Church Revitalisation Network

Detailed information about the 2019 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2018 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in the 2019 Forum's Networks.

2018 Church Revitalisation Network

For the last few decades, there has been a growing realisation that existing churches, even those that were recently planted, are not faring well. Many church leaders currently lack the training necessary to build sustained growth, health, and spiritual vitality.

The Church Revitalisation Network seeks to respond to the decline of existing churches by training church leaders in the spiritual leadership and skills they need to revitalise their churches for long-term sustainability. Its vision is to equip spiritually mature and intellectually well-grounded evangelical church leaders to:

  • Improve the spiritual health of the church through worship, building trust in God as obedient disciples
  • Improve relationships within the church and with unbelievers through face-to-face relationships and better integration of new members
  • Improve the quality of leadership within the church through team building
  • Improve the effectiveness of the church by identifying the mission, vision, and strategic plan
  • Improve the contextualisation of the church through historical, geographical and cultural study of the church’s community

Participants in the Church Revitalisation Network will receive specialised training at the Annual Meeting and throughout the year, as well as helpful resources and opportunities to be mentored.


David Brown has been involved in church planting in France since 1976 and has planted three churches (two in Nancy and one in the Paris suburbs). At present he is “replanting” a church in central Paris (Église Protestante Évangélique de Paris-Cardinet). For many years he was involved with GBU (Groupes Bibliques Universitaires), the French student movement affiliated with IFES, first as General Secretary, and then as chair of the board. He also chairs the Evangelism Commission of the French “National Council of Evangelicals” and teaches church planting and revitalization at the Geneva Bible Institute. He is married to Mary, and they have four adult children and a growing number of grandchildren.



Øyvind Åsland is General Secretary (CEO) of Norwegian Lutheran Mission. Last year the organization celebrated its 125th anniversary. During the last few years he has led some major changes: prioritizing resources towards new areas of mission (scaling down in traditional areas in order to reach the least reached people groups) and starting church planting in Norway as the church situation in Norway has changed. Øyvind has also served as a missionary in Kenya. He is married to Reidun and they have three children.


Martin Robinson is principal and chief executive of ForMission College.  Martin was born in India of missionary parents and then brought up in Scotland where his father was a church planter.  When Martin was in his early twenties he trained for the ministry, and his first church was in the inner city of Birmingham.  This multi-ethnic congregation was engaged in church planting, and Martin, together with his wife, Lynda led one of the new church plants.  After thirteen years in local ministry, Martin went to work for the Bible Society in the UK in a variety of roles. In that period he was the director of mission and theology. Martin has written many books on the broad theme of mission, including Faith of the Unbeliever and Invading Secular Space. In 2002 Martin became the national director of Together in Mission. In 2008 he became the principal of Springdale College. These two organisations are now known as ForMission. The goal of ForMission is to prepare workers for the harvest.


Jim Crooks is a pastor of an independent church in Perth, Scotland. After graduating in business studies in 1981, Jim went on to work in financial and administrative roles before entering further and higher education as an Assistant Principal. He became Principal of a college in Northern Ireland in 2004 and successfully led three colleges to a merger in 2007. He became Principal of a similar college in Scotland and led four colleges to merger in 2012. For three years after his retirement from secular employment in 2012, Jim was a lecturer and coordinator of part-time provision at Tilsley College, a small theological college in Scotland. In addition to his pastoral ministry, Jim also teaches and preaches in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe. He works with the Church Strengthening Initiative, supporting churches and their leadership teams to make change, and is a trustee for Echoes International, a mission support agency supporting mission workers across the globe. Jim was widowed in 2012 but has married Laura in December 2017. He is a father of one grown son and a grandfather of two boys.


Ed Welch holds a PhD in counselling psychology with a neuro-psychology specialty from the University of Utah, as well as an MDiv from Biblical Theological Seminary. Ed has been counselling and teaching at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. for over thirty years and has written many books and articles on biblical counselling including, When People Are Big and God Is Small, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Depression, Running Scared, Shame, Interrupted, and Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love. He and his wife, Sheri, have two married daughters and eight grandchildren. In his spare time Ed enjoys hanging out with his wife and extended family, and playing his guitar.


John Stevens is the National Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, a family of over 500 Bible-centred churches in the UK, a position that he has held since 2010. Prior to this he was one of the founding pastors of City Evangelical Church Birmingham, which was planted in the centre of the UK’s 2nd largest city in 1999. He was instrumental in starting the Midlands Gospel Partnership, was the course Director of the Midlands Ministry Training Course and is a visiting lecturer at Oak Hill Theological College. John is also one of the pastors of Christchurch Market Harborough, a church he helped to plant when he took up his current role.  He was converted whilst studying law at Cambridge University, and after taking a post-graduate degree at the University of Oxford worked for 16 years as a University Lecturer, ending his career as Deputy Head of the Law School at the University of Birmingham. John is married to Ursula and they have four children aged between 12 and 7. He blogs at on theology, church life and ministry, culture and politics.



Day 1

The Reason for this Network: An Introduction to Revitalisation
David Brown

Why is church revitalisation necessary? Why is it so difficult? What is the difference between revival and revitalisation? This session will present some of the barriers to revitalisation, as well as statistics from the USA and Europe. Attendees will learn specific steps that we as leaders can take to encourage the revitalisation of our churches.


Renewing a Congregation through Church Planting Thinking
Martin Robinson

Renewing a church is very different from planting a new church, but what we can learn from church planting to help our revitalisation efforts?  What might we be missing?  We'll discuss such issues as leadership, building a team, fundamentals, and context as we consider how to bring new life to our existing congregation.

Day 2

Paper Discussion: The Gospel in Europe Today
David Brown

What is the status of Gospel ministry in Europe today? What are the challenges and opportunities that European Christian leaders face? What strategies have proven the most effective? In this session we will consider the historical and cultural context of Europe in order to discuss how God is working. By taking an honest look at the struggles, challenges, and needs of the current situation, we can create a vision for the future of Gospel work in Europe.


Real Relationships: How to Speak Openly in Your Church
Ed Welch

Our churches are the place in which we should be able to be open with each other—open with our sorrows and our sins—but so many people are reluctant to share their hearts. This workshop will consider how you share your own heart with your church in a way that invites them to do the same.

Day 3

Old Habits or New Vision? Leading Change in a Traditional Organisation
Øyvind Asland

Many Christian organizations and churches in Europe have a long history and a great legacy. That is a reason to celebrate and give praise to the Lord. At the same time, our past can be a hindrance for renewal and growth. It is easy for the members and leaders of such churches and organizations to lean back and live on past greatness, not realizing that things have changed – both in the Christian community and in society at large. Or, when realizing that they are in decline, they may try to re-create the wonderful past. Instead of despairing, we as leaders are called to bring change and renewal to our communities! The leader has a crucial role, and needs to honor the past, analyze the current situation, create new visions (or return to the original vision), and help his people understand the need for change, renewal, and movement into the new great things that the Lord is creating. This session will explore how leaders can bring hope and effective strategy to organizations and churches that need renewal.


Church Revitalisation as a Network or Denominational Strategy
John Stevens

Alongside church growth and church planting, church revitalisation is a vital strategy for the advance of the Gospel and the re-evangelisation of European countries that have a strong Christian heritage. Whilst revitalisation may take place at an individual local church level, often it is most effective when a gospel network or denomination is able to develop and implement a strategy for revitalisation at a corporate level. Networks and denominations have the ability to identify revitalisation opportunities and to connect resources and people to bring new life to dying or struggling churches. A revitalisation strategy will only be effective if the whole network/denomination grasps the vision and potential for revitalisation, and especially if the leaders of larger growing churches are prepared to invest in revitalisation projects.

Drawing on the experiences of the FIEC (Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches), a network of 579 independent churches in the UK, this session will examine how a network of denominations can develop and implement a strategic vision for church revitalisation, which is owned and shared by the churches that belong to the group. It will highlight the need for visionary central leadership; the importance of appointing project leaders who are able to understand the concerns of struggling churches, mediate between them, and be willing to assist in their revitalisation; and of identifying and training gifted pastors to undertake revitalisation.  It will identify some of the common challenges and obstacles to church revitalisation and how they might be overcome, as well as share stories of successful revitalisations that have resulted in growing churches that are reaching new people with the gospel.

Day 4

Strengthening Hands
Jim Crooks

Revitalisation of the church is the sovereign work of God through the Holy Spirit for the Glory of our Lord Jesus. In His grace, we are incorporated into this divine enterprise. Nehemiah was selected to co-lead a post-exilic revival of Judah but he wasn’t given a pre-written blueprint from heaven: he had to go out at night and gain intelligence and then devise an appropriate plan for reaching the visionary end result. This session considers practical steps in devising a framework for church progress to achieve biblical ends.


Where Do We Go From Here? Writing an Action Plan
David Brown

This session will begin with a review of everything has been covered earlier in the network. Participants will have the opportunity not only to reflect on what they have learned, but also to generate an action plan adapted to their specific situation. By sharing these plans with each other, participants will be able to make them as practical and achievable as possible, and will leave the Forum with a set of practical steps that will enable the training and resources they have gained to bear fruit beyond the Forum context.


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