Church Revitalization for Children’s, Youth, and Family Ministry

By Dr. Josh Mulvihill


There are reactive and proactive reasons why church leaders seek help from Renewanation. Typically, a senior pastor or church leader contacts us with questions about a specific issue within the children’s or youth ministry of a church. Chief among the problems are reactive reasons to partner with Renewanation:

  • Attendance has plateaued or declined. Student attendance is declining, and families are leaving.

  • Conflict exists between pastoral leadership and members of the congregation. Often, there is a growing dissatisfaction with ministry approach or ministry results.

  • A lack of vision and ministry direction.

Revitalization requests based on a desire to proactively address the health and growth of the church’s children or youth ministry fall into six primary areas:

  • The church is healthy and growing and would like to be intentional about the next season of ministry.

  • The church does not have a plan for their children’s, youth, or family ministry and wants to develop a strategic plan.

  • The children and youth ministries are doing okay, but the church is unsure of its strengths and weaknesses and the next phase of ministry.

  • A church leader wants to save time by assessing and addressing issues more quickly than he could with his own staff.

  • There is a change in ministry leadership, which provides an opportunity to assess the current state of ministry and create a new plan.

The church revitalization program was created in response to five major needs:


1. Poor evangelism and discipleship results Many churches invest a significant amount of resources to reach and disciple the next generation, yet unprecedented numbers of young people are walking away from Christ and the church. We help family ministries reach young people with the gospel, retain them in the life of the church, and raise them in the Lord, so they have a deep and lasting faith.


2. Underdeveloped theology and ministry philosophy Many churches base their children’s and youth ministry approach on the latest trend or the large church down the road rather than the Bible. Children and youth ministry methodology have largely remained stagnant for decades while families have grown dysfunctional and culture has changed significantly. We help churches build their ministry on a strong biblical foundation and methods.


3. Lack of family discipleship and biblical worldview development Most churches have a strong desire to support the home but struggle to implement any regular, systematic training. Parents often outsource the faith training of their children to paid church professionals and substitute church programming for family discipleship. Research reveals low numbers of young people develop a biblical worldview. We help churches equip parents and grandparents as well as integrate biblical worldview training into their ministry.


4. No ministry measurements or intentional plan A majority of family ministry leaders do not have a ministry measurement system in place and typically have no long-term plan for the spiritual development of young people. We help churches measure ministry results and develop a strategic plan.


5. Lack of coaching Many children’s and youth leaders have limited theological education or church experience and benefit from godly counsel in their life. We provide coaching to help church leaders faithfully steward the important role God has given them.


Renewanation Distinctives

Renewanation’s revitalization program is based on a biblical foundation built around the institutions God created for the evangelism and discipleship of young people with a biblical worldview at the center.


Biblical Foundation

God created two great commission institutions for the evangelism and discipleship of children with a third institution that operates by delegated authority. Renewanation helps churches develop Bible-based, Christ-centered vibrant ministries around the four areas that influence the spiritual life of young people the most: parents, grandparents, education, and the church.

  • The family: “So that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation” (Ps 78:7-8).

  • The church: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19-20).

  • The school: “A student [disciple] is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).

Biblical Worldview

I define biblical worldview as a set of beliefs, assumptions, or values based on the Bible that determines how a person lives. We help churches integrate a Bible-based set of core truths into its curriculum, classrooms, volunteer training, and homes.


Renewanation’s church revitalization program has three phases:


1. Assessment: The first phase consists of a two-day visit where we will begin an in-depth analysis of existing conditions and provide suggestions to increase health and impact of the children’s and youth ministry. During this time, we examine philosophy, personnel, and programs through observation and interviews. During this phase, we will meet with key individuals in the organization, ask questions, listen, look for patterns, and make recommendations.


2. Strategic planning: The second phase involves a one-day visit where we facilitate the development of a new strategic deployment plan with a small number of church leaders. During this phase, we arrive at a shared philosophy, dream about future outcomes, and identify key priorities culminating in a detailed action plan.


3. Implementation: The third phase is ongoing support and coaching for a period of six to nine months to help a church implement its strategic plan. This phase consists of monthly phone or video calls to track progress.


The Next Step

Church leaders have access to great books that can help grow a ministry, but sometimes it takes an outside perspective and a hands-on approach to bring about significant transformation. If you would like to explore our church revitalization program and the possibility of working with Renewanation, contact Dr. Josh Mulvihill at jmulvihill@renewanation.org. We would be delighted to serve your church in any way that we can.



Dr. Josh Mulvihill is the Executive Director of Church and Family Ministry at Renewanation. He served as a pastor for nearly 20 years and helped launch The Legacy Coalition, a ministry that equips grandparents to pass faith on to future generations. He holds a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of Biblical Grandparenting and Preparing Children for Marriage. Josh is married to Jen, and they have five children. Connect with Josh on Twitter at @DrJoshMulvihill.