Crosswalk.com: You make it clear that this book is not primarily for church leaders, but for lay people.  How do you suggest that church members can go about putting their convictions into action?

Blackaby: Biblically, God always works corporately through his people. In the New Testament, every member of a church is part of a local body of Christ, so each of them is vitally important. The eye needs to share with the rest of the body what it is seeing. It doesn't have the whole message for the church. The ear needs to say what it hears and the hand what it feels, and so on. God puts members in the body as it pleases Him. He even places the pastor in the body. He is not the Head. That position is occupied by the living Christ. So if each part functions in the body where God put them, then the whole body grows up into the head, and then there's no limit to what God can do through that body. But I think each part is critically important. You can't leave any part out. If someone says, "I don't have much talent," I would say, "It has nothing to do with your talent or your gifts." It has to do with where God placed you in the body and what the Head is saying through you which is uniquely important for the rest of the body to hear. So whether it is the Sunday School teacher or a deacon or just an ordinary teenager or college student, they can share. So they need to be involved corporately in as many opportune -- For instance, if you come to the prayer meeting and there's a prayer request, share what God is saying to you, don't share who is sick. Say, "This week God has really impacted me. Here's what I saw. I want to share with you and pray that our church, as a body, can get the message that I believe God is trying to say to us." So each person now vitally connected to the Lord, needs to be involved in the body life, and not just part of the body life. We often separate children into children's work, the youth into the youth time, the men into things, the women  -- Don't do that. The body has to function corporately together.
         

Crosswalk.com: You've been a pastor for a long time. What have you learned, or what has God shown you about his will for churches during your time as a pastor?

Blackaby: The amazing thing is, everything I see in God's word about God and the ways of God and the activity of God, we've been experiencing as we pastored. I had to help the people know how to know when God is speaking to the body corporately. And so, I taught and taught and taught and taught from the Scriptures. But I didn't just teach the truth. I taught them how to practice the truth. Jesus said, "Teach them to practice everything I've commanded." What I see in the Scripture, I run it through my own life,  and make sure that I am bearing witness to a relationship to the God that I see in the Scripture. Then I guide the people into that, and sure enough, God does exactly what He says He'll do. We've seen astounding things happen through a very little group of people. They say, "That's amazing," and I say, "No, that's just like God." This is what he said he would do. It has nothing to do with the size or the quality of the people, but the relationship they have with him. So as a pastor, I sought to bring each person, personally, and then as a group corporately, into a vital relationship with the Lord so we could hear, and then obey. But I had to teach them what it meant to obey, as well. We had to have one heart and one mind as we did it. But God said he would bring us to that. We saw that. I was a very, very happy pastor. My wife and I, both. All four boys felt called to pastor, having grown up in our home, which I think, is a kind of an affirmation of the truths that we were living out. Our daughter is a career missionary in Germany.