If you are a long-term reader of this website, you know that we do not agree with Thom Ranier. He has come out with another church strategy to help churches get better. The problem is his strategy is not biblically based but secular business based. You can read about it at the following link:
Everything Mr. Ranier mentions for returning a church to spiritual health is not supported nor mentioned in the Bible. At best, he is copying the secular business world to formulate his ideas on how the church should be renewed. Everything he is talking about is a direct copy of business world terms and strategies. Contrary to a large contingent of people, the church is not a small business and it should not be treated like one.
It is an extension or representation of the kingdom of God and it needs to follow God’s rules if it wants to be or return to spiritual health. The Bible tells us that it is “not by might nor by power but by my spirit”… that will rejuvenate ailing churches. It is clear from his point # 1, that Mr. Ranier does not know how to bring God’s ways to churches. He says:
A relaunch may be more palatable for members who are not ready to give away their church to another church. Granted, relaunching has many challenges. It is basically shutting down the church for a period and re-opening it with a new purpose and identity
The church does not need a new identity. There is no other god they can represent and still be a member of God’s Kingdom. There is no other faith than the one Christ started for the church to switch to. The identity of the church remains the same because God and Christ remain the same. Nor can the purpose of the church be changed. It still represents God, his ways and his purpose.
Whether it goes from missions orientated to evangelism orientated, the church is preaching the same gospel message to unbelievers. It still has the same duty to care for everyone and it must teach the truth so that believers can grow in Christ.
We will let you go through the rest of his points and see for yourselves that his ideas bring nothing of God to a hurting or dying church. Needs are not being met, problems are not being solved, but they are being avoided by his strategy. He brings nothing to help solve the problems that ruined the spiritual health in any given church.
In Mr. Ranier’s work, he says he uses other words to help ailing churches regroup. The problem is that those two words, revitalize and replant, have nothing to do with God’s ways. They are as bad as his relaunch idea. God tells people to wait for him in Isaiah 30 . He does not say gain new strength through following the secular business strategies of the world.
Psalm 51 has David telling us how spiritual health can be returned. He says:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. (v. 10 NASB)
God does the renewing and creates the right spirit in people. Not badly used and formed business ideas.
Lamentations tells us:
Restore us to You, O Lord, that we may be restored; Renew our days as of old, (5:21 NASB)
Again, it is God who does the spiritual renewal and not the blind deceived secular world or people like Mr Ranier who have left their bibles behind and ignored God’s instructions. Then Paul warns us in Romans about copying the secular world when he says:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (12:2 NASB)
The church has to conform to God’s way if it wants to remain spiritually healthy or return to spiritual health. We do not use those strategies that care nothing for people and only about the survival of the business.
If any church wants t be spiritually healthy, then it must learn to obey God, ignore what secular culture deems vital for survival and make sure they preach the truth. False teachers must be removed from leadership and teaching positions. Immature believers need to be taught correctly how to hear the voice of God and given the support they need to follow God’s will wherever it takes them.
Then accepted ideas of God’s will must be done away with so the church can clearly hear what God wants them to do. Discernment, wisdom, and an open mind (not to sin or false teaching), must be used to make sure the person is following the right spiritual directions. The key of course is to discern the difference between bad secular advice and strategies and God’s way.
Church leaders also have to be strong enough to stop popular or famous people from offering the wrong advice and tell them that their advice is misleading and in error. getting the church back to spiritual health means taking God and his words seriously. You can’t win people to Christ when you ignore his instructions and follow the secular world.