. Often the remaining members love their old building and keep meeting in it despite all the code violations and leaky roofs and non-functioning bathrooms. But visitors are not going to come to such a place, at least not for a second visit. In such situations a new church must be started to reach that very same area that the old church once impacted.

But perhaps the most challenging aspect of revitalizing an existing church is the people. More important than location and buildings are the people that make up the church. In fact, it is the people that ARE the church, not the building or the location. If a church building has slowly fallen into disrepair, it was the people who let it happen. If the church failed to relocate 20 years ago when it still possible, or buy adjoining property when it was available, it was the people who made that choice. If the congregation is no longer a viable part of the community, it is because the people have chosen to focus inward instead of outward.
While it would be nice to think that if we sent a young energetic preacher there with some innovative ideas that the people would have a change of heart and the church would turn around, that seldom happens. In fact, many declining churches have tried that a time or two, and often fired the young preacher when he pushed the envelope too far, even though they hired him to do just that. In discussing this issue with other pastors, I am reminded of what Joe Paskevich, pastor of Calvary Chapel of Eastern Connecticut, said; “Many times those wanting revitalization simply want more resources (people, money, remodeled facilities) to perpetuate what they have always had. For revitalization to happen there will need to be a transition which would include things that will ultimately make the revitalized church look and feel like a church plant anyway.” Bible teaching and author Jeanette Sullivan says, “The hardest part of revitalization is the BIG word...CHANGE! Unless people are willing to change what they have been doing for 30, 40, 50 or more years, then it can't happen.” Sadly, most people are just not willing to change, and therefore, revitalization often becomes impossible. Sometimes a new church is what the community needs, even though several churches already exist in the same community. It can be a hard truth to accept, but it is a truth nonetheless.