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Church Planting Tutorial: 5. Prayer Team

No partner is more important than prayer partners. Planting a church is a big deal.  Satan does not want you to succeed. Surrounding yourself and your team with prayer partners is the single best thing you can do to ensure success.

Many church planters underestimate the amount of spiritual warfare they will face over the six to twelve months leading up to opening day. Prayer must be a priority for the church planter. In addition to personal prayer, you should solicit a growing prayer team.

As a top priority, form an initial prayer team with at least 10 people praying regularly for him. You should especially approach those individuals who are known to be consistent prayer warriors.

To recruit the first 10 prayer team members, consider the following:

  • Brainstorm at least 10 people who would be committed to praying for you and the new church
  • Contact them about being on your prayer team
  • Initiate some form of weekly communication with them with specific prayer requests.

Suggested initial prayer requests:

  • You – You need God’s wisdom, patience and strength
  • Your family – specifically balance and health in your marriage and family
  • Protection – Satan will attack you, your family, and anyone who wants to join you
  • Vision – that God would guide your planning and give you a clear vision for the new church
  • Launch Team – that God would provide the right people to form the core of the new church
  • Finances – only God can provide

Milestone: Develop a Prayer Team

As a church planter you should boldly ask people to join the prayer team. Give thought to how you can use prior church experiences and relationships to recruit people. Ask supporting churches to make available e-mail lists/groups to invite people to join in prayer. Be careful not to SPAM or sign-up people who are not interested, but only invite people to join the team. It is much better to provide opt-in opportunities rather than to force people to opt-out. This also increases the likelihood that people on the team are actually concerned and praying for the new church. Recruitment of team members should also include contacting as many friends and relatives as possible and asking them to be part of the team. Each team member should also be asked to recruit additional prayer team members. The goal is to get hundreds (or thousands) of prayer team members actively praying for the new church. The prayer email is a great communication tool for keeping people informed and requesting prayer.

Prayer partners should pray for the specific needs faced by the church planter.  To do so the develop a method to regularly present their requests to the team.  A group e-mail program is usually the most effective way to do this.  It is imperative that the prayer team e-mails clearly communicate the your prayer requests.  Composing quality e-mails can assist dramatically in motivating prayer partners to pray.

Group email programs allow members to easily signup to receive emails and for church planters to email large numbers of people in a single email. Most group email programs also allow tracking to determine what percentages of emails are being opened. We recommend using something like the Constant Contact group email program. It is a powerful, yet inexpensive program that produces professional looking group emails. The program has numerous pre-designed templates. The planter simply goes to www.constantcontact.com and signs the new church up for the program. The program is free for the first 60 days or indefinitely for groups with less than 50 email addresses. After setup, a simple signup box is added to the church’s web site to make it easy for people to sign up to receive emails.   The program requires very little administrative effort by the planter.

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Summary of recommended actions:

  • Recruit prayer team champion (point of contact)
  • Recruit family and extended family to join prayer team
  • Recruit friends to join prayer team
  • Recruit neighbors to join prayer team
  • Recruit co-workers, previous co-workers, other Christians in work place to join prayer team
  • Recruit current and previous church memberships to join prayer team
  • Recruit other church memberships to join prayer team
  • Establish a prayer culture through regular and consistent reliance on prayer
  • Prayer team members to recruit additional prayer team members
  • Recruit prayer warriors
  • Recruit people to pray for specific things (e.g. staff, facilities, finances, etc)
  • Select and setup group email program (e.g. Constant Contact)
  • Initiate weekly prayer team emails
  • Day of prayer and fasting (set them aside regularly – not just once)
  • Mail prayer request letters via USPS for non-email members
  • Distribute prayer cards/reminders
  • Community prayer walk (take your launch team on regular prayer walks in the community)
  • Facility prayer walk (Jericho Walk) (take launch team on prayer walk around your facility)
  • Prayer marathon (several days of round the clock prayer – prayer vigil)
  • Regular prayer meetings (e.g. weekly, biweekly, etc)

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