Church Revitalization Definition: Church Revitalization is a movement within in protestant evangelicalism which emphasizes the missional work of turning a plateau or declining church around and moving it back towards growth.

Key Church Revitalization and Renewal Definitions

By Dr. Tom Cheyney

(Revised 4/7/2020)

            While the field of church revitalization and renewal is ever expanding, along with key definitions relating to this field, here are some of the key fundamental definitions relating to the field of study:

Absence of the Serendipitous Moment: The more a church is under stress the less it feels God’s presence! Do not hear me say that God abandons stuck churches, rather I believe the whirlwind, earthquake and conflagration of a church in turmoil makes it all the more difficult to perceive the still small voice of a holy God. The greater the anxiety, conflict, and unyielding stagnation in a congregation, the less the church experiences those serendipitous, coincidental little miracles which seem to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit alive and at work with one’s church.

Adoption: When a stronger healthy church is willing to embrace a sick and declining church to help it get back on its feet and growing again. Usually a covenant takes place between the adopting church and the church being adopted through a covenant.

Affinity Churches: When churches use marketing preferences interests as an instrument to reach a specific target demographic these are referred to as affinity churches.

Annual Church Profile: The Annual Church Profile or ACP is a report that a local congregation completes each year and sends to its local Baptist association. In turn the local association passes the information along to the state convention, and eventually to the national convention. The Annual Church Profile (ACP) process exhibits the voluntary cooperation between local churches, associations, state conventions and the national entities.

Anxiety Shock Absorber: The leader who wants to bring about revitalization change in a congregation must become an anxiety shock absorber. A person with this quality can successfully resist the avalanche of anxiety which is bowling over everyone else within the fellowship. If you stay calm and demonstrate that you are not going to let the process of revitalization and renewal get derailed, it usually has a calming, quieting effect on the entire church.

Assimilation: Personal renewal precedes and leads to corporate revitalization. It's about changed people who courageously change structures. For deep change to come to an organization, its leaders must first go through a process of deep, personal change.

Bella Karoly Principle: In response to church revitalization changes, everybody loves you when you are mediocre but real change agents will be criticized for their hard work and commitment to renewal.

Biotic Capacity: The highest number of people a church can intuitively reach given its available assets.

Bi-Vocational Minister: When a minister does not serve the church on a full-time basis and has a full-time secular occupation.

Blocker: The Blocker is one who struggles with changes and methodologies. They will often work towards defeating something mainly because of possessing the ability to handle change.

Breakthrough: Positive change occurs when we uncover the work of God and align ourselves to His purposes. Most people learn best through discovery. The ultimate discovery of God's vision is the key to facilitating deep and lasting change in the local congregation.

Catalytic Event: As a church deals with its stuckness, most often it will see in the reoccurring patterns that the church will be lead back to a catalytic event which serves as a critical moment from which the germs of paralysis begin to take hold of the church fellowship. The principle is that the negative patterns in a church’s life began at an event or a small series of events, which radically and perpetually altered the life of the congregation. 

Change Agent: Is one who seeks to make changes in accordance with a pre-developed strategic plan in an effort to revitalize and renew a dying church. These individuals work towards engaging others in a new norm of growth and advancement while managing people’s resistance and anxieties.

Church Cul-de-sacs: A church cul-de-sac is when you turn to the left or the right and find your church is in a continual circle moving but with no real advancement. These are the churches which are prime for restarts.

Church Cut-Off: A church cut-off is a relationship which has been indefinitely, perhaps even permanently severed.

Church Deserters: These individuals are basically made up of three types of church attenders, which bring harm to any church revitalization effort.  They are those, which merely sit back and look over the church passing judgment on what is or is not happening. The first one is the lay looker, which are there for a time but are gone just about the time you get to know their name. Then they are followed by the Lay Leavers which are gone at the first hint that more is going to be expected from them then had been expected in the past. The last group of church deserters is the Lay Losers. Lay Losers are the ones which want everything to be a lose win for their point of view and opt out of the renewal effort as soon as their side cannot win.

Church Genograms: are those diagrams of family trees that filter in and out of the congregation. These include those who are longtime members, active members, weekly attenders, and those who have a mere casual acquaintance with the church during special events.

Church Growth Movement: This term means different things to different people who use it. As used in this series, it refers to the movement, which began in the 1960's primarily through the inspiration of Dr. Donald A. McGavran. It refers to a comprehensive way of understanding the growth and spread of the Christian movement. This movement brought missionary practices to the western hemisphere. Its fundamental tenet was that God intended the church to grow.

Church Revitalization Assistance Team: This team works to help the struggling church in decline to begin to develop tools necessary for the turnaround of a dying or plateaued church. It is usually made up of outside individuals from the church being assisted as it takes much energy and synergy that declining churches usually have not maintained.

Church Revitalization Cluster Groups: Cluster groups offer pastors from multiple churches who are involved in the Church Revitalization Coaching Network to become part of this continuous learning cluster that includes other active church revitalizing pastors going through the network coaching to collaborate together. The renewal pastor can continue being a part of this cluster as long as the church continues to work on its recommendations or up to 36 months.

Church Revitalization Coaching Network: is a skilled renewal coach who works directly with individual pastors and churches who desire assistance as well as willing to go through a Church Renewal Journey and accept the recommendations provided by the Church Revitalization Network. This coach will provide a listening ear, ask pertinent questions, and expect accountability in fulfilling the recommendations. This process is a three year journey and churches can become involved once a year beginning in May. The strength of this network for churches in need of revitalization is the weekly interaction with key practioners, monthly coach to the church peer learning group, and a Practioner coach available daily if needed for guidance.

Church Revitalization Definition: Church Revitalization is a movement within in protestant evangelicalism which emphasizes the missional work of turning a plateau or declining church around and moving it back towards growth.

Church Revitalization Initiative: Is when a local church begins to work on the renewal of the church with a concerted effort to see the ministry revitalized and the church become healthy.

Collaborative Leader: Is the leader who allows those he works with to assist in making decisions based on their involvement in the decision making process.

Concentric Circles: Circles within circles are called concentric circles.

Conflict: is a problem to be solved that includes personalities and emotions which have lined up in opposition to each other.  In fact, a conflicted situation usually contains multiple problems.

Conflict Avoidance: is the refusal to acknowledge and/or deal with conflict.

Conflict Crisis:  is the eruption and outburst that happens in a crisis due to unresolved agendas.

Conflict Hibernation: is hidden below the surface, and is generally peaceful, but problems will resurface later with greater intensity if they are left unresolved.

Continuous Learning Community: are small groups of individuals who come together in a learning environment for an extended period of time led by trained Facilitators. They focus on leadership teaching, accountability and peer mentoring.

Controlling Leadership: Is when the church leadership quits providing spiritual direction and begins to operate as organizational controllers.

Consumer Christians: Church hoppers which move from church to church to church seeking the latest feel good easy worship moment over the hard task of renewal.

Cosmology: Another word for worldview. It describes how people look at and seek to interpret the world around them.

Creative Programming: Constant creativity, the willingness of a church to dare something new in worship or to risk being led by a different person or different sort of person is an indication of real life in a congregation.

Custodians: are church leaders, which have become masters of inactivity within the local church. They fear changes, fail to adapt to changing environments, and eventually lead the church into death.

De-Churched: The expression given to people who have had damaging incidents within a local church and are no longer active in church in general.

Declining Church: Is any church that at one point in time flourished, but now faces spiritual, physical, and numerical failure and is in danger of being dissolved.

Demographics: Demographics are simply characteristics about a population of people. They are used in market research and by governments. Commonly examined demographics include gender, race, age, disabilities, mobility, home ownership, employment status, and even location. Demographic trends describe the historical changes in demographics in a population over time (for example, the average age of a population may increase or decrease over time). Both distributions and trends of values within a demographic variable are of interest. Demographics are about the population of a region and the culture of the people there.

Dictatorial Leader: A leader which functions as a commander and operates from a Tyrannical position.

Dropout rate: New and longtime church members are leaving for other churches in the community, or they are leaving the local church completely.

E-0 Evangelism: Used to describe outreach among nominal church members. There is no increase in church membership when they come to Christ because their names are already on church rolls.

E-1 Evangelism: Used to describe outreach among non-believers who are in the same cultural group as those doing the evangelizing.

E-2 Evangelism: Used to describe outreach among non-believers who are culturally "near neighbors". They may speak a related language though it might not be mutually understood. An example would be German, French, English and Spanish people who have a similar cultural background even though they may not be able to understand one another's language.

E-3 Evangelism: Used to describe outreach among non-believers who are very different from our own cultural group. Their language, customs and worldview are completely foreign to us. These are our culturally distant neighbors.

Emperor’s New Clothes Phenomenon: The inability to see in our subconscious the obvious realities all around us.

Entrance Points: are those unique opportunities for connection a local church has which will draw prospects into the church. Most stuck churches need to add a minimum of eight new entrance points into the church to begin a movement towards turnaround.

Ethnicity: The characteristics of a given ethnic or people group.

Evangelization: For our purposes within church revitalization, evangelization takes place when the Gospel has been presented in such a way that those hearing it are capable of making an intelligent decision - yes or no - regarding Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Fault Lines of Renewal: Renewal fault lines are the merging points, the weakest links, which give way in a local church when the underlying forces become too much to handle. As opposing sides cease to coexist with one another, they will begin tearing the church apart. The distracting symptoms which are not the real issue, are really only the fault lines in the church renewal struggle. They are not the underlying problems, but symptoms which emerged in the midst of revitalization.

Fringe Participants: As a failing marriage between the church and the pastor begins, often a leader in trouble will begin to place huge emphasis on the fringe participants in hope to revitalize his leadership status within a church. Remember we do not call them fringe participants for nothing. Fringe participants are less active, committed, and supportive of the real needs of the church. 

Gatekeepers: some hold church power by keeping things from happening, preventing or allowing issues to be aired or addressed. Tenure is often a way a gatekeeper exercises control.

GOAL Pastoral Leadership Development: The Greater Orlando Adventures in Leadership Pastoral Leadership Development is a voluntary, two year, small group, peer learning experience for pastors that involves trained coaching, in-depth reading and mutual encouragement. It provides pastors with various tools for training laity and helps them develop strategies and skill sets for congregational transformation. It further develops the leadership competencies of pastors to enable them to better lead themselves, and their church.

Ground Zero: In order to get to where you want to go you must know first where you have come from. You need to discover the churches ground zero! Once you have discovered where the churches past have been you will be better able to move it forward into a better future. It is imperative that you take a realistic look at where your church stands in relation to health, present challenges as well as opportunities! Understanding your “Ground Zero” is the beginning of the journey and not the end.

Health: Healthy churches produce more and better disciples. Church health is about creating an ongoing culture of renewal and life. A healthy church will be a growing church naturally.

Historical Drift: The term utilized to describe the predisposition for organizations to depart over time from their foundational beliefs and practices.

Historical Knowledge: Stuck churches have a history of how they got stuck and often only those who have historical knowledge will be able to communicate to a church revitalizer possible ways the church became polarized and stuck.

Homogeneous Unit: Used to define a group of people having a collective set of characteristics. They may speak the same language, participate in the same profession or have a similar cultural background.

Influencer:  is anyone who is able to exercise significant influence over the people, the focus or the future of a church, ministry, or organization. Influencers can alter congregational conduct by supporting or boycotting ministries, withholding resources, or using their influence to influence votes.

Intentional Catalyst: Some leaders enter the revitalization process out of need to revitalize a church that had in former days been quite effective but through various circumstances has become anemic due to cultural shifts and community transition in the primary ministry area. These leaders usually must work to stabilize the effort and then begin a slow process of bringing health to the work and ministry.

Inwardly Focused: The inwardly focused church has few outwardly focused ministries. Budget dollars in the church are spent on the desires and comforts of its church members. The staff spends most of its time taking care of members, doing maintenance ministry, with little time to reach out and minister to the community the church is supposed to serve.

Leader Dependent: When a church is dependent upon one single leader due to failure to train and equip the laity for ministry the church becomes leader dependent instead of people centered.

Leadership: Everything rises and falls on leadership. Leaders must step forward and catalyze people to a greater passion for God and His purposes. The church can only be changed if its leadership is strengthened and functions effectively through empowerment.

Macro-Community: is the self-governing small township with a populace of 25,000 or less that is capable of delivering its residents with all of their essential needs and services.

Macro-Revitalization: An attempt at church revitalization, characterized by supplying programmatic information to the church and its leadership or offering training, but those which are not immediately or directly involved with them.

Mega-Community: is an urban center with a populace of more than 25,000 where large numbers of individuals congregate within its boarders.

Mega-Church: is the church, which is located within a mega-community with a massive population at its fingertips. It is a body of believers with many thousands within a few mile g rid.

Micro-Church: is the local church, which is located within the macro-community that is able to deliver to its congregants all of their spiritual and related needs from one singular church body.

Micro-Revitalization: An attempt at church revitalization, which is personally involved with the local church and its key leadership in an ongoing affiliation of sponsorship, partnership, supervision, mentoring, and coaching.

Maintainer: The maintainer desires the enhancement of the current state.

Manipulative Leader: A leader functions as a controlling force and seeks to hard sell his followers into what he desires. Ministry by coercion is the fashion of this type of leader.

Manipulators: are church leaders which are quite active in the local church as they place their own personal needs above the needs of the congregation. Members under this form of leadership become merely tools in a game played by those who seek personal reward.

Matriarchs: Like the patriarchs in a church, these are long term leaders which have been in a local church and have gained a degree of leadership priority through tenure. These individuals are not as strong as the patriarchs but have been given similar influence by the patriarchs due to similar beliefs and willingness to align with the former group.

Mergers: Is when a healthy church seeks to merge another unhealthy church into full membership. This is where the two shall become one. Rarely does it actually happen this way. Mergers are friendly take overs for the best of the Kingdom and both parties. Remember that 50 plus 50 does not equal 100! It usually equals 65.

Missional Church: is designed to connect with the different cultures around them and reach out into their target community. They take the church out of the red brick building and into the community. The opposite type of church is the Receptor Church which is designed to hold those who find the church rather than those who the church discovers.

Momentum Takers: This is the type of leader who is more in it for themselves than they are in it for those they serve.

Never-Churched: The term attached to individuals who have never been involved in the life of the church.

Nostalgia Churches: Are dying churches living in the past where the emphasis is on tradition rather than advancement. A hopeful return backwards to the churches glory days is what is desired yet once they get there they find it is unrewarding and all consuming. Nostalgia churches are often more focused on the past and living in past glories then they are present realities.  While it is important to honor the past in order to move successfully into the future it is just as important not to live in it!  Nostalgia can lead to destruction.

Nudge List: Churches that are falling back into becoming legacy churches often need the nudge to get going again. Think about ideas and ways (nudges) that will send a simple message to the community that you are doing a new thing and doing something new.

Old Blood Congregations: Churches that are adult-heavy are often prone to ministry failure. Old blood churches tend to focus everything inward, committing all their resources to internal service or maintenance, and slowly become anonymous in their community.

Opinion setters: those who hold the power because of visible influence in decision making.

Outreach/Maintenance Compendium: is when equilibrium between reaching the loss of ones community through outreach and the building up of those who are already saved and part of the local church (maintenance), the congregation will decline.

Paradigm Shift: Pronounced "Para-dime". A paradigm is a framework into which we fit ideas which we hold to be valid. It provides order for arranging how we look at the world. When one changes the primary way he or she looks at the world, we call that "paradigm shift". The most profound paradigm shift for the Christian is the conversion experience.

Pastor Chaplain: The rank and file church member views the pastor as their personal chaplain, expecting him to be on call twenty-four hours a day for their needs and preferences. When he fails to meet their expectations criticism usually follows.

Patriarchs: are long term church members which lead the church through influence which has been gained from tenure. These are often the most resistant to any change within a local church.

Plateaued Church: is a church that is neither growing nor declining but is in a perpetual state of polarization and unable to move forward to seek health. Such churches have a rate of growth roughly equivalent to the rate of attrition.

Polarization: Creates an organizational climate in which members mistake one another for the enemy and fall into conflict.

Polarized Congregations: Polarity literally means to draw individuals to one pole or another. Therefore a polarized congregation is one in which it is the tendency of church folks to choose sides. In a polarized church there are extreme cliques to the point that certain groups of people invariably tend to side together on every issue, tend to distrust other groups, and tend to view themselves as the only steadfast keepers of the flame of truth!  Polarized congregations are church splits looking for a reason to happen!

Producers: a successful leader of church revitalization in a local church is called a producer. It is their desire to make things better within the local church. They produce lasting results that enable the church to make the turn towards growth and health.

Rebirth: in the midst of decline and despair when the beginning signs of hope and promise surface a rebirthing is about to take place.

Receptor Churches: Are churches designed to hold those who find the church rather than those who the church discovers? The opposite type of church is the Missional Church, which is designed to connect with the different cultures around them and reach out into their target community.

Reconciliation: The Bible says that Christ reconciled us to God (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:20-21). The fact that we needed reconciliation means that our relationship with God was broken. Since God is holy, we were the ones to blame. Our sin alienated us from Him. Romans 5:10 says that we were enemies of God: “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

Refocusing: Refocusing is the third pillar and it helps churches that are growing but still need to set new challenges and look for new opportunities to expand their gospel witness into their target area.  Questions such as what is your Biblical purpose and why do you exist as a congregation must be addressed. Looking at how God showed up in the past is a good way to get the church unstuck by addressing where it has been, how God has worked and what does He have for our future.  Addressing the churches focus, vision and leading them to discover God’s new direction is just the beginning of helping a congregation to begin refocusing towards the Lord’s new calling plan for the church! Many a pastor today has never been taught how to grow a church and they feel quite stuck and in need of someone to come along side of them and challenge them to refocus one’s self and the church!

Regeneration Pastor: is one who has the revitalization skill sets necessary for assisting a church in its turnaround efforts.

Reinvention: This sixth pillar of Church Revitalization deals with tools and techniques necessary to assist the church when it is necessary to reinvent itself to a changing community.  When a church experiences a shift in the community makeup, often there will be to various degrees, the need to redevelop a new experience for those who make up the new context! New experiences must replace old experiences. New practices likewise will replace old practices. A church that is experiencing the need for reinvention must take seriously the need and make the commitment for reinventing itself, revaluing itself, reforming itself, and reinvigorating itself to fit the new context.

Reinventors: The Reinventors are those completely committed to the unceasing radical change necessary to bring about growth and renewal.

Renewal Prayer Team: is for churches that chose to do be part of the Church Revitalization Coaching Network, this internal team will pray regularly for changes that help their congregation fulfill its vision for revitalization.

Renewing: Church Renewal is the fourth pillar of the seven pillars of Church Revitalization process. Often the church simply needs to get back to that which was working and get back on track.  When that is needed, a careful renewal strategy needs to be planned and carried out. Renewing a congregation becomes much harder than the refocusing, re-visioning and revitalization process. Not everyone who works in church renewal is wired the exact same way and it is important to understand each congregations’ needs and not try to make a one size fit all! Far too much writing on church growth of the 1980’s was designed in a one size fits all “Bigger is Better” model and while it may not have been the only cause for declining numbers in our churches, it certainly contributed!  It is vital that you prepare the laity for the work of church renewal as well as yourself. Communicate early and often with the church how the renewal process will take place and how it will be implemented. Prepare yourself spiritually, prepare your leaders spiritually, then begin preparing your church spiritually for renewal! A Church Renewal Weekend is a great way to start! Church renewal is not about finding the magic medication or treatment to get growing.  It is more about discovering God’s vision for the church and practicing it for the long haul.

Repetitive Programming: is when a church is chained to the proverbial tether ball going around and around the same old ways without ever seeking new vitality. Once you have gone round and around in a circle long enough you just cannot move forward any longer.

Repotting: This is a kinder more friendly term often used by those in the midst of restarting. It is the same strategy as restarting but ministers feel they can handle this term better.

Reproduction: A revitalized church is one that is healthy enough to birth new life. Training leaders... parenting churches... helping other churches revitalize. This comes when we understand our place in God's big picture.

RENOVATE National Church Revitalization Conference: A national cross denomination Church Revitalization Conference, which meets annually in November to raise the thought and influence regarding various aspects of church revitalization and renewal. This group and its influencers are working towards creating a Church Revitalization Movement that will raise the level of revitalized churches within the western hemisphere.

Restarting: The final Pillar of Church Revitalization is the hardest and often only happens once the churches patriarchs and matriarchs have tried everything else they could think of to grow the church with no success! When a sick church no longer has the courage to work through the various issues that led to its poor health, it is usually identified as being on life support and in need of a restart. This type of church has been flat lined and just holding on by means of its legacy and the faithful few who attend. Being aware of their “critical” condition, however, is not enough.  They have got to become convinced they need “major” surgical treatment.  Changing the mindset of the residual membership can be very difficult.  Most of these churches are peopled by senior adults.  Change is often hard to come by. Until the church is ready to make drastic change, it is useless to become involved. There are thousands of churches like this all over America: Some are Baptists, others are Methodists, even in the Assembly’s you can find them, Presbyterians , the Lutherans have them, Congregational, Christian, and many others, waiting for a mission-minded congregation to get involved in offering “new life.” One startling phenomena is there are churches today, that as the laity begin to depart this life often see nothing wrong with taking the church to the grave as well. That was never part of God’s plan for the thing He gave up His life.

Restoration: This fifth area of Church Revitalization deals with things a church and a minister must go through when circumstances necessitate that a restoration process is required. Things such as: Gaining a new and fresh understanding of the new prospect for the church is vital if success is in the churches future; Inspiring new prospects with a vision that is both compelling and motivational; Meet new needs in order to give you a restored place among the community in which you seek to further minister; Become prospect driven during these days of transition looking for new and yet to be reached opportunities to minister; Craft something that comes out of a community in flux and look for ways to reconnect to the community where you once were firmly entrenched.

Restructuring: The term used to describe the changing of the church structure so that it becomes compatible with the culture in which it is located.

Re-visioning: Have you ever seen a church that once was alive and vital begin to lose its focus and drive for the cause of Christ? That is a church that needs to work on its Re-visioning strategy! Any Re-visioning strategy works to help churches dream new dreams and accomplish new goals that lead towards regrowing a healthy church! This strategy is designed for a weekend retreat tailored fit to foster a sense of ownership and team ship related to discovering a shared vision for the church. Understanding the critical milestones necessary for a new vision will help foster healthy church practices that might have been lost do something as simple of achieving a great goal and God’s children taking an ill-advised rest that resulted in a slowing of the momentum into a maintenance mentality. 

Revitalization: A church in need of Revitalization is described as one where: there is the plateauing or declining after a phase of initial expansion; the Church experiences the beginning of a high turn-over of lay leaders; there becomes a shorter duration of stay of the fully assimilated people in the work; the church morale and momentum level drops; the church coasts for a brief time and then drops again, only to see the cycle of decline repeated again and again. 

Revitalization Players: Those who are willing to count the cost towards church revitalization and seek to add to the churches efforts of renewal. These individuals are mission conscious, servant minded, able to deliver the goods, seek to help others succeed, able to make the tough calls or hard choices, and finish the course well.

Revitalization Pretenders: With the rise of the need for church revitalization in our churches today there are those who would rather act the part and look the part but fall short of fulfilling the part to put in the effort needed for revitalization. These individuals are Revitalization Pretenders who masquerade as being concerned for renewal but are not willing to put in the time or pay the price for revitalizing the church.

Sending Culture: creating a sending philosophy is indispensable to revitalizing a church. Churches that are revitalized see themselves as communities on mission with God, not as country clubs for Christians.

Servant Leader: Is a leader which leads through service to others. These leaders exemplify Christ-likeness.

Silver Tsunami: This term refers to the impact of the Baby Boomer generation is making in retirement. These active seniors bring vitality and active lifestyles into churches that have the ability to cater to their needs. A passive style of retirement found in previous generations is not part of this generation.

Skunking: Skunking is the device that happens frequently within local church renewal efforts, when pessimistic church members spray negativity all over those creative church members who are trying to spark the renewal efforts of the church. A well-known example would be the tried but true expression by skunkers “We tried that years ago and it did not work.”

Sovereignty: A new work of God requires our personal surrender as well as our structures. We must release control and embrace ambiguity. Revitalization is not a "Cookie-cutter" or "program" approach. God's vision for every church is unique and special. Revitalization will look different in each setting.

Steeple Jacking: Is when once sizable churches face the pain of shrinking congregants and are vulnerable to congregations with younger participants who become members of the vulnerable church in an effort to overtake their properties. The ambitious healthy church attempts to acquire at little or no cost the buildings and property of the shrinking church. This term refers to when a merger is not a joint effort but more of a hostile takeover.

Stuck Church: Is a hurting church which displays symptoms of becoming or being stagnant, often paralyzed, numerically declining, strategically dormant, living locked in the past, or dying; it is the opposite of a flourishing and vibrant growing church.

Synergy: Positive change happens best in the context of relationship. By working together in cohorts for learning and encouragement, progress in the revitalization journey is accelerated, which is mutually beneficial to everyone involved.

Three-self Standard: Used to describe indigenous churches which stand on their own two feet. Such churches are often described as being self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating.

Triangling: is the act of bringing in or drawing in a third party to add stability to a relationship. Adding a third party will often stabilize a relationship, especially if it is an intense relationship.

Unfriendly Take Over: A new type of church merger is arising in the western hemisphere. It is as relatively healthy churches are desperate for partners to validate and credibly reach other cultures, or alliances that can provide resources to expand mission which are unobtainable from denominational or cross-sector sources. These churches usually will force a cultural church to align through some sort of hostile takeover. While there are many healthy churches which are part of friendly takeovers where there is a win- win, it is this last group that ought to be avoided at all costs. A new term defines these hostile takeovers as steeple jacking.

Yesterday’s Commentators: One of the biggest challenges to change towards revitalization is the number of Yesterday’s Commentators a church possesses. These are the tribe that simply just kills any momentum gained toward renewal through a backwards view that seeks to anchor them in the past unable to make any steps toward the future.