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Red Hills Southern Baptist Church in Enoch, UT, wasn’t ever going to be a traditional revitalization.

“I’m surprised you would answer a call to that church.” Nothing boosts a pastor’s excitement about a new ministry more than hearing that before he even gets on the field.

But while it did have a bit of a dampening effect, I wasn’t surprised by the sentiment. I’d heard enough throughout the interview process from people in the area, former pastors, current deacons, and more that confirmed that this was a church in need of revitalization:

“We’ve thought about closing the doors.”

“You could walk in on a Sunday and feel the tension in the air.”

“I finally quit going to business meetings because of all the fighting.”

What We Were

Red Hills Southern Baptist Church in Enoch, UT, wasn’t ever going to be a traditional revitalization.

When I used to think about church revitalization, I would think of old, established churches in Southern towns. This one was in the “pioneer” state of Utah and less than 25 years old. I thought there would be pictures of long-dead pastors lining the foyer, but this one didn’t have a single one commemorated.

Surely, at least two items in each room would have a memorial plaque attached to them, but this one didn’t have two in the whole building. And, I guessed that every Sunday there would be the same crowd of seven elderly saints drinking weak, burnt coffee and eating stale donuts after the service, but worship attendance here was running just under one hundred, and there weren’t any donuts. I was right about the coffee, though.

But there were more significant problems than that. The church had been over two hundred in worship just a few years before. Their last pastor had left after about a year. The …

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