5 Shots to Revitalize a Dying Church

Vaccines are fascinating to me. I think it’s amazing that we can be protected from deadly viruses and diseases through something as simple as a little shot. Wouldn’t it be amazing if protecting your church were that easy? Maybe it can be.


Not that I enjoy shots, quite the contrary, I try my absolute best to avoid them. However, when you’re about to take a trip to Africa, there are some vaccines you need to get. At least that’s what my wife told me.

So, I made my way to the doctor’s office prepared to get two shots. I read some scripture, say my prayers, and try to remain calm as I wait for the doctor to appear. Five minutes pass, then ten, then fifteen. Twenty minutes later the doctor finally shows and sees I’m in a cold sweat.

He reassures me that this won’t be that bad, and then proceeds to recommend I get five shots instead of two. The good news is one is optional. The bad news is if I contract Yellow Fever, there’s a 50/50 chance I survive. So, five shots it is.

A small price to pay for survival, but is your church willing to pay the price?

Because these are the five shots every church needs to survive. I’ll tell you like my doctor told me, “This may sting a little.”

  1. Change

You can change, or you can die. It’s that simple. Nothing survives without change. As much as you may love your traditions, your past, how you’ve always done things, it will be the thing that kills you.

  1. Mission

If your mission doesn’t somehow revolve around reaching those who don’t know Christ, your days are numbered. We realize this in the early days of the church, but over the years many of us move from being on mission to maintaining what we already have. This is a recipe for disaster.

  1. Passion

The passion level of the church will never surpass that of the leader. It’s easy to have passion when you’re starting out, but it’s hard to sustain it year after year. So, ask yourself, “How is my passion level?”

  1. Leadership

In many small town churches, the congregation votes on every decision from deciding the pastor’s salary to deciding the color of the carpet. This is not just a bad idea, it’s unbiblical. Healthy churches allow the pastor to lead through a team and put in healthy guardrails for accountability.

  1. Youth

If children and students aren’t a priority in your church, you already have one foot in the grave. The church doesn’t survive without the next generation, so you better make sure you’re investing in them.

My arm is still sore from the shots I received, but I feel a lot better knowing I’ve taken the necessary steps to protect my health. I hope after reading this article you will be able to say the same.

What other shots would you add to this list? Why? Let us know be leaving a comment, and make sure to subscribe to the blog to receive tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

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One thought on “5 Shots to Revitalize a Dying Church

  1. Steven

    Great article!

    Your use of shots and change is spot on and something that I’ve been thinking about lately. Many of the leadership books we read today speak of change needs to happen slowly. I would say 90% of the time I agree with a change happening slowly, but especially when talking about a dying church, sometimes you need a powerful shot that takes affect quickly.

    It is like a dying man or one who is having a deathly, allergic reaction. One needs something desperate such as CPR to keep them alive and another needs a shot from something like an epipen to save their life.

    Many churches need change and change quickly or the death will be painful and sooner than they like. Also, church needs shots for health as well.

    Loved this article.

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