How to Pray for Church Planters

Posted by admin | Church planting | Thursday 5 November 2009 10:13 pm

Claudia and I are now parked in San Diego making final preparations to begin “The Phone’s for You” for Tim and Eileen Sneeden to plant Metro Baptist Church. God has provided a perfect place to start the church, and we plan to make thousands of calls in November and December for the opening service in February. We will help here until next summer.

We just returned from a wonderful 3-week California road trip, visiting some supporting churches and several we helped plant. At Faith Baptist in Folsom (a church we assisted in 2001), I trained folks to make church planting phone calls. In that service, Pastor Ron Perry shared 5 specific ways to pray for the Sneedens. I listened carefully to his suggestions and was amazed at the pastor’s understanding of what church planters experience. Here is his list and my comments on each point. Perhaps this will help us all to pray more effectively for church planters.

Five Ways to Pray Effectively for Church Planters

1. Pray that they will be able to survive loneliness by growing close to the Lord.

It was in the late 90s that God began to burden Claudia and me to help church planters. We knew from experience that church planting can be a lonely adventure for a church planter’s family, with a lack of fellowship with like-minded believers. Church planting thus becomes a wonderful opportunity to grow close to God, to make Him best friend and constant comforter. After all, He promises to never leave, fail, or forsake us. Pray that church planters will allow loneliness to motivate them to make God their best friend.

2. Pray that God will enable them to be creative, efficient, and timely while planning for the first Sunday.

Preparing for a Grand Opening service includes a plethora of activities such as writing the church constitution, incorporating the new church, finding a place to live and a meeting place for the church, organizing the phones program (too many details to mention), stockpiling several months of sermons, getting acquainted with the area, and on and on and on. All this must be done under the creative direction of the Holy Spirit. All this must be done accurately and on time. (If you attempt to modify the phones program, cut corners, or revamp the calling or mailing schedule, it will not work.) Pray that church planters will beg God for creative wisdom with the details. Ask God to help them get everything done early – which is the only way to be on time.

3.  Pray that God will keep them from discouragement and fear as they remind themselves of God’s call and the “value of one soul.”

Church planting is an adventure of faith. Faith includes moments of fear. If there is no fear of stumbling, is it really a step of faith? To press on through fear, which is often the mother of discouragement, remember the day God called you to do His will. Rejoice that “faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (I Thess. 5:24). Focus on the value of one soul. As Pastor Perry pointed out, “If only soul avoids eternity in hell through the ministry of the new Metro Baptist Church, it will be worth all the effort and expense.”  Pray for holy remembrance of God’s call and Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

4. Pray that the Sneedens and Barbas will have grace to greet and smile at many visitors– even when their “smiler” grows tired.

Proverbs 15:30 says, “The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.” In my Power Point seminar entitled “Small Talk,” I attempt to teach believers how to effectively approach a church visitor and begin the small talk that can lead to edifying communication. I point out that one of the Christian’s “secret” weapons is his sincere, Spirit-empowered smile. Most people go all week and never receive a smile from a stranger. Pray that church planters will have a smile in their heart that will spill out onto their lips – to soften the hearts of folks who are rarely offered the gift of a smile.

5. Pray for teamwork and unity among the church planting team.

Though we are divinely called to plant the church, we are still humans. Humans, even believers, are basically dumb sheep following the wise Shepherd. Pray that the Shepherd will keep us all right with Him, filled with His Spirit, and working together as team with a unified purpose to glorify our Creator and Redeemer. It is honor to serve Him!