Spiritual Vitality

“We actually slander and dishonor God by our very eagerness to serve Him without knowing Him.” – Oswald Chambers

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” - Martin Luther


Andy Stanley has famously said, “Cheat the church. Don’t cheat your family.” He’s making a very important point.  Workaholism is the pain that people applaud. We never want to assume that a church planter has mastered the art of balanced living. In fact, the classic profile of a church planter is a man with his hair on fire! Obsessed with work, he can’t put it down, and lives with a low level anger that bubbles over usually in his family life, or a persistent anxiety that robs him of sleep he so desperately needs to keep pushing this terrifying thing forward.


I remember there being days when I couldn’t draw a deep breath because of the anxiety I was feeling. I remember praying, “God I am scared out of my wits about what’s going to happen next, or what is not going to happen that so desperately needs to happen.”  At that moment, what I believed about God was revealed. Did I believe He could be trusted, that He had my back, that he was a good God that would not rip me off?  Or did I wallow in fear and unbelief?  Did I believe He really could not be trusted?

 “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart…” Deuteronomy 4:9 NASB


There are moments in the journey where we need to invite the Lord into the middle of everything and not miss what He wants to say. We need to stop and enjoy him. The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with the first of 107 questions: Q: What is the chief end of man? A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Perhaps the Presbyterians do better at the second of these statements:  “to enjoy Him forever.” The rest of us would be hard pressed if we were asked, “Do you enjoy God?” Seriously?


If we lose the ability to enjoy Him, we are missing the entire point of what we are trying to do!  I must confess, there are times that I do not enjoy God, and I have found that those times are in direct proportion to the amount of time I spend fellowshipping with God through prayer and His Word.

Psalm 27:4 says, The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory. TLB


Here are 7 suggestions for keeping your spiritual life energized:

  1. Spend time with God in prayer every day, and give him your optimal time.  If you want your people to bleed prayer, you must hemorrhage!
  2. Take a day of prayer once per month.  This is not a day off.  This is hard work.
  3. Read, memorize, and meditate on the Word.  Listen to Bible teachers’ podcasts. Most of the great preachers read massive amounts of scripture annually.
  4. Journal – It’s not just for the girls. To remain an emotionally healthy Christian, you need to stay in touch with your feelings, and pay attention to the work of God in you.
  5. Develop the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life. Read great works on deepening your intimacy with God.
  6. Enlist a strong network of prayer cover. The common denominator of successful church planters is the degree to which they honored the need for prayer warriors to push back against the spiritual warfare that all planters experience.
  7. Read Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters to understand the insidious nature of idolatry as a current reality that we all wrestle with.  Habitually ask yourself, “Is the supreme object of my affection God, or is it my church plant?”
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About John Herrington

John Herrington is the Director of Saturate Austin, Church Plant Training Center, for the Hill Country Bible Church NW in Texas. They have planted 22 churches to date in Austin and have structured a strategy to plant another 22 in the next five years. John's mission is to recruit, assess, coach and resource gospel centered, missional entrepreneurs who will plant church planting churches with a vision to reach every man, woman and child in greater Austin. His interests include People far from God, working in his yard (at the end of the day, something finished!), his wife, his kids, and working out at the gym. You can follow him on Twitter @john_herrington and check out hcbc.com/church planting

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