If you are in Christian ministry and are looking for a refreshing (yet convicting and challenging) book—and especially if you are a senior pastor—I suggest Replenish by Lance Witt.
When I read this book on my kindle recently, I had eighty-two highlights that filled over eight pages. There were so many truths the Lord used from it to speak to my soul.
We’re all prone to the myth that the best measure of a ministry is the size. But I think as Baptists we are better learning to measure a ministry by its healthinstead. A healthy church will grow, while a growing church may wither and die if it does not have healthy roots.
In a similar way, we need to measure our own lives, not by our productivity (even our spiritual productivity) but by the health of our souls—our walk with God, our relationships with others, our capacity to witness, serve, and love from the heart. Replenish is a book that encourages you to pay attention to the gauges of your soul so you have continued fuel for a lifetime of Christ-exalting ministry.
There were two analogies Witt used in this book that especially spoke to me. One was that of a gift. He pointed out that when we begin ministry, we are so focused on Jesus Himself—the Gift. But as the years go by, we tend to focus more and more on how we package the gift—the actions of ministry—while losing our passion for and focus on Jesus.
The other analogy was of a drama stage. On the front side of the curtain is where the action takes place. This represents the aspects of our lives and ministries that others see—soulwinning, preaching, teaching, singing—all public ministry. But behind the curtain is where all the preparation takes place that equips us for the front stage parts of ministry. The backstage represents the private parts of our lives—our walk with God, our relationships with our spouse and family, our personal friendships—our spiritual and emotional health. As in drama, so in life. If the backstage is neglected, the front stage won’t look good for very long.
It is vital that spiritual leaders remember that part of saying with the Apostle, “I will gladly spend and be spent for you” is having something to spend! We must nurture our relationship with the Lord and look to Him to strengthen our personal lives if we are to be able to serve His people from His abundance.