Metanoic Adaptation: the Necessary Experience that Precedes Church Revitalization
A look at the church landscape shows that once vibrant and influential churches sometimes have stagnated or died. Without a remedy, some of the EFC-ER churches I superintend have already faced this. My contention is that such churches can be revitalized. When, how, and with what tools can they be transformed? I answer these questions in this document. Revitalization is not a formula to guarantee success; it is an experience that spiritually and strategically remakes the church from the inside out. I call the experience Metanoic Adaptation. By research and experience, I frame the conditions, components, and course for that experience. Chapter One presents the paralyzing problem within the context of the churches I serve and my own life. I claim that the Metanoic Adaptation experience is an internal change that leads a healthier church to externally change its ministry to find greater fruitfulness. Chapter Two explores the first portion of the Metanoic Adaptation experience: the church's self-image. A literature review describes psychological, sociological, and ecclesiological insights that foster the internal metanoia. Chapter Three delves into the second portion of the experience: the reformation of the church's outreach ministries. Contributors from varied backgrounds-including a Friends view of outreach-establish the timeless principles of adaptation. Chapter Four examines what this experience looked like in the case study of Friends Worship Center to demonstrate the experience that propelled them to double their attendance and financial statistics within a period of six months. Chapter Five distills the key lessons of the previous chapters and presents them in a format for a broader audience, such as an article for publication. Appendices follow that further detail the case study (Appendix A) and provide teaching outlines for use in a seminar setting (Appendices B to F) on the subject of Metanoic Adaptation.