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2022 Church Revitalisation Network

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    Church Revitalisation
Equipping churches for sustained growth, health, and spiritual vitality

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.

Applicants should be church leaders interested in receiving the spiritual leadership and skills they need to revitalise declining churches and build sustained growth, health, and spiritual vitality.

Network Leadership

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). After revitalising a church in central Paris, he is now planting a daughter church in an adjoining borough. 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 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

René Breuel is the lead pastor of Hopera, a church in Rome, Italy. He has a MDiv from Regent College, Canada; a MSt in Creative Writing from Oxford University; and is the author of The Paradox of Happiness. He is married to Sarah and is the father of two boys.

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). After revitalising a church in central Paris, he is now planting a daughter church in an adjoining borough. 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 revitalization at the Geneva Bible Institute. He is married to Mary, and they have four adult children and a growing number of grandchildren.

Daniel Fodorean is the Dean of the School of Theology and Associate Professor of Applied Theology at the Baptist Theological Institute of Bucharest, Director of Leader Formation Institute and Antioch Church Network, Teacher Pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, Bucharest. He is also the Coordinator of the E-learning Developer Program at The Academy of Romanian Scientists. Daniel is one of the founders of the Constanta Baptist Association He has over 26 years of pastoral experience and expertise in church transformation, organizational and church leadership, church law and administration, mission and church planting, pre-university and university Christian education. Daniel is the author (or co-author) of five books and more articles and studies.

John James is the lead pastor of City Church Birmingham (UK). For ten years John was the pastor of Crossway Church, a church revitalisation project in the city of Birmingham. He is the author of “Renewal: Church Revitalisation along the way of the Cross”.

Marián Kanuch is a Lutheran pastor in Žilina, Slovakia. He also serves as a regional leader for twenty-two local congregations. In 2018, he defended his dissertation: “Planting New Churches as a Challenge for Lutheran Missiology”. He is also very interested in the topic of revitalization of local churches. The process of revitalization is also happening in his congregation. He is married to Olinka and they serve together in Žilina.

Jay Mosser has served in pastoral roles for 40 years – about 20 years in various assistant pastor capacities and the rest as senior pastor. Through those years he has served in three churches ranging from smaller (less than 50) to larger (about 1,000). Along the way he has worked with children, teens, worship ministry, pastoral care, preaching, and leadership. Jay has an M.Div. from Western (Conservative Baptist) Seminary and a D.Min. from Corban University in Oregon, where his doctoral thesis was titled “How a Pastor’s Theology of Shepherding Affects the Health & Growth of a Church.” He is married to Kathy and has three daughters and four grandchildren. In his spare time, he loves to read, hike, travel, watch sports, and spend time with his family.

Scott Poling serves as senior pastor of Harvest New Beginnings Church, located in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. He has served in ministry for 27 years at Harvest, seeing first-hand God’s work in the renewal of a dying church. He’s gained a unique perspective, understanding the pressures and trials of ministry while navigating the many changes that come with church revitalisation. He’s looking forward to sharing many of the insights he’s learned through the years. He received his B.S. degree from Cedarville University and his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary. Scott has 5 children with his wife of 31 years, Carla, and 2 grandchildren. His interests include trail running, ultra-marathons, and visiting national parks.

John Stevens is the National Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, a family of over 500 Bible-centred churches in the UK, a position that he has held since 2010. Prior to this, he was one of the founding pastors of City Evangelical Church Birmingham, which was planted in the centre of the UK’s 2nd largest city in 1999. He was instrumental in starting the Midlands Gospel Partnership, was the course Director of the Midlands Ministry Training Course and is a visiting lecturer at Oak Hill Theological College. John is also one of the pastors of Christchurch Market Harborough, a church he helped to plant when he took up his current role.  He was converted whilst studying law at Cambridge University, and after taking a post-graduate degree at the University of Oxford worked for 16 years as a University Lecturer, ending his career as Deputy Head of the Law School at the University of Birmingham. John is married to Ursula and they have four children aged between 12 and 7. He blogs at www.john-stevens.com on theology, church life and ministry, culture, and politics.

Network Programme

Sunday, 22 May

Why is church revitalization necessary? Why is it difficult? What are the barriers to revitalization? This overview shows the need for a locally built vision followed by an intentional process to develop the church into a place where Christians learn to love God and to love others in their cultural context.

Learn important Biblical principles that help set the stage for God to work, bringing new life and vibrancy to your church. Whether your church is small, struggling, plateaued, declining, or even somewhat healthy, we will learn how to overcome challenges that hinder physical and spiritual growth.

Monday, 23 May

Church revitalisation, alongside church planting, is an essential strategy for gospel growth in the countries of Europe. However, a church revitalisation strategy will only be effective if it takes account of the cultural context that has led to church decline in the first place, and is aware of the obstacles that need to be overcome to bring about essential change and restore church health. John Stevens will draw on the specific experience of the Fellowship of Independent Churches in the post-Christian secular context of the UK, but the principles of contextualisation he identifies will be transferable to other contexts such as atheist, Catholic or post-Communist societies. The session will not seek to provide answers but rather equip leaders of networks and churches that have a vision for revitalisation to ask the right questions so that the probability of success is improved. 

Paul wrote to the Corinthians “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2.16), and later in the same letter “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11.1). Apart from the day-to-day relationship with God, which every Christian should be pursuing, in what particular ways does someone involved in church revitalisation need to cultivate the mind of Christ?

Tuesday, 24 May

How do you help a church transition from home group to public meetings, to multiple leaders, to establishing an online presence and beyond? This session will share practical lessons learned at a church plant in Rome, Italy, about leadership and church size dynamics.

Is unity an important component of church revitalisation? As biblically-driven leaders, we are responsible to lead God's people to "preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." In this session, we will explore how joyful unity amplifies our Gospel witness and facilitates change in the life of a church because good relationships are a major component of church revitalization.

Wednesday, 25 May

Can churches really be revitalised? What does it look like in practice? In this session three pastors will recount how their churches went through the process, looking at some of the challenges of the process in their contexts, but also hearing about the encouraging outcomes.

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.