In my last article, we looked at four teams that would be necessary to grow the church during a pandemic. I suggested “We have a unique opportunity as pastors and laity to look at innovative ways to grow the local church.” I would like us to look at the power of prayer during these challenging times. As prayer relates to church growth, as prayer relates to evangelism what is our approach?
I suggest the pastor and laity develop a prayer team leader who presents themselves on behalf of the local church. The Commission on Membership and Evangelism in The Book of Discipline, page 142 paragraph 525.4 indicates that prayer leads the way. If we are going to do anything for God, we must hear and talk to God about God’s work. We do not evangelize in our power. The development of the prayer team (committee) is paramount and its mission must be Holy Spirit lead. Other things seem more important than prayer in the local church and the life of the believer. However, prayer should lead the way and must not be the last thing we do but the first. Prayer must not be an afterthought but a forethought. The pastor and leaders must not make excuses for this spiritual discipline.
We are often surprised and accepting when it comes to the lack of evangelism. However, we must realize God wants sinners saved! We must share the Gospel, our faith, pray, and be amazed at answered prayer. We flounder in our efforts to evangelize partly because we fail to pray for the boldness to care, share, and declare. Think of prayer as a seed placed in the ground and soaked with faith which brings forth fantastic results. However, should you hold your seed or provide a safe place rather than planting it, it will bring forth no results.
The local church leadership team who understands the power of prayer will see church growth. There is no substitute for prayer! God works in partnership with people. We pray to the Father, through the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. Therefore, we involve the entire Trinity in our prayers. With that kind of power, the family, local church, community, and everything around you will grow. Prayer is real work!
Over the last few months, we went from in-person worship to virtual worship, parking lot praise, Zoom teaching and worship, and teleconference worship. But Prayer! But Prayer! But Prayer! Hallelujah! Prayer did not need Zoom, teleconference, or the parking lot. I challenge you to pray to remain consistent if you desire to grow your church. Remember, put prayer first. Period!
We are The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church recognizing the importance of Christ in our daily lives.
Leon C. Moore, Jr.
General Secretary of Evangelism and Missions
Pleasant Hill CME, Conyers, GA