Before a pastor initializes a program for revitalization, some simple steps need to be followed. I recognize that these steps may seem to be rather unsophisticated and even condescending. One would think that every Christian knows how to do a quiet time, but the fact is many of us do not. This detail happens to be especially true in ministry, so allow me the privilege to suggest these ideas:
Set aside a specific, uninterrupted time for Bible study.
Use a Bible and notebook that will be used only for this study. Acquire a Bible where notes can easily be written in the margins, on the pages, and in the back.
Utilize a devotional guide that will help you in a systematic or topical study of Scripture. Suggestions are Daily Walk published by Walk Through the Bible Ministries or LifeWalk published by LifeWay Press.
Put together a spiral-bound prayer notebook in which daily and weekly prayers can be recorded and tabbed when answered. Pray daily for your ministry and immediate family members. On each day of the week, have other specific requests that relate to your church, church members, missions and specific missionaries, other family members, nonbelievers, other believers, and a day just for thanksgiving. Put these ideas into categories that you follow Monday through Sunday. By following a plan like this one, a daily prayer routine will not become rote or repetitive.
Include a specific time that relates to your own confession of sin, need for personal revival and revitalization, and the need for your church and ministry. Keep an ongoing list of church needs that relate to revitalization.
Do not let anything get in the way of your time for revitalization.
I am convinced that, with all of the discouragements and disappointments that pastors face, the one resolve that creates a steady sense of expectation comes from personal revitalization. One cannot revitalize the church if personal pessimism becomes the norm.
William Henard, Can These Bones Live: A Practical Guide to Church Revitalization (Nashville: B&H, 2015).
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