The following is excerpted from Shepherds Balm, a devotional tool for pastors by Richard Earl available now at www.shepherdsbalm.com.
Anyone who has been involved with church
planting or revitalization on any level knows
what a gargantuan task it is to plant and grow a
young church or to renew an old one. The
handbooks for how to do it are as the sands of the
sea, but the multiplicity of contexts for this
missionary work makes them only marginally useful.
Likewise with church transformation. The task of
taking a church from stagnation to genuine life is
herculean at the least. A bit of simple and sound
advice and encouragement according to Biblical
patterns is welcome indeed.
I found such help in the timeworn and humble
pages of Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary and
it has helped clarify my vision. Here is what good
Brother Henry said in his commentary on Acts
“A little company united in love,
exemplary in their conduct, fervent in prayer, and
wisely zealous to promote the cause of Christ, are
likely to increase rapidly.”
It is a pattern to follow, forged out of decades of
fruitful ministry experience. There are exceptions to
this rule, it is not hard and fast. Love, holiness,
prayerful, zealous and united we must be or we fail
to imitate our Master Jesus, and have no right to
expect He will want to see our model duplicated or
our influence expanded.
— Richard Earl with thanks to Matthew Henry
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. Acts 1:12-14 (NKJV)