The Catawba River Baptist Association is dedicated to helping churches experiencing the following:

Significant Decline

Pastoral Vacancies

Conflict & Crisis

Why is This Important?

Between 70-90% of our CRBA churches are either plateaued or in decline and find themselves needing assistance.  Our mission is to assist these churches with the goal of bringing back life and health for Gospel impact.

Every Church is unique and requires a specialized approach to addressing congregational and community needs with a focus on bringing health and vitality to the body.

Below are seven potential courses of action that could be recommended to a congregation by our developing CRBA Church Strengthening Team:

  1. The Director of Missions meets and spends five weeks with the entCongregationtion to discuss strengths and weaknesses as well as taking the time to seek God in the following areas:
  2. Repentance
  3. Becoming an Outward Focused Congregation
  4. Discovering God’s plan for Church Health
  5. Being On Mission Tangible Evangelistic Ideas

Working with the Pastor and Leaders to assess current systems, structures, and strategies that need to be changed to effectively fulfill the Great Commandment and Great Commission in the church’s current context.

Most churches began as a mission under the leadership of a “sending church.” This model allows a church to gain leadership, support, and needed resources from a stronger church. After open communication and clear agreements, both churches take on new roles under God’s leadership.

This model provides the opportunity for a church to start over. Often this is needed due to a changing community. A church rePlanter is called under God’s leadership to launch a new vision and type of church. The existing church membership either joins this new church or joins other churches.

While this approach is often tough (requiring legal advice in most cases) in working out agreements and honoring both churches’ histories, it is an effective option when there is strong leadership for the new church. Working with the Association or another third party to provide objectivity and clarity of the issues is very important. In this choice, the stronger church is the leader of this new adventure.

In an effort to be good stewards of facilities and enlarge the arms of ministry from one location, a church can transition from being one church to a center for many ministries to reach a community. This could include multiple churches meeting in one building and/or several types of ministries to be started or invited to join at a single location.

The Bible says there is a time to be born and a time to die. This opportunity allows a church to celebrate the past and provide for new churches in the future. Existing church members join other churches and rejoice to hear and see their investments in the kingdom reach new communities.

Churches of the Catawba River Baptist Association may initiate the revitalization process by contacting the Association office. After obtaining initial information, a meeting will be scheduled between Church Leaders and the Director of Missions. See below for more information about the Church Revitalization process:

Listen and learn about the church. Get facts and data by visiting with Pastors, leaders, and church members Conduct one on one and group interviews. Contact and visit with both current and past leadership.

Identify issues currently present in the life of the Church.

Obtain Church History and Conduct Health Assessment (10 yrs of ACP and other tools as needed)

A Church Profile/Portfolio is prepared and produced.


Evaluate the Health and Spiritual condition of the Pastor and leaders of the church.

Conduct a change readiness inventory on the church Site Visit Assessment.

Meet with an identified group of congregational leaders to discuss findings.

Recommendations are drafted and prepared for the larger body to review.


Facts and Evaluation Findings will be presented to the Church in stages

Decision Makers/Key Stakeholders—leaders will have the opportunity to view the findCongregationnd dialogue with the presenters.

A formal presentation will be made to the larger congregation.


Recommendations are developed and shared with church leaders, and the leadership team and formal recommendations are drafted for Church affirmation.

A formal decision timeline is established for the Church to affirm recommendations.


Church votes to accept or reject the CRT/Leadership Team Recommendations.

Per a Positive Vote, the Change Process/Recommendations commence.

Upon rejection of recommendations, CRT/CRBA withdraws Coaching. The consultant provides support as resources are requested and time allows.

Change Formulation

Solemn Assembly: Call for repentance of both past and present issues of the church.

Work on an exit strategy for Pastor/Staff if needed.

Place Transitional Pastor in leadership.

New Interim Governance Decision Making Team in place.

Form a larger team of congregational influencers/CR team to work with Coach and rePlanting, Transitional Pastor.

Develop ministry partnerships with established healthy churches for support and resourcing.


Address the following: Church Structure and systems, programming, facilities, communication, and church documents/governance issues.

Transition Team begins meeting regularly per the plan agreement with Pastor, CR Coach, and DOM. Recommendation/Plan agreements are implemented, monitored, and adjusted as necessary.

Regular Member’s Meetings are held for prayer, progress reports, and feedback.


At years 3-5 and upon satisfactory progress according to plan, this Church contributes its story and its Congregations’ resources to the larger work of Church Congregation/rePlanting.

The congregation sponsors a fully assessed rePlanter and Congregation.

While time frames are unique to each congregation, the development of plans and progress toward identified initiatives follow this process. The following have been shown to be true:

• The longer the term of decline and the greater the average tenure of existing members, the greater the time required for renewal.
• The more acute the crisis, the more vigorous the action steps are required to address and arrest the declining condition of the Church.
• Outside leadership, resources, and new members and attendees are required and necessary to truly create a new culture and positive change.
• Existing Staff, Leaders, and Stakeholders must relinquish directional decision m

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