Seek ‘fresh work’ from God, Richard Blackaby urges

Church leaders need to keep asking God to do a “fresh work” in their lives, Richard Blackaby said.

Blackaby was the featured speaker for the second-annual KNCSB Normative Church Conference. The event was held March 21-22 at Webster Conference Center, Salina, Kan. It is aimed at pastors and other leaders in smaller-membership churches.

“The smaller church is the norm in Southern Baptist life,” KNCSB Executive Director Bob Mills said as he opened the conference on Friday night, March 21.

Blackaby is the oldest son of Henry and Marilynn Blackaby. He is president of Blackaby Ministries International. Richard Blackaby has co-written numerous books with his father and written other books on his own. His latest book is “The Seasons of God: How the Shifting Patterns of Your Life Reveal His Purposes for You.”

Blackaby stressed the need for church leaders to keep growing.

“The greatest thing you could do for your people is to grow,” he told pastors. “Cry out to God and say, ‘God, please do a fresh work in my life’.”

Blackaby cited the crucial need for good leadership in ministry. “I believe ministry hinges on leadership. Leadership makes all the difference.”

During the Friday night session, Blackaby focused on Numbers 20 and how Moses made a devastating mistake that kept him from going into the Promised Land.

“This is one of those passages that leaders need to regularly come to,” Blackaby said.

Moses “had a great run, but he didn’t end well.” So Blackaby stressed the need for pastors and other church leaders to strive to end their ministries well.

Leaders need to model what they want to see happen in the people they lead, he continued. The same is true in families. Blackaby told how he has a book club with his three young-adult children. He wants his children to see his desire to keep learning.

“What are you modeling for your kids right now?”

Blackaby also focused on how God builds character so He can give greater assignments.

“We’re all in a hurry. We want to get to the ‘doing’ not ‘being’,” he said.

He challenged his listeners to focus on:

  • “What must I add to my life?”
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  • “What must I subtract from my life?”


Concerning what to subtract from your life, Blackaby cited pride. He called pride “one of the greatest single deterrents to becoming a good leader.”

Pride keeps pastors from admitting they need help, Blackaby continued.

Fear and unforgiveness are other attitudes that leaders need to subtract from their lives.

“Would you rather be a mediocre minister or face the pain and go to the next level?”

Concerning what leaders should add to their lives, Blackaby stressed the need for reading.

“If you’re not reading, chances are you’re not going to grow as you ought to.”

“Find people that can mentor you”—not just one person but several people who have strengths in different areas.

Blackaby stressed the need for pastors to cultivate leaders in their churches. That is key to helping a church grow, he said.

“Don’t just be a ‘leader of followers’.”

Blackaby also gave an update about his father, Henry Blackaby. Henry caused a social-media stir last fall when he went missing for 29 hours.

Henry Blackaby suffered a mild heart attack while driving in Atlanta on Sept. 19. He became disoriented and could not find his way home. The situation hit social media, and thousands of people around the world started praying for him.

Eventually police were able to track his movements as Henry used his credit card. He was found 150 miles from home. Read more