Church Health & Revitalization

Church revitalization can be minor tweaks all the way to a major rebuild.  It has been described as an inside job because it is driven by a team within the church whose heart is to see it the church thrive and flourish.  It is resuscitating what already exists.   Replanting is more an outside job that requires much more major help and a total redo which usually involves the passing of the baton.  In today’s article you will hear from our Activate pastor’s advocate, Heidi Sorrells. 

“When I think about Activate I’m in awe of how God has moved and continues to move! When I started working with the Activate ministry in 2015 I didn’t know BMA history, most pastor names, or who was related to whom. Can you believe I didn’t even know who Jerry Kidd was? Somehow, God was able to use what I didn’t have or didn’t know to bring a refreshing newness to everything. Every pastor and church was framed by what God could do in and through them.     Nothing was stale or old.  I found delight in learning who someone was and hearing their story. It was a privilege to begin work with Activate, but also to be on an Activate Team at an early pilot church. This gave me a new depth of insight I’m thankful to have in my current role as pastor advocate. 

Although church decline is sometimes obvious, it’s often hard to recognize. It can come disguised in quality programs and new additions, in filled seats and good preaching. Just as concerning, pastors are wearing thin and struggling to balance the demands of ministry, family, and sometimes full-time jobs. 

To those of us listening there’s a rumble of distress among pastors, a crying out for God to help in stuck places; but, also an uncertainty about where to start or what resources to use. I’m thankful to BMA leaders who saw this growing need; stepped up to take away some of the guesswork; provided a biblical place to start; and gave instruction to help pastors build a team to start with, and discover along-side. 

We see pastors sacrificing to seek God’s vision for their church. One pastor put retirement on hold and committed three years to the Activate journey, believing in God for answers and next steps. That church is now unified as a body and sold out to the new vision God has given them. We hear about hard changes that turned out to reap amazing blessing, people stepping up to lead like never before, churches forming new discipleship initiatives, pastors opening up to other pastors about struggles, and outreach efforts being done with collectively changed hearts. 

 Some of these faith stories include our Activate huddle leaders who are our heroes. They take time from their already busy pastor schedules to facilitate a regional or online pastor huddle for prayer, sharpening and discipling. These huddles are open to pastors who aren’t BMA affiliated, and we pray they will become bridges to our association. 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this ministry has been targeted by the enemy. There have been obstacles along the way including serious health battles, lack of financial support, minimal man-power, changes in staffing, and heavy temptation to overload and out-pace ourselves. 

I joke sometimes that we just keep rowing the boat. In truth, God has kept this little ministry going in His goodness, for His purposes, even in the middle of seasons where we were still figuring things out or didn’t know what the future would hold. It’s been humbling to sit in acknowledgment that we’ve had deficits; that there were times we got stuck and couldn’t deliver the next thing we’d been praying about, or that we tried something that didn’t work. 

Ironically, God is helping us take Activate through Activate. We’ve gathered pastors, directors, and huddle leaders and have gotten feedback to evaluate our present reality. We’ve celebrated victories and given praise to the Lord. We’ve bent our knees, gotten real about our failures, and said so. We’ve re-visited God’s vision for the ministry; made sure our values reflect greater humility, more balance, and a true heart of love for every single pastor and every single church that might seek resourcing. We never want to stop learning and applying God’s wisdom. 

As pastor advocate, my role is to listen to the needs of BMA pastors and churches, to coach through Activate materials, and to speak on their behalf. If we can help with an area of resourcing we don’t currently have available, we want to know. We’re mindful of pastors and understand a bi-vocational pastor will have a different schedule and challenges. 

 We recognize that pastors know their church and community best and we give them freedom to adapt Activate tools to fit their environment. We encourage pastors to start with our prayer trainings believing prayer-positioned churches will make change that’s Holy Spirit led.”

You can contact Heidi ( to learn more about the Activate Initiative! 

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