By Lynn Hardaway
The leader who desires to revitalize a congregation must develop a prayer life that connects him to the instructive guidance of the Father; without this vital source of wisdom and power, nothing truly transformative can occur. The revitalizer must be that person Jesus described to His listeners when He explained how to bring life to others:
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”” (John 7:37–38, NKJV)
The scene He paints in the minds of His hearers is one of flourishing and fertile croplands sourced by a never-ending, always fresh and abundant supply of water; this revitalizing water flows from the heart of the man or woman who has learned the irreplaceable value of drinking daily, determinedly and deeply from His presence and doing what He tells them to do.
Some surveys indicate many pastors spend about 10-15 minutes a day in prayer; if this is anywhere near accurate, it explains the loss of vitality in a multitude of congregations. There is no possible way we will ever bring life to a congregation by sipping His presence as we would a cup of tea. When we are really thirsty, we do not reach for a teacup; we want something large with enough water to replenish our dehydrated cells; and, we keep drinking until our body tells us its fluids are in balance again.
The single most important key to revitalizing a congregation is increasing the amount of time we spend with God, “drinking in” His advice and counsel. When we operate from His counsel, the water of life flows from our heart and, eventually, people and programs will begin to flourish around us. Keep in mind, their improvement has little to do with our own abilities; it is a work of God.
In my experience, it is not just the amount of time spent in prayer that prepares the revitalizer’s heart, it is the content of that prayer time that matters. What are we trying to accomplish in our facetime with the Father?
The Father has a plan for the place we serve and He will show us the plan, usually one step at a time.
Ask Him for directions, instructions, ideas, truths that will transform the congregation. His creative power and insight is available to the church and pastor who will allow Him to be the head (Colossians 1:16-18). The head is where our thoughts and plans and ideas originate; spending more time in His presence allows Him the opportunity to share His amazing advice and counsel with us.