Spiritual Health

David Sanford

17 Ways Evangelists Can Hit the “Refresh” Button

Evangelists who want to be in ministry five years from now need to take a day or two off each quarter to hit the “refresh” button.

The most valuable assets we have, after all, aren’t our offices, computers, cars, books, and other tangible resources. Instead, our greatest assets are actually intangible— our creative souls.

“Creative souls,” means everything inside us that makes us who we are. This includes our knowledge, skills, perceptions, understanding, craftsmanship, and wisdom. It includes our abilities to come up with brilliant ideas, new solutions, artistic expressions, and bursts of insight and intuition that surprise us.

The most important way to replenish our creative souls is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We can learn from the Bible, in church history, in modern biographies, and in contemporary experiences many ways to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Some of these include:

• Pray, praise God, confess your sins, and ask to be filled with the Spirit
• Read the Bible in different translations, study the Scriptures, and meditate on specific passage(s) in God’s Word
• Enjoy inspiring music
• Spend time in nature in awe of God’s creation
• Fellowship and worship with other believers
• Create a list of the individuals who have made the most positive impact on you during each of your life chapters so far – thank God for them and thank each one as the Lord leads,
• Ask God to bless you with a “Barnabas” for this stage of life and ministry
• Go on a personal spiritual retreat
• intentionally live more simply in order to focus on what truly matters
• Fast for a specific period of time
• Take advantage of your region’s best Christian universities and schedule a meeting with a well-respected professor
• Sign up for an inexpensive accredited online seminary course
• Ask for guidance from people you deeply respect who are godly and who you know love you, and choose to be under their spiritual direction, guidance, and counsel

Beyond the spiritual, there are many other ways to replenish our creative souls. Some of these include:

• Use humor to cleanse the palate, hit “Restart” and spark new ideas
• Study human nature as people are so different
• Enjoy your region’s public and private university campuses – their architecture, sculptures, interior artwork, libraries, lecture halls, and public events
• Journal – relax, let your right brain go wild, write as fast as you can, write in any order, free-associate ideas, keep writing, don’t worry about word choice or organizing your ideas
• Study culture today – including past and current trends and imagine what might happen five years from now
• Feed your curiosity, which is vital to creativity and is so often lost in adulthood
• Foster big picture thinking, open-mindedness, self-confidence, further learning, etc.
• Enjoy environments in your region’s largest city – skyscrapers, public libraries, art galleries, and museums
• Spend time with and continue to expand your relationships with a wide diversity of creative individuals
• Do a Google search for one of your favorite contemporary Christian authors – enjoy new writings through their social media, website, or blog, and then send a heartfelt “Thank you!”
• Carefully read books especially selected for evangelists who want to last – there are nine books that have been game-changers for me. Send me a quick email and I’ll be glad to send you an annotated bibliography of all nine.

The key word in both lists? “Times…” If you haven’t already scheduled your first “refresh” day, please do so—within the next 30 days!

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My life is committed to serving and serving with others to demonstrate and proclaim the relevance of Jesus Christ in every major sphere of life. From 1982 to 2002, I served in eight positions, including Vice President of Publishing & Internet Ministries, for what was then the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association. Serving NGA members always has been important to me. I've felt like a member of NGA all the way back to when I jumped through all the hoops to trademark "Next Generation Alliance." In 2003 I founded Sanford Communications, Inc., which in 2008 became part of Credo Communications in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Since then, a number of NGA members have published their first books, etc., with our encouragement and collaboration. Speaking of books, I had the privilege to be the conceptual designer and executive editor of the award-winning Starting Point Study Bible (an LPA / NGA Bible published by Zondervan), the co-author with Luis Palau of the Los Angeles Times acclaimed best-seller, God Is Relevant (Doubleday, 1997), and many other projects. Bottom line: I love working with NGA members and other Christian leaders in the very busy intersection of public speaking, social networking, mass media interviewing, and book publishing. These "golden keys" open even more doors for these leaders to do what they most love and are most passionate about.