I was working on an upcoming episode of our Church Planter Academy video training when I began thinking about the difference proper form makes. When it comes to archery (I am a bow hunter), form is essential to making a good shot. For me, form begins with having the bow held in my hand properly, drawing the string back to the right position and then taking time to check level and distance pins. When the right form is used, more often than not, the shot goes where it is intended.
What does it take to gain proper form? Practice — shot after shot must be taken so the hunter knows where the bow fits best, where the string needs to rest and how to make the release smooth. Hour after hour of practice will make a hunter confident in a pressure situation. Those who teach athletes, talk about muscle memory, the point at which the muscles know exactly what to do because they have done it repeatedly through practice.
The Academy episode about form comes under the heading of spiritual formation. Form causes church planting leaders to exercise practices that build strength, resiliency and perseverance. Some of the things that need to be practiced regularly: spending time with God through Bible reading, practicing prayer, giving, serving, telling others about Jesus, solitude and fellowship with other Christ followers.
The value of developing a personal form that works is that it will carry the church planting leader through times of challenge and dryness. When spiritual form becomes a habit, the leader knows the direction to turn when the pressure comes. Muscle memory takes over and the leader falls into healthy patterns, not giving in to despair or doubt.
My challenge: develop your form now! Whatever builds strength and vitality into your life, begin to practice those things regularly. Your form will enable you to stay on target despite the distractions.