Today’s guest post is by Daniel Henderson, a senior pastor for over two decades, who brought prayer-based revitalization to several mega-churches. Today he’s dedicating his full-time efforts to help church leaders and congregations across the country experience renewal and turn-around. Henderson is the president of Strategic Renewal, which exists to ignite personal renewal, congregational revival, and leadership restoration for Christ’s glory. He also serves as the national director of The 6:4 Fellowship, which calls pastors back to the supreme New Testament ministry priorities, as seen in Acts 6:4.
“Satan is always launching weapons of mass distraction against me.” This heartfelt confession by a pastor friend from his pulpit captured my heart. Like this despondent leader, many pastors are crumbling under the weight of unprecedented and innumerable distractions. I often remind pastors at our leadership conferences that the devil does not have to destroy us; he simply has to distract us.
Little distractions tolerated over a long period of time result in big disasters. I’ve had a front-row seat to this reality. Twice in my ministry as a senior pastor, I was called to a megachurch in the wake of scandalous moral failure by my predecessor. The mass destruction was rooted in mass distraction. Good men, over time, followed the allure of a shallow and overstressed lifestyle. Destructive decisions ensued, and the fallout was heartbreaking.
Highest and best priorities
I often tell my pastoral colleagues, “The power of ‘no’ is in a stronger ‘yes.’” The ability to transcend distractions is rooted in a firm understanding of priorities. We must embrace our highest priorities with a clear, biblical, and passionate “yes.” “No” is a Christian word and an especially necessary one in today’s frenetic, overstimulated culture. Sometimes our priorities conflict. Since we can’t do everything and can’t please everyone, we must define and fully embrace the best and highest priorities.
Acts 6:4 and the power of “yes”
The newly formed 6:4 Fellowship unites pastors around the salient priorities of Acts 6:1–7. During a season of extraordinary growth, the early apostles refused to get entangled with the broken down widow-feeding program, even though it was an essential ministry and close to God’s heart. Instead, they directed a process of finding qualified and godly servants to solve the problem and manage the solution, while not compromising their own commitment to “prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).
The result was God’s profound blessing, evidenced by an unleashing of his power. The account describes a supernatural result, “. . . the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”(Acts 6:7) We all long to see that kind of revival of spiritual health and Gospel impact. We also must long for the best priorities to guide our decisions and efforts.
Focus for the frazzled
An earlier example of these same leadership priorities is found in Exodus 18. Moses was overwhelmed and weary from judging the people. His astute father-in-law offered game-changing wisdom, pointing out the futility of Moses’ overload, defining properly ordered focal points, and promising that “the Lord will be with him.” Jethro gave Moses the same reordered priorities that we see in Acts 6:
- Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God (prayer)—Exodus 18:19.
- Teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do (Word)—Exodus 18:20.
- Select able and godly men to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens (empowerment of other leaders)—Exodus 18:21.
Jethro added this promise that sounds like water to a thirsty leadership soul: “. . . you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied” Exodus 18:23 (NIV).
Our story, your invitation
Sometimes, the familiar story of Martha and Mary contains our own story as well. Busy and distracted, Martha became frustrated and critical. Her sister, Mary, embraced a clear “yes” as she prioritized seeking Christ over serving Christ. Jesus commended her for her focus in choosing the “one thing” most necessary and of ultimate eternal significance (Luke 10:38–42).
Contrary to many strategy-oriented conferences, the 6:4 Fellowship National Leadership Gathering in Denver, Colorado July 30–31, 2014 will bring deep refreshment to your leadership soul, empowering you for the best priorities of “prayer and the word.” Practical workshops, nationally known teachers, and extraordinary seasons of worship-based prayer will equip you and your team for a new beginning in personal well-being, Spirit-empowered ministry, and supernatural gospel impact. Please join us! Check out 64Fellowship.com for more information.