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Lee Kricher on Church Revitalization for a New Generation

Lee Kricher on Church Revitalization for a New Generation

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lee_kricher_podcastWelcome to this week’s unSeminary podcast and thank you so much for joining in. We have Lee Kricher with us.

Lee started preaching with Amplify Church in the suburbs of Pittsburgh in 2003, which was really at a moment of much needed revitalization. Amplify started in the late 70s and had very strong growth until about 1990 when it began to decline. In the last thirteen years, they’ve done everything they could do to turn the church around and connect with the younger generation.

One of the biggest indicators that a church is in decline is not only the average attendance, but the average age of the congregation. While the average age of the community where Amplify was located was mid-30s, the average age of Amplify’s congregation was mid-50s. They needed to find ways to connect with the community around them. Lee is with us today to talk about how they revitalized Amplify Church and how you can do the same.

  • Make a change in mindset. // The apostle Paul writes about having our minds renewed. The church needed to renew themselves organizationally because their mindset was “if it’s good enough for me, it should be good enough for my kids.” It wasn’t the values or beliefs that were the problem, it was that the mindset of the church was stuck in the 80s. They needed to move forward from believing that what they had always done was good enough, to questioning what it would take to reach the younger generation. That change in mindset became the foundation for the revitalization of the rest of the church.
  • Focus on the responsibilities of the church. // To prepare the congregation for the needed changes, Lee made it a focus of his sermons for the first few months. Lee emphasized how important it is to not only live a Godly life, but to also focus on the legacy that we leave for the next generation. In addition to the sermons, he also took the leadership team to North Point in Georgia to see a multi-generational church in action and how they are changing their city. This expanded the team’s horizon and gather inspiration and ideas. Within a few months, many members agreed that they could not stay the same and changes were necessary in order to reach that younger generation.
  • Identify your essentials. // For Amplify Church, the essentials were the weekend service, small groups, and children/youth ministry. They committed that they would give up everything else and put 100% of their focus into those three things because they felt that those were the important factors that would lead others to Christ. As Lee notes: “Studies have shown that perhaps the highest-impact churches tend to have a smaller number of things that they try to focus on.” Determine what the essentials are in your church and put all of your energy into them.
  • Make room for the younger generation. // One of the problems at Amplify was that there was no dedicated space for children and teens. Everything was focused on the adults and set up for their use. They had the attitude that the children could use that area when the adults weren’t using it. So one of the changes Lee instituted was setting aside a dedicated space for the children/youth. This was met with some criticism because there were no children attending the church at the time, but Lee explained that this was the whole reason change was needed. Once Amplify had this dedicated space and ministry for kids, the members began to reach out to family and friends to invite them to come and bring their children. This began a buzz around town that something was really happening at Amplify and new people started coming with their families. The church developed the reputation of being one that really cared about kids, something that they’d never had before. It’s critical to focus on children and student ministry in order to reach the younger generations and make a difference in both the church’s reputation and the community around you.

You can learn more about Amplify Church at their website www.amplifychurch.com. Or check out Lee’s book on revitalizing your church at www.foranewgeneration.com.

Thank You for Tuning In!

There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally!

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Lightning Round

Helpful Tech Tools // Biblegateway.com, GLS Next app

Ministries Following // North Point

Influential Book // Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow by Carey Nieuwhof

Inspiring Leader // Andy Stanley, Brian Houston, Bill Hybels

What does he do for fun // Enjoying Pittsburgh sports, Traveling with his wife

Contact // www.foranewgeneration.com, www.amplifychurch.com

2 Comments

  1. A great church to be part of

  2. Great interview! I had the pleasure of attending and serving at Amplify during the “re-growing years” of the 2000’s before moving to NJ. Such a fun and creative group of leaders at this church with a desire to reach the next generation! I was impressed by the large number of young 20-something leaders during those years, too. Lee was invested in creating new leaders and empowering them and promoting excellence in ministry. As a result, Amplify had amazing musical talent, Kidstuff drama talent, awesome services for teens, relevant weekend messages, beautiful “environments” for kids, young adults, and adult age groups–there was a huge “wow factor” when attending small groups or the services, (Kidstuff, NRG, or Sat/Sun services). And Lee also made it easy for attendees to plug-in to opportunities to grow in one’s faith, serve, and get involved in outreach.

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