NAMB, Revitalize Network add focus outside the South

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- The North American Mission Board, in partnering with the new Revitalize Network initiated by Thom Rainer, will provide resources, tools and coaching to churches in need of revitalization outside the South.

"One of the biggest things we hear expressed from established churches outside the South is the need for revitalization resources," NAMB President Kevin Ezell said. "Thom's new network will offer a great solution for that. This will revolutionize the access these churches have to revitalization tools."

Rainer, who has announced his retirement from LifeWay Christian Resources, announced the Revitalize Network's formation Sept. 10.

Through NAMB's partnership with the network, the mission board will help pay for a revitalize "bundle" that includes assessments to help a pastor better know himself, his church and the community they're trying to reach.

"Kevin has a passion for the Great Commission, for reaching lost people, and for helping churches move to greater health," Rainer said, describing the partnership as "indicative of the great mission and vision of both NAMB and its leaders."

Rainer announced Aug. 27 that he would retire from LifeWay after his replacement is found or by the end of August 2019, whichever comes first. The Revitalize Network subsequently launched with LifeWay Christian Resources, California Baptist University and Brentwood (Tenn.) Baptist Church as network partners.

For years NAMB has provided funding to state Baptist conventions for church revitalization efforts. That funding will continue, but through the new partnership NAMB will work with state conventions outside the South to identify churches that could benefit from the Revitalize bundle and cover half the cost for the church.

"We want to see healthy churches that are reaching people for Christ," Ezell said. "That is the goal we have for every church we help Southern Baptists plant and that's our goal with this new partnership. Many state conventions in the South offer great revitalization resources for their churches, but outside the South this is a bigger need."

The bundle, which also will be available to churches throughout North America, will include the services of a coach who will work with a pastor during key stages and help envision a roadmap for the revitalization process.

NAMB also will continue to sponsor the Revitalize & Replant podcast which is co-hosted by Rainer and Mark Clifton who leads NAMB's church replanting efforts.

The Revitalize Network also will provide networking with other churches involved in the revitalization process, church facility evaluations, educational scholarships and assistance with church mergers and acquisitions.

Both Rainer and Ezell expressed hope that the new partnership will help many churches get on the path to better health.

"I believe this new partnership will be the beginning of a wave of church revitalizations across North America," Rainer said.

"We can't afford to have any churches on the sidelines," Ezell said. "Every church has a role to play in the Great Commission assignment we have been given."

For more information about the Revitalize Network, visit For more information about NAMB's church replanting resources, visit

Reported by the communications staff of the North American Mission Board.
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