But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
—Isaiah 43:18-19, NLT
Last June, Major Cassandra DeJesús received a new appointment as corps and community mission secretary with a focus in corps revitalization. With that, she was given the responsibility of creating a corps revitalization model for the territory.
This last year was productive as research was undertaken and strategies were created, which she says are vital since what has worked in the past to stimulate corps growth may not currently work due to factors like changing neighborhoods and cultural norms.
“Rather than trying to revive the past, real renewal comes from rediscovering their mission, reengaging their mission field, and refocusing their resources to support the mission,” writes William T. Chaney, Jr. in an article titled, “There Is No Such Thing as Church Revitalization” for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership (churchleadership.com).
We need to change our method of how we share, live out the gospel and connect with those in our communities, the major advocates.
“We are not changing the message God has called us each to share,” she said, “but we do need to look for new ways to reengage the mission field in 2020 and beyond.”
There are already corps in our territory using new strategies in order to see “More people, more like Jesus” in their communities. Approaches such as Dinner Church and Messy Church are occurring more frequently as corps officers and lay leaders look for ways to engage and minister to individuals and families in their communities.
The Corps Revitalization Model that is being created will show a corps how to rediscover its mission through Bible studies, neighborhood prayer walks and feedback from the community as it moves from maintenance to missional.
Corps revitalization will look different in every corps because each community is different. The objective is to find what works in the community, take calculated risks that are bathed in prayer and fulfill the mission for which God has equipped us.
There also will be opportunities for corps officers and lay leaders to create their own Ministry Action Plan as they move forward to reengage with their communities. Coaching will be available for corps officers and their leaders as they work through this process.
“God desires to do something new in our territory,” said Major Cassie. “And I believe it is already happening. The question is, do we want to be a part of it?”