Do you need renewal? Does your church need revitalization? Here’s my simple suggestion for moving toward personal renewal and revitalization: remember what it was like to be a young believer, and then recall what it was like to be a rookie pastor. Even if those days were difficult, I suspect most of us have memories that can reignite the fire. Below are some of my personal memories.
As a young believer, I…
- was amazed as I heard the Word. It was fresh, new, alive, and powerful. I couldn’t wait for Sunday to come.
- hungered for teaching. I wanted to know all I could about God, and every new truth fascinated me. Wonder consumed me as I learned.
- wept over my sin. Grace was potent in my life. I did not want to disappoint the God who gave me mercy. When I sinned, my heart broke in repentance.
- passionately shared the gospel with others. I did not worry about what kind of response I would receive; I just wanted to tell others what Jesus had done in my life.
- cherished other believers. I really loved them because they really loved me first. They became my Christian family, in fact, because my parents were not followers of Christ.
Seven years after I became a believer, I began serving as a pastor. As a rookie pastor, I…
- prayed continually. To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing as a pastor – so I desperately needed God’s help. From preaching to evangelizing to leading, I covered it all in prayer.
- read Hebrews 13:17 with great reverence. It almost frightened me that I would answer to God as I cared for the souls of my church members. Responsibility hung heavily over me.
- shared the gospel frequently. That’s what I thought pastors were supposed to do: love lost people enough to tell them the good news, and lead the church to do the same. I would never have imagined a pastor who was not also evangelistic.
- rejoiced in the baptismal waters. Baptizing was an incredible privilege. Up close and personally, I was blessed to be a part as new believers proclaimed their faith through this church ordinance.
- believed the best about the church. They were, after all, the people of God. I believed in them first because the folks in my home church had modeled Christian love for me. Then, the church I pastored loved their “little preacher boy,” too.
My summary is simply this: when I was a young believer, and later when I was a rookie pastor, my life was marked by zeal for the Word, dependence on God, brokenness over sin, love for the church, and passion for evangelism. Where I lack any of these today, I need personal renewal and revitalization. Where I lack one or more, I hinder revitalization in my church.
Where do you need personal renewal and revitalization? How might we pray for you?