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Church Revitalisation Network

2019 Church Revitalisation Network

For the last few decades, there has been a growing realisation that existing churches, even those that were recently planted, are not faring well. Many church leaders currently lack the training necessary to build sustained growth, health, and spiritual vitality.

The Church Revitalisation Network seeks to respond to the decline of existing churches by training church leaders in the spiritual leadership and skills they need to revitalise their churches for long-term sustainability. Its vision is to equip spiritually mature and intellectually well-grounded evangelical church leaders to:

  • Improve the spiritual health of the church through worship, building trust in God as obedient disciples
  • Improve relationships within the church and with unbelievers through face-to-face relationships and better integration of new members
  • Improve the quality of leadership within the church through team building
  • Improve the effectiveness of the church by identifying the mission, vision, and strategic plan
  • Improve the contextualisation of the church through historical, geographical and cultural study of the church’s community

Participants in the Church Revitalisation Network will receive specialised training at the Annual Meeting and throughout the year, as well as helpful resources and opportunities to be mentored.
 

NETWORK LEADERS

David Brown has been involved in church planting in France since 1976 and has planted three churches (two in Nancy and one in the Paris suburbs). At present he is “replanting” a church in central Paris (Église Protestante Évangélique de Paris-Cardinet). For many years he was involved with GBU (Groupes Bibliques Universitaires), the French student movement affiliated with IFES, first as General Secretary, and then as chair of the board. He also chairs the Evangelism Commission of the French “National Council of Evangelicals” and teaches church planting and revitalization at the Geneva Bible Institute. He is married to Mary, and they have four adult children and a growing number of grandchildren.

 

NETWORK SPEAKERS

Øyvind Åsland is General Secretary (CEO) of Norwegian Lutheran Mission. Last year the organization celebrated its 125th anniversary. During the last few years he has led some major changes: prioritizing resources towards new areas of mission (scaling down in traditional areas in order to reach the least reached people groups) and starting church planting in Norway as the church situation in Norway has changed. Øyvind has also served as a missionary in Kenya. He is married to Reidun and they have three children.

 

Scott Poling serves as Senior Pastor of Harvest New Beginnings Church in Oswego, Illinois, located in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago.  When he arrived 23 years ago, Harvest was a very small, dying church; by God’s enablement, it has been transformed into a strong, growing, vibrant body of believers.  Under the church leadership, Harvest has successfully navigated multiple building programs, land purchases, and the growing pains that come with change.  Scott has gained a unique perspective which allows him to effectively speak to the concerns of different-sized churches, the pressures and criticisms that come with ministry, and the necessity of following the Lord’s leading for renewal and revitalization in the local church. His passion is for preaching, leadership, evangelism, and encouraging those in church leadership, in both one-on-one mentoring relationships as well as in conference settings, including Harvest’s annual M4 Ministry Enrichment Conference.  Scott grew up in and around Ocean City, New Jersey.  At the age of 17, he received Christ as his Savior and then followed God’s call into ministry.  He received his B.S. degree from Cedarville University and his MTh from Dallas Theological Seminary.   Scott has been married to his wife, Carla, for 27 years and they have three sons, two daughters, and one son-in-law. His interests include visiting national parks, trail running with friends, and ultra-marathon endurance races.

 

Adrian Reynolds serves as Associate National Director for the FIEC with particular responsibility for training, including developing leaders. Following a career as a senior manager in the pharmaceutical industry, he served as pastor of Yateley Baptist Church and then as a Director of The Proclamation Trust. Adrian is the author of twelve books, including And Then He Knew Her: A Biblical View of SexTeaching Numbers: From Text to Message, and Progress: Lifelong Growth for Christian Workers. He is a visiting lecturer at a number of colleges and writes for Ligonier in the USA. Adrian serves on an international mission board and chairs two UK Christian organisations: Evangelicals Now (a newspaper) and Discipleship Tech (which owns the PrayerMate app). He is married to Celia and they have three daughters, two of whom are married.

 

Phil Walter is the church revitalisation coordinator for the FIEC (Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches) in the UK. The role is developing to encourage revitalisation in struggling churches by embedding a culture amongst the larger churches of help for the struggling. Phil’s career was in the food industry as M.D of a Danish UK Subsidiary before leaving to pastor a church in Northampton in 1996. During those twenty years he has been involved in a church plant as well as the revitalisation of two other churches. Phil is married to Ruth and they have two sons, both married and both Christians. Four grandchildren complete their family unit.

 

Gabrielius Lukosius is currently senior pastor of the Lithuanian Evangelical Churches Fellowship and pastor of the Evangelical Church of Kaunas. The Lithuanian Evangelical Churches Fellowship unites over twenty churches. This year the Fellowship celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. Gabriel Lukosius came to faith in 1983 when he was 27 years old. From 1985 to 1988 he attended the underground Pentecostal church, because  Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union.  He joined the evangelical movement from its beginning in 1988. He is married to Rita. They have a son, two daughters, and three grandchildren.

 

NETWORK PROGRAMME

Day 1

The Reason for this Network: An Introduction to Revitalisation
David Brown

Why is church revitalisation necessary? Why is it so difficult? What is the difference between revival and revitalisation? This session will present some of the barriers to revitalisation, as well as statistics from the USA and Europe. Attendees will learn specific steps that we as leaders can take to encourage the revitalisation of our churches.

 

Cultivating the Soil for Church Renewal: Encouraging Healthy, Biblical Church Growth
Scott Poling

Learn important Biblical principles that help set the stage for God to work, bringing new life and vibrancy to the local church. Whether your church is small and struggling, plateaued, or declining, there is hope. Together we’ll look at some practical, applicable teachings centered on the word of God that will maximize the strengths of our churches as well as help us face the challenges that hinder them from growing.


Day 2

Session 1 To Be Announced
Øyvind Åsland

 

Strength and Depth in Leadership
Adrian Reynolds interviewed by David Brown

This talk will explore the effect of poor leadership on churches and the need to develop strong leadership in revitalisation. To do this we need to understand what we mean by good leadership, and to think about how we train existing leaders and how we raise new leaders.


Day 3

5 Ways to Reach Out to the Millennial Generation
David Brown

The millennial generation poses many challenges to our church life and our evangelism. How can we reach out to people whose parents rejected the Christian faith and who are totally ignorant about what it means to be a Christian? But even those young people who have grown up in our churches often need a new approach to live out their faith. This workshop will develop five lessons David has learnt from his experience in central Paris, where the majority of people in his church are students or young professionals.

 

Trade Talks: Resistance to Change
Øyvind Åsland, Gabrielius Lukosius, Tamás Schauermann, & Phil Walter

One of the most common problems encountered in church revitalization is resistance to change. There are multiple causes for this, and our speakers will describe them. But the main emphasis of this session is how to overcome this lack of enthusiasm for positive change. After listening to and dialoguing with the speakers, the rest of the session will consist of work in peer groups in order to work out what would be the best strategy in each participant’s situation.


Day 4

Case Studies
Øyvind Åsland and Phil Walter

Different case studies will be offered in order to bring together what we have learnt in the week. Participants come from various parts of Europe, each sub region having its own background, and from various ecclesiastical traditions (historic denominations, older free churches, more recent church plants looking for a new impetus). We obviously cannot cater for every permutation, but we shall attempt to provide meaningful case studies for each participant.

 

Where Do We Go From Here? Writing an Action Plan
David Brown

This session will begin with a review of everything has been covered earlier in the network. Participants will have the opportunity not only to reflect on what they have learned, but also to generate an action plan adapted to their specific situation. By sharing these plans with each other, participants will be able to make them as practical and achievable as possible, and will leave the Forum with a set of practical steps that will enable the training and resources they have gained to bear fruit beyond the Forum context.

 

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