I love New York City for so many reasons! Today as I took a tour of the city the guide pointed out an old above ground rail line that was turned into a city park called the High Line. He explained that it sat vacant as an eye sore for more than a dozen years until someone or a group of leaders recommended restoring it as a city park.
Trust me, it's not like any city park you have ever seen! It really is beautiful and was packed with people enjoying the jogging trails and elevated view of the river nearby. Real estate in the area shot up after the park was built and new buildings have since been built around the park as it is such an attraction today.
In the church world we often see the headaches that come come with restoration and rebuilding and quickly jump to starting a new church or ministry rather than restoring an old one. Please don't get me wrong, I believe strongly in church planting and the launching of new ministries. In my own ministry experience, I would describe my 2 greatest successes to be ministries that I built from the ground up. I have also worked hard to "restore" existing ministries without gaining traction on multiple occasions. Launching a ministry is incredibly challenging and I would say that rebuilding one is even more difficult.
While restoration is challenging, especially in the church, it is incredibly necessary. Some churches or ministries might be dead or need to complete their life cycle, but many still have plenty of life left and even greater years ahead. There are thousands of churches in our country with incredible history and deep foundations, but have lost direction and gone through significant decline. The churches desperately need strong leadership and change agents who can bring restoration and new life. They need leaders with vision and passion that appreciate the past and see opportunity for the future.
Over the past ten years I have seen so many friends in ministry jump on the church planting bandwagon and it is my hope in the next 10 years that I see even more jump on the restoration bandwagon.
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