HOW TO AROUSE INTEREST IN A SPIRIT FILLED LIFE?
What can leaders and churches do? Here are a few possibilities that show what we can do as leaders (e.g. as president, pastor, church or mission secretary, leaders of institutions or other key persons) in collaboration with church boards, churches and groups.
- Worship group of two: Study 40-Day-Worships as a married couple or with another prayer partner. Start with the first 40-Day book “Prayers and Devotions to Prepare for the Second Coming”, Dennis Smith, Review and Herald, and if appropriate later use the second 40 Days book “Prayers and Devotions to Revive your Experience with God”. When a married couple has worship together, it is very profitable and promotes mutual affection. Naturally, you can also have worship together with someone else. It would be ideal to personally get together, but it can also work over the telephone or Skype or other media. Worship groups of two have the greatest impact. God’s word recommends that we pray in twos (Matt. 18:19) and work in twos (Luke 10:1). This mode of worship is the best prerequisite to inspire others to do the same.
- Introduce or share literature. Example:
The booklet “Steps to Personal Revival” (available free of charge in all the translated languages).
More than 80 testimonies of readers and hundreds of conversations have shown that this booklet is especially appreciated in the following ways:
- It opened their eyes to their spiritual condition: saved or lost? (more in chap. 2)
- They understood the necessary steps that lead to a spiritual life:
Daily surrender to Christ, daily asking to receive the Holy Ghost. [DA 676.2]
All other personal steps are shown by the Holy Ghost. (more in chap. 3)
- By praying with Bible promises, they had the assurance that they received the Holy Ghost. (more in chap. 5)
- Their great joy caused them to be witnesses and distributors of the booklets.
Through experience of many we have learned that the use of “Steps to Personal Revival” together with the 40-Day books 1 and 2 lead to the best results. “Steps to Personal Revival” opens the eyes and is an excellent help to start immediately. The 40-Day books broaden and help strengthen the spiritual life. Furthermore, they lead to personal morning worship and many answered prayers.
- Short readings during the worship service: Over a period of time selected passages about living with the Holy Ghost can be read during the worship service before the sermon. (Five to ten minutes) Recommended literature is listed under the next point. After a while, people can be encouraged to form groups of two or to implement the 40-day concepts (see point 12).
- Passages from our literature that can be printed in the church bulletin or they can be recommended during the announcements:
- The Desire of Ages, ch. 73: “Let your heart not be troubled.”
- The Acts of the Apostles, ch. 5 “The Gift of the Spirit”
- Christ’s Object Lessons, ch. 12 “Asking to Give”
- Testimony Treasures volume 3, The Promise of the Spirit, p. 209-215
- Thoughts from one day from the EGW worship book “Ye Shall Receive Power” (available at your local Adventist Book Center)
- Share experiences: As often as possible share spiritual experiences during the worship service. Personal experiences can be shared or those from other church members or other churches. You can find testimonies here on this website – just click on “Testimonies”.
- Four-part seminar as an impulse-Sabbath: This is probably the most effective method to quickly generate interest in a church. This is a special Sabbath with 3-4 presentations, starting with Friday evening, then during the worship service on Sabbath and again in the afternoon.
A potential general topic could be the “Steps to Personal Revival” program:
- Friday evening is the ideal time of the week to share experiences, thus share a very moving experience. If possible, it should be a personal experience from the speaker. Another possibility is to talk about “Surrender to Jesus”. You can find suggestions for this in the booklet “Abide in Jesus”, chapter 2 “Surrender to Jesus”.
- It is recommended to preach on the key thoughts from “Steps to Personal Revival” during the worship service. To be more exact: share 2-3 quotes from the introduction about the lack of the Holy Spirit. Continue with the key thoughts from chapter 1 “What did Jesus teach about the Holy Ghost” and from chapter 2 “What is the center of our problems?” (maybe divide it into two separate hours)
- During the first afternoon meeting share the key thoughts from chapter 3 “Our problems – can they be solved? How?”
- During the second afternoon meeting share the key thoughts from chapter 5 “The Key to Practical Experience”.
In churches where the first seminar „Steps to Personal Revival“ has already been held, they can have another impulse-Sabbath or another seminar using the topics from the booklet “Abide in Jesus”. Again, there could be four segments from the four chapters.
It is profitable in preparation for the impulse-Sabbath to pass out the corresponding literature ahead of time with the recommendation to study it carefully. It has also proven profitable to start a 40-Day-Prayer time the weekend after the impulse-Sabbath (see point 12) or with a coordinated reading of one chapter a week from “Steps to Personal Revival” (see point 7).
- Coordinated Reading: One chapter a week – an easy and helpful possibility is to read one chapter every week (even better if this chapter is read more than once) from “Steps to Personal Revival” or “Abide in Jesus” or from one of the 40-Day books. A group or the whole church can agree on a starting date. This can be done either in preparation for a four-part seminar (see point 6) or after this impulse-Sabbath. Each individual can decide if they want to read alone, with one other person or in a group. On Sabbath it would be good to read the key thoughts from the respective chapter in about 5 minutes and then invite people to share their personal testimonies. If there are no personal testimonies, then a testimony from someone else can be read (prepare ahead of time – see Testimonies). Then announce what chapter will be read during the coming week. You can order the 40 Days books under www.spiritbaptism.org
- Hold sermons on living with the Holy Spirit or encourage and request someone else to do it. There are excellent sermons by Dwight Nelson under the heading: “Ground Zero and the New Reformation: How to be baptized with the Holy Spirit”. Sermons starting with 2nd Sept. and his blogs of Aug.30th and Sept.13th are at: www.pmchurch.tv/sermons
- Hold Bible studies on living with the Holy Ghost or read them aloud.
- Small groups or prayer groups can read and discuss applicable literature and pray together. In addition, groups of two should be encouraged, who go through the 40-Day worships and then once a week the whole group meets for discussion, sharing experiences and praying together. (see point 12).
- Mission Sabbath – Since a life with the Holy Spirit makes us missionaries, it is a good possibility, on a permanent basis or for a specific time period, to reinstitute mission Sabbaths. This was a fundamental element of our pioneers. Our forefathers conducted a mission Sabbath the first Sabbath of every month. Either a dedicated person or a small group should assume responsibility for the prayerful preparation and implementation. If this is combined with some of the above-mentioned possibilities, it can contribute to constructive and happy hours on the Sabbath. In addition, it can lead to an awakening of the missionary spirit.
- Study and discuss the 40-Day concept – This concept is presented in the 40-Day books one, two and three under the section “Introduction and Overview”. Subsequently, it can be discussed in the church board, mission board or conference board. This concept can also be presented at pastoral meetings, elders meetings, mission meetings and youth meetings, at retreats, district meetings and mission schools. This concept helps in the following areas:
- Helps to have a more intimate relationship with Jesus through the Holy Ghost.
- Helps strengthen prayer life (alone, in pairs or groups).
- Helps deepen our personal relationships.
- Helps to strengthen the spiritual life through the 40-Day worships on the Holy Ghost.
- Facilitates intercession for lost or unreached people and facilitates contacting them.
- Helps support evangelism, care groups or Bible studies.
This is achieved in three spiritual steps:
- Personal spiritual revitalization through the 40-Day worships in groups of two.
(With discussion of the in the books included “Discussion Questions” and daily prayer according to the “Prayer Focus” for the Holy Spirit.)
- Spirit-filled intercession and each person contacts five unreached people or weak church members.
- Evangelistic activities (presentations/seminars, mission-minded care groups, Bible studies, small or medium-sized expos e.g. health, creation or prophecy expos.)
For those doing the organization, the 40-Day-Concept, called “Instruction Manual”, is available if you click right here: 40Day-Instructions.pdf . It contains all the necessary steps leading to a fruitful 40-Day experience. The suggested spiritual path is the best preparation for a planned evangelistic series. In this way, leaders and church members are personally spiritually prepared. Through the intercession and each person contacting five unreached individuals, the field is being prepared for the evangelistic series. Different types of evangelism can be used. Contact for ordering 40 Days Books Dennis Smith under www.spiritbaptism.org
- Pass out an information-sheet on the 40-Day prayer program to the church members. In addition, it is recommended to make an invitation for the starting date of the 40-Day series in your church.
- Publish suitable articles in church bulletins, conference bulletins, union bulletins, periodicals, church websites, as well as in church newsletters and newsletters from different church departments.
- Survey: After a presentation on the topic of the Holy Ghost, slips of paper can be passed out for a short anonymous survey:
– If a person often or daily prays for the Holy Ghost, they can put down a checkmark.
– If an individual prays daily with promises for the Holy Ghost, they can put down two checkmarks.
This is a good way to determine what the current status is in this area.
Prayerful preparation for and prayer during all the above-mentioned possibilities is crucial. It is invaluable as praying individuals to ask specific church members, existing prayer circles and even the whole church for specific intercession for a specific request – for its implementation and impact.