Herein lies the essential lesson for all pastors laboring in the work of revitalization. Jesus is with you! He is your shield in that deacons’ meeting. He is there when you are publically rebuked. He is compassionate when your mistake or failure in a decision harms the church. He is sad when his sheep attack you because they do not understand and are afraid. He is your defender when wolves in the church try to harm the sheep. The Chief Shepherd will never abandon his shepherds!
The words peace, grace, faith, and love permeate this book and are all purposely planted in the Ephesian benediction to remind his readers of the beauty and power of the gospel. In this, Paul keeps the proclamation of the gospel primary. Faithful pastors must do the same in every facet of their ministries, whether preaching and teaching, casting vision, or providing pastoral care and counsel, the gospel must be the primary language the pastor speaks to those whom he shepherds.
Humility, not humiliation, is essential. Growing downward was a practice in preaching the gospel to himself that many in ministry, especially those in a revitalization setting, should strive for. It was the seed that blossomed patience. But not merely patience in isolation, it also led to perseverance in his ministry, something all pastors, but especially those revitalization must possess.
Paul instinctively recognized that an entropic principle was at work in the church from the very beginning. Church revitalization was an integral and prominent strategy in all three of his recorded missionary journeys. Without the constant work of reformation and revitalization, local churches will disintegrate into gospel lethargy and ineffectiveness. When this impulse for church revitalization is coupled with his constant agony for the wellbeing of the early churches evidenced in his epistles, Paul’s stature as a church revitalizer is profoundly evident.