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The need of the church in America today is holiness.
When lives are transformed, wholeness and holiness result. Scripture provides the basis for transformation to take place, and addressing this must include spiritual disciplines. Prayer, confession, Bible study and other spiritual disciplines need to be practiced to build every believer’s relationship with God and grow into His likeness. In this way, individuals and church leaders each become more effective in their spiritual lives. The more disciplines are practiced, the more effective leadership marks become apparent among the body of believers. As a result, the church becomes healthier. When its leaders are transformed, the whole church benefits.
This book intentionally addresses four groups in the church. First, all people attending church will be challenged to practice spiritual disciplines. It will also challenge those who are training for Christian leadership, as well as pulpit committees, to stress that spiritual disciplines need to be found in a Christian leader. Finally, pastors will be challenged to personally incorporate spiritual disciplines into daily life to an even greater degree than before and urge the people they shepherd to do the same. Spiritual disciplines supply the supportive structure for the transformation of Romans 12:1-2 to take place.
• More than ever before, leaders are searching for answers in order to move the church in the right direction.
• “Short-term success” appears to be more popular among God’s people than “long-term effectiveness.”
• The practice of spiritual disciplines will build and deepen spiritual lives.
• Core spiritual disciplines are foundational to build effective leadership marks in the lives of believers.
Gary’s desire in ministry is to be out of work–to train and develop spiritual leaders in the church who can do the work of the ministry. Paul’s final words to the elders in Ephesus were, “Guard yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). He then followed up with his benediction; “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace.” Feeding on the Word and maintaining an intimate, trusting relationship with God are the keys that Gary emphasizes in this fine book. As my pastor, I have often heard him comment, “That’s not a hill worth dying on.” There are many projects and programs that could be pushed in the church–some good, most not worth dying for. But the one thing that is lacking is the development of men and women of God who consistently practice core spiritual disciplines. “Character counts.”
Mark Anderson,technical consultant in media ministries with Pamir Productions
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