How to Replant a Church, Part 3: Putting Your Church Assessment Into Action

Bubba Jennings » Mission Church Church Leadership Church Planting

How to Replant a Church, Part 3: Putting Your Church Assessment Into Action

After you’ve gotten a clear vision for your church replant and done a church assessment, it’s time to make a plan and put it into action.

After you finish your church assessment, it’s time for action. At Mars Hill Federal Way, we had to face the hard reality that some big changes needed to happen.

One of the most difficult changes was in the area of leadership. The lead pastor had not sinned or disqualified himself, but it was clear that for the sake of the mission he needed to step down. We needed to replant the church by establishing unified leadership, making a plan, and acting on the plan.

Establish unified leadership

That afternoon, our pastoral team sat in an office together in Federal Way, crying and praying over what we all knew needed to happen. In all my years as a pastor, I have never met a more godly man than that lead pastor. He cared more about the health of the church and the future of the mission than about receiving a paycheck. He didn’t just say he loved the church; he backed up his words with action by making a very personal sacrifice.

In the weeks ahead, the lead pastor and I announced to the volunteer leaders and the congregation the decision of the elders for him to step down. Everyone was surprised—they all loved him very much and knew that he loved them very much.

Some of the most difficult changes you can make are in the area of leadership.

That pastor said to the church, “This church is not my church; it’s Jesus’ church. Just like in the life of one of your children there comes a point when they go off to college and other people care for them and take them to the next level, it’s time for new leadership to take this church to the next level.” The congregation understood what needed to happen, because there was unity among the leaders.

Before you can put your church assessment into action, you need to help the church body understand the state of the church. People need to know when the church is unhealthy. They need to know that their pastors are working together, in unity, to make things better.

Pray and plan

After you establish unity amongst your leadership, what do you do with all the information you gathered in your assessment?

1. Pray

Ask God to give you wisdom (James 1:5). Spend a week or two praying and reviewing the assessment information. Allow plenty of time to hear from the Holy Spirit and review the Scriptures before you build your plan.

People need to know when the church is unhealthy.

2. Plan

Take what you have learned and build a plan to replant the church (Prov. 21:5). This plan is your road map—it points you in the right direction and clearly shows your destination. Your basic plan should include the following parts and specifically address the problems in the church:

  • Dream of the future: Write a brief paragraph that describes where you hope your church will be in two years.
  • Identify key result areas: Key result areas spell out the criteria for each ministry to be successful. For example, if your church has a small-group ministry, your key result areas might be “win, build, equip, and multiply.” Therefore, for a small group to be on target, it needs to win people to Christ, build people up in their faith, equip people with spiritual discipline skills, and multiply by planting other small groups.
  • Set milestones and goals: Set quarterly milestones for each area of ministry, and set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) goals for accomplishing milestones.
  • Develop strategies: Consider the step-by-step actions you will take to accomplish your SMART goals.
  • Implement a timeline: Put milestones on a team calendar for everyone to see and be accountable to. Make sure everyone knows the timeline and agrees that the timeline is doable.
  • Make a list of the resources needed: List the people, money, and things you need to carry out your strategies, achieve your SMART goals, and reach your milestones.
  • Appoint leaders and teams: Ask God to show you who he wants you to ask to lead different areas of ministry or projects that will meet the goals. (Look for a later post in this series about developing leaders.)

3. Get counsel and revise the plan

The Bible says that without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed (Prov. 15:22). Show your plan to other pastors you respect and trust, get their input, and then prayerfully make adjustments to the plan.

4. Act

Keep in mind as you work out your plan that it may be painful for leaders and volunteers. You may have to ask people to move to another area of ministry or step down. You may need to graciously end a tradition that has lost its purpose or become unhealthy. In the first article in this series, I talked about building trust and encouraging others as important components of getting people on board with a clear vision. You will need to do some of this groundwork as you start putting your plan into action.

Show your plan to other pastors you respect and trust, get their input, and then prayerfully make adjustments to the plan.

Don’t rely on a formula

I realize I just gave you all these specific steps to take, but now I’m going to give you this caution: the tools in this article are not the formula for replanting the perfect church. Jesus is perfect, but the church is made up of sinners, so it will never be perfect this side of heaven.

The point of this article is to give you some direction for how to use what you learned from the church assessment to replant your church. You must prayerfully submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit as you work. At each quarterly milestone, take a step back from working in the ministry to work on the ministry so you can assess if you are on target. As needed, make adjustments to your plan. Take comfort in knowing that along the journey your plan will change as the Holy Spirit leads you (Prov. 16:9).



Stay tuned for more posts in this series in the coming weeks as we cover the practical details of replanting a church, including how to raise funds, develop leaders, recruit volunteers, and more.


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