Seven IBSA churches gathered in November for a three-day meeting focused on revitalization. The churches are the first to engage in a ReFocus process designed to help churches rediscover their purpose and take new steps of obedience.
IBSA has made church revitalization a key priority for 2020. The Association is partnering with Rob Peters and the Corpus Vitae organization, which developed the ReFocus process. Scott Foshie joined the Springfield staff in November as leader of IBSA’s Revitalization Team.
“It is our prayer that each church that goes through ReFocus will experience a new chapter of life in fruitfulness in their ministries,” Foshie said. At the Nov. 11-13 meeting in Springfield, leadership teams from each of the seven churches developed a vision and mission statement, leadership development plan, and annual plans to work on the major areas God has led them to pursue. The churches left the intensive with a multi-year plan to grow in health and fruitfulness, Foshie said.
“There will be several coaching calls with Rob Peters and our revitalization team, along with visits and calls with our IBSA staff, to see how things are going and to provide coaching and ongoing support.”
Luke Henry’s church has been engaged in a revitalization process for the last two years. When the pastor came to Cornerstone Church in Savoy, the congregation had around 40 people. Over the past two years, they’ve doubled in size and made some key adjustments, Henry said.
“Revitalization, for me, is getting the church back to the focus of what we see in the New Testament,” he said. Cornerstone knocked down walls—literally—in their small building to create fellowship space. They also started praying intentionally for their neighbors using the “Everyone Hears” evangelism emphasis.
The church launched in-home community groups because their building didn’t allow them to host the number of small group Bible studies they needed throughout the week. And the children’s ministry, which previously had a handful of attenders, can now see up to 20 kids on Sunday morning.
Although his church was in the process of revitalizing, Henry said ReFocus has brought structure, vision, and additional guidance to what they were already doing.
During his tenure at Cornerstone, the pastor he’s been surrounded by fellow leaders and mentors who have encouraged him along the way. He also credits his wife, Bri, for walking with him on the road to church revitalization.
Encouragement is important for pastors and leaders engaged in revitalization, Foshie said. “We’re giving careful attention to our pastors to support them as they undertake the rewarding, yet challenging process of leading through change.
“This effort is a marathon, not a sprint, for each church, and it will take some time to begin to see results from the adjustments and improvements God is leading in each congregation.”
For more information about ReFocus, contact IBSA’s Revitalization Team at (217) 391-3122.