Plug Into God’s Power

There is a tendency to wonder, What am I doing? That feeling of spinning your wheels and not seeing any fruit from your preaching, teaching, and leading in the church. You might even scroll through social media and see the “successes” of other leaders and churches, and ask again, What am I doing? 

Today’s church leaders live in a fishbowl sometimes of their own making, but many times in the expectation of those around them that numbers mean effectiveness when effectiveness is measured differently by God. 

I am not sure, but I do not see God hanging over the banister of heaven looking down and counting people in your pews or how many people gave this past week. I sense he is looking for a heart change rather than how much change is in the offering plate. God has a plan for each church and its leader. He has a plan that will surprise and delight your imagination if you stay faithful to the calling. A pastor friend of mine, Dr. Charles Kirby, is fond of saying, “God is never late; he is right on time,” and it’s a reminder that God’s plan is never late.

When I pray for God’s will, I begin to pick up a sense of direction I did not have before. What happened? It was removing my power and plugging into God’s power for the local church. And it all starts with prayer.

God Is Calling the Church to Gather and Listen.

Each week in reviewing the bulletin, you might get overwhelmed by all the service opportunities in the church and miss the real reason for service on Sunday. The busyness that has overtaken the world has now infiltrated the church and has kept many from focusing on God.

Busyness can lead to complacency, and complacency leads to decline. When a church spends time in dedicated prayer, seeking the inspiration of God, it begins to turn the attention from self to the Savior. At that very moment, the church is open to listen to God and hear the direction in which he is moving. Gathering times do not necessarily have to be at a typical service time; it can be a special called prayer time. Focus prayer becomes God’s gathering place to transform the church and break through into where he wants to lead.

God Is Calling the Church to Obey His Commands.

As the church turns to prayer, the enemy will want nothing more than to defeat the church in the infancy of the new focus. Stay focused not on the enemy but on why the church has come together to pray. Prayer should be seen as the motor of the church, and should be seen to focus the church on the commands that God has for the church. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer…” (Matt. 21:13). Turning prayer into a movement that captures the soul of the church recreates the day the church was birthed and the passion of serving God and the community. 

Prayer essentially brings the holy fire down upon the church and its situation. The command of God to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17) is one the church needs to practice daily, not just when things are tough. God has a fantastic plan for the local church, but the church must believe and then lean into that plan by doing its part in praying regularly for the community, needs, and requests of others.

God Is Calling the Church to Do Its Part in the Life of Others.

Outside the local church is a community that desperately needs the church’s influence. The world radically approves of the nature of sin that the Bible speaks against. Think about the opportunity the church has to be at the forefront of conveying God’s love, grace, and hope into the sin-filled world. Instead of hiding inside its four walls, the church can step out into the lives of those struggling in sin and lead them into the forgiving love of Christ. It will not be easy, but it will be seen as an act of compassion, as Christ was compassionate to you when he took you out of sin.

Look around to see where your local church can join in helping where God is already at work. Maybe it’s a special nonprofit that speaks to the church’s heart, a single mother who needs extra yardwork completed, or an elderly member who needs meals brought in weekly. When you begin to pray with a focus for eyes wide open on others, God will reveal his plan for your local church. A willing church fully surrendered through a life of prayer captures the blessing of the church and thus the blessing of God in the act of loving on those in need in the community.

A church that prays is a church that changes its focus from self to the Savior and redeems the time for God’s will in the church’s life. Be faithful to the call, and guide your church to gather and listen to what God is saying, obey his commands, and serve as the light in a dark world. When you do, you will receive a blessing that passes all understanding.

Desmond Barrett
Desmond Barrett
Desmond Barrett is the lead pastor at Winter Haven First Church of the Nazarene in Winter Haven, Florida. He is the author of several books, most recently, Helping the Small Church Win Guests: Preparing To Increase Attendance (Wipf & Stock Publications) and has done extensive research in the area of church revitalization and serves as church revitalizer, consultant, coach, podcast host and mentor to revitalizing pastors and churches.