We need to remove the personal and corporate barriers that keep God from moving freely in and through us.

We live in an ever-changing world in which the church seems to be struggling to keep up. Our churches are aging and losing their relevance in our post-Christian, postmodern, and pluralistic world. Our children grow up and leave our churches. Churches are moving away from the cities because they aren’t able to connect with the new neighbors and some churches are closing their doors.

Let’s be honest. Ministry is hard. I have experienced the ups and downs of ministry.

I have been a part of a struggling church plant that eventually shut its doors. I have had to cut budgets and lay people off. I have had to shut down ministries and even campuses. I have seen marriages of people in my ministry fall apart. I have seen people walk away from their faith.

I have also been a part of starting effective new churches and effective new campuses. I have been a part of growth that included increasing budgets, hiring more staff, and seeing friends, neighbors, and family members coming to faith, getting baptized, and connecting with our local church.

Here’s the thing: after 25 years of ministry, I can now tell the difference of what leads to those seasons of ups and downs.

Looking back at these last 7 years serving in Austin at Gateway Church, I can see three distinct things we did to move from stagnant and declining to growing and thriving that might help you in your work of revitalization.

1. We need to remove the barriers we have put up between ourselves and God.

As pastors and church leaders we must acknowledge that God builds His Church. We are His servants. Unless He builds, we are laboring in vain.

At the same time, the Scriptures also reveal that we can obstruct what God wants to do in our local churches. When we …

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