After my wife and I planted and established a Wesleyan congregation in the Indianapolis area, we shifted gears toward a different mode of reaching people for Jesus. Church planting continued to be our heart, so as a ministry team, we accepted the opportunity to serve as Directors of Church Multiplication for the Great Lakes Region District of The Wesleyan Church. In both settings, we believe that the number one way to enter a community missionally is through prayer.
Prayer and church planting have always gone together. In our strategy, there is little room for action or “doing” without also engaging in the constant work of prayer. In fact, I sometimes say that while some whistle while they work, people in church planting pray while they work. Before a planter enters a new community, we ask that she first prepare herself with an army of prayer warriors; we actually recommend 500-1000 people committed to regular prayer. Church planting and prayer always go hand in hand.
Part of the way we invest in church multiplication is by training church planters in what that prayer looks like as they prepare to enter a community, because it’s not necessarily obvious. We encourage planters to pray for discernment, wisdom, and humility. This will shape how they engage with their team and their community. Planters have coaches and mentors as well, but praying in this way shapes moments of engagement.
Here are some of the ways we have learned to pray in church planting:
Pray for discernment in sharing faith and vision.
Pray for discernment in spiritual conversations.
Pray for discernment for receptive people.
Pray for wisdom to contextualize ministry.
Pray for wisdom in discipleship that makes disciples who make more disciples.
Pray for humility to enter a community as a learner, servant, and witness.
We believe that when you enter a community through prayer, you enter in stride with the Holy Spirit.