Dear Church Family,
One of my favorite things about our church is our pattern of prayer in small circles on Sunday mornings. This reminds me that The Church On The Way is a praying church (can I hear an ‘Amen’?) and, that powerful prayer is not limited to “the professionals,” but is available to anyone who will humbly bring their lives, their requests and their world before the Father. Years ago, our congregation embraced a call to be a praying church, and that call is alive today!
As we continue to seek the heart of the Lord in response to our continuing call to pray, we also want to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit regarding how we’re to engage that assignment. In other words, seasons change, systems change and schedules change, but God’s Word never changes. God’s “Word” is for us to pray; how we do that should always reflect a fresh expression of our obedience. (Now, can I hear another, strongAMEN?!)
For some time, I’ve sensed the Lord’s leading that our congregational prayer efforts were to be consolidated and strengthened: God has been speaking to us about expanding the strength of corporate prayer in our church, with a pattern that engages as much of our church as possible. I want to share how we have heard the Lord guide us to do just that in this next season.
Beginning this fall, we’ll be increasing our congregational opportunities to pray, while, at the same time, shifting our efforts away from Wednesday night services. While there will no longer be a Wednesday night adult service in this season (our middle school and high school groups willcontinue to meet), starting in September our congregational corporate prayer commitment is being increased and focused into three primary areas:
- We’re inviting everyone in our church to a night of prayer and worship on the 2nd Sunday of each month. At this gathering, we’ll spend the first hour praying together, before we transition into extended worship, instruction and ministry time; this answers the call I heard to consolidate and strengthen our congregational prayer life(and our kids, up to 5th grade, will have a special, and fun, Jesus-encountering time of their own).
- We’re investing in our intercession-focused Small Groups. While many groups meet multiple times a month, once a month, most of our groups view a prayer video that I record earlier that week, so that every gathering starts by praying about the same issues: in this way, we’re all together, all over the city, in one accord, though not necessarily all in one place! (Acts 2:1)
- We’re initiating a weekly prayer meeting Thursday nights on our church campus. This isn’t a produced service, with music and other “service elements,” but a well-led gathering open to any person who wants to pray powerfully with others for specific needs related to our church, community, country and world.
We’ll be in further communication about our new prayer meeting, our small groups, our worship and prayer nights, as well as significantly increased discipleship opportunities that will be starting soon (including discipleship focused on new believers, biblical study, ministry development and deployment, men’s and women’s issues, finances, and life-stage needs). July 19 will be our final midweek book study; after that, look for information about our new patterns for prayer, worship and discipleship that will kick off in September.
Finally, as we make this adjustment, I want you to know we’re committed to keep listening intently to the Lord. I’m convinced God has some surprising things to lead us into this season, and focusing our schedule will not only increase our impact, but will provide us with margin to respond quickly, as the Lord speaks to us about fresh ways for our church to embrace an enduring call to pray and seek His face and to disciple Kingdom people who will be equipped and empowered to change the world.
I can’t wait for all the Lord has in store for all of us, as we follow Him forward, together!