Ask a church planter how you can pray for them, and they’ll tell you they need perseverance.
Church planters have to learn a whole new culture, while building relationships, organizing services and staying in close connection with God. On top of all that, being a church planter means being available to your new congregation at all hours.
Vicki shared a few examples:
- “A woman and her two children show up at the door. They have just escaped a husband who arrived angry and high on some kind of drug. The woman and her children stay a few nights at our home until she can make arrangements.”
- “A distraught family calls at dawn to ask if they can come to our house for advice, as their daughter has run off with a man they don’t really know.”
- “A woman and her boyfriend stop by as we are leaving for a meeting. They are concerned because another friend has threatened to take her life. Art [Vicki’s husband] drops everything and goes with them.”
Church planters have to be flexible, compassionate and ready for action.
“It’s going to use every ounce of your gifts. … And even the gifts you don’t have, you’re going to use,” says Craig Querfeld, TEAM’s senior director for ministry in South America.
Will pray with us for church plants and the church planting teams that serve them?
1. Pray for opportunities to build relationships and break down barriers.
The Czech Republic has never recovered spiritually from its time under Communism. Today, it’s one of the most atheistic countries in Europe. The Church is seen as completely irrelevant — along with any other religious or spiritual talk.
Because of this, missionaries like Christina Mayer have to get creative with how they draw people into the church. Each month, Christina and her team hold a women’s creativity night, a moms’ club and English classes.
“We introduce the Bible or Christian teaching in subtle ways. An example of this is through parenting tips,” Christina says.
Pray that these efforts will break down barriers, helping unbelievers see the wisdom and truth their believing friends have to offer. Ask God to soften unbelievers’ hearts as they hear His word.
2. Pray for church plants to grow, both in numbers and in spiritual health.
When you’re planting a church, it’s not enough to get visitors. You need people who will faithfully return, again and again, and invest in God’s work. But that’s become harder during COVID-19. In the U.S. alone, 32 percent of practicing Christians stopped going to church (even online services) during the pandemic.
“We are meeting together as a church, but very few attend,” says Keith Moore, who is planting a church for Latin Americans in North Carolina. And while COVID-19 has lowered attendance, he also points to an issue that predates the pandemic: “The basic problem is not putting Christ first in their lives.”
Please pray for church plants to find safe ways to hold meetings — whether online or in person. Christina asks, “Pray for growth in numbers, but more importantly in spiritual growth and commitment from these church members to make church life a priority.”
3. Pray for encouragement and perseverance.
When it comes to planting churches, people like to ask Craig Querfeld what his secret is. He responds, “What secret? I’m just stubborn.” He adds, “You just have to keep knocking on the doors.”
Planting churches means running services with the help of perhaps one or two other people. It means being on call for the people who need you. It means enduring while the numbers are low and using resources wisely when numbers are high.
“Pray that we would be encouraged even in the small things, because we don’t often see big things happening, and that can be discouraging,” Christina says.
Keith asks, “Pray that we won’t quit. Church planting is like a rollercoaster ride: There are many ups and downs. The downs can be longer and harder. Pray that we will have fruit that will remain.”
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