Old Paths, New Power, Pt 8

This post is part 8 in a series where I post excerpts from the book Old Paths New Power written by Daniel Henderson. I resist making a commentary on the book. Rather, I pull out excerpts that caught my attention at this stage of my pastoral journey.

Chapter 8: A New Movement of Praying Churches

Pastor Sandy Mason: It is easier to find the right talent, the right music program, and give the people what they think they need rather than wait on God for what they really need…Him! Page 134

It hit me that whatever captures the attention of pastors tends to drive the agenda of the church. Page 136

The vision of this fellowship [fellowship of Pastors] would be clear and simple: “to facilitate a Christ-exalting reawakening of pastors in sufficiency of the Spirit of God, the word of God, and the people of God through a return to the leadership priorities of acts 6:4.” Page 137

I understand the academic mindset, but nowhere in the Bible are we told that education and degrees are the secret to effective gospel ministry. Education is a vital ingredient and it is wise to have an adequate toolbox for effective church ministry. Yet tools without power are about as useful as a chainsaw with no gasoline. Page 138

Tozer said it this way, “No man should stand before the audience who is not first stood before God. Many hours of communion should proceed one hour in the pulpit. The prayer chamber should be more familiar than the public platform.” Page 138

If we can see current ministry through the lens of the old paths of Acts, a new day could emerge. Page 140

Professor Donald McDougall declared, “Leaders in the early church brought in other individuals to plan and program so they might devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4).”

The three churches which I was called were led by “elders”. They were wonderful, devoted men. In each case, I learned that while they were using a biblical title, significant confusion exists about the biblical role. For the most part, these elders were actually functioning as trustees or deacons, getting more of their time to budgets, buildings, and personnel issues and very little time to “prayer and the ministry of the Word.” Page 140

We begin to define and refine the role of the elders to align with the biblical priorities of “prayer and ministry of the word.” Additional teams were created to take on all the other administrative items that formerly dominated the meetings, with simple reports back to the elders at the monthly gathering.

Monthly elder meetings that had been comprised of opening prayer, closing prayer, and four to five hours of administrative discussion went away. The new reality involves 60 to 90 minutes of prayer and Scripture, followed by a couple of hours of high-level reports, also punctuated by prayer. Page 140 – 141
A church will never become a house of prayer until the core leaders become a people of prayer. Page 141

We believe it is vital to connect pastors to one another, to learn from one another, and to cheer each other ahead in the priorities of “prayer and the ministry of the word.” Page 143

The national level, the 6:4 Fellowship facilitate encouraging camaraderie among pastors who share a mutual commitment to “prayer and ministry of the word.” Page 143

For more than 20 years (since 1995) the Pastors of Katy, Texas, to pray together every Wednesday at noon. Page 144

(I also note that we all want revival, as long as a start in our denomination.) Page 145

From this common passion for the lost, the churches in Katy and in the greater Houston area have united together in consistent gospel efforts that have reached countless lives. Page 145

It was Matthew Henry, referring to revival, who said, “When God intends great mercy for his people, the first thing he does is set them a-praying”. Page 146

The next steps of “prayer and the word” in your congregation represent your cooperation with the heart and plan of Christ to exalt his name for the sake of the loss. Page 147