The Restart of Northwest Community Church

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I first heard about the idea of a church restart after my first year of serving in what was then “National Memorial Church of God” in Washington, DC.  The average attendance was 32 in those days, and we were only a few funerals away from being in dire straits.  In the midst of that difficult period, the church trusted me enough to try a restart process. The church board gave complete control over to an outside advisory group of leaders within our association and eventually the history of the church was brought to a strategic end. In June, 2006 we held the last service for the church. The members were released from their volunteer and financial commitments.  A letter of release was read to the church from our association headquarters. Then, we started putting together a launch team and dreaming about what God might want to do in Northwest Washington, DC.  About two-thirds of the members from the old church stayed and we began adding new members who were excited to be a part of the start of a new church that we decided to call “Northwest Community Church”.

Ten years later, the membership has risen to nearly 200.  The budget has more than doubled, and the ministries of the church are strong and healthy. Over the last few years, our children’s ministry has exploded so that we eventually had to renovate our children’s environments. Restarting a church is a drastic step fraught with uncertainty.  I want to share the story because I know a lot of churches are struggling and facing what appears to be an almost certain death unless something happens.  The Scripture passage that guided me was Mark 8:35. The passage says: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”

That passage forever changed the trajectory of my ministry and our church. I asked a church to allow their preferences, traditions and comfort to die for the sake of the gospel.  Surprisingly, they did it.  They did it trusting that there would be life on the other side of that tomb.

The book called “Dying to Live” is our effort to share this message of hope with other pastors and church leaders.  Maybe God is calling you to finally let go so that He can go to work in ways that you never dreamed possible.

Dan Turner, Lead Pastor of Northwest Community Church

Can you Lead a Restart? Find Help Here…

If you are considering a church restart, we want to help you determine if it would be a good fit for you. Click the link below to access both free and low cost leadership assessment tools.

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Greg Wiens (Healthy Growing Churches) and Dan Turner (Northwest Community Church) have coauthored a book to help churches that are nearing the end of their life cycle. A church restart is a more drastic revitalization technique that is used to help churches choose a strategic death so they can find new life.

Church Restart

A Definition

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Church Restart: A process by which a church long in decline chooses to lay to rest its vision, structure, ministries and history so that its Kingdom resources (members, leaders and assets) can be redirected to launch a new mission-focused church.

A restart combines all of the approaches of church planting with the pastoral work of helping a congregation to die. A restart is different from all other forms of church revitalization in that the existing church chooses a definitive ending characterized by a radical yielding of power and control to new guiding leadership.  Churches in need of a restart would not be able to withstand the time and effort required for a drastic revitalization.  In fact, most churches ready for a restart have a long history of failed revitalization attempts.

Greg Wiens (Healthy Growing Churches) and Dan Turner (Northwest Community Church) have coauthored a book to help churches that are nearing the end of their life cycle. A church restart is a more drastic revitalization technique that is used to help churches choose a strategic death so they can find new life.