Back in high school, LifeWay CEO and President Thom S. Rainer spent many Friday nights playing tailback for what he calls a scrappy football team.
He noted they weren’t the biggest, fastest or most athletic players, but because of the team’s grit and determination, they overcame a bad season to make it into the quarterfinals of the state playoffs the following year.
In his new book, “Scrappy Church: God’s Not Done Yet,” Rainer calls on churches to bring a similar mentality to revitalization — something he believes is attainable if churches are willing to roll up their sleeves and get a little scrappy.
“I have seen many so-called hopeless churches become turnaround churches,” Rainer said. “I have seen congregations defy all the doom-and-gloom prognosticators. I have seen churches spit in the face of the objective facts that say it can’t be done.
“I call these turnaround churches ‘scrappy churches.'” he said. “While scrappy church leaders are not blind to the difficulties around them and in their congregations, they remain certain God is still at work.”
Rainer believes many churches in North America resemble the state of an overwhelmed team when they say things like:
— “We can’t reach young families; they go to the big church that has all the children’s and student stuff.”
— “We don’t have the money or the people the other churches have.”
— “We can’t compete with the megachurch in our town.”
But in “Scrappy Church,” Rainer tells stories of real churches that are in a new mode of revitalization and that — for the first time in years, maybe decades — are experiencing hope.
“I see the beginning of a movement of profound church revitalization in so many congregations,” Rainer said. “And if the pattern continues, we could see as many as 100,000 churches move from decline to growth, ineffectiveness to effectiveness, divisiveness to unity, and hopelessness to hope.”
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Source: Baptist Press