Church Revitalization

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

  • Significant Decline
  • Pastoral Vacancies
  • Conflict and Crisis

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

Every Church is unique and requires a specialized approach in addressing congregational and community needs with the focus of bringing health and vitality to the body once again. Below are 7 potential courses of action that could be recommended to a congregation by our developing CRBA Church Strengthening Team.

I. Church Retool and Redirection

  1. The Director of Missions meets spends five weeks with the entire congregation 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

II. Church Assessment and Consultation (Revitalization)

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 churches current context.
III. Partnering with Stronger Church (Campus Network/Adoption)

Most churches began as a mission under the leadership of a “mother 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.

IV. Church RePlant

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.

V. Church Merger (Marriage)

While this approach is often very difficult (requiring legal advice in most cases) in the working out of agreements and honoring of both churches history, 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.

VI. From Church to Ministry Center

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.

VII. Selling and Starting New a Church Planting Fund

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.


The Process

Phase One

Listen and learn about the church. Get facts and data by visiting with Pastors, leaders, and members of the church. 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 Health and Spiritual condition of Pastor and leaders of the church.

Conduct 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 opportunity to view the findings first and dialogue with the presenters.

A formal presentation will be made to the larger congregation.


Recommendations are developed and shared with church leaders, 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 CRT/Leadership Team Recommendations.

Per Positive Vote, Change Process/Recommendations commence.

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


Phase Two

Change Formulation

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

Work on exit strategy for Pastor/Staff if needed.

Place Transitional Pastor in leadership.

New Interim Governance Decision Making Team in place.

Form 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 plan agreement with Pastor, CR Coach, DOM. Recommendation/Plan agreements are implemented, monitored and adjusted as necessary.

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


 Phase Three


At year 3-5 and upon satisfactory progress according to plan, this Church contributes its story, influence and resources to the larger work of Church revitalization/rePlanting.

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 is required for renewal.
❖The more acute the crisis the more vigorous the actions steps are required to address and arrest the declining condition of the Church.
❖Outside leadership, resources and new members and attenders are required and necessary to truly create new culture and positive change.
❖Existing Staff, Leaders and Stake holders must relinquish directional decision making

Entering the CRBA Revitalization Process

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.

To schedule a CRT Consultation contact the Associational Office:

Phone: 828-437-0137
1812 US 70 E.,
Morganton, NC., 28655