Help, I Need Somebody!

It was great to gather as a group and to pray for a fellow pastor at this past week’s Rural Church Pastors Network in Ft. MacLeod.

Who's up for a good fight pic RCPNOur topic was “Who’s Up For A Good Fight”, dealing with conflict in the rural church. We encourage a lot of conversation through the day. We talk around our table groups and share with the whole group. In going through the day, one of our brothers opened up about some serious conflict he was facing. It was great to hear fellow pastors share some of their suggestions and encouragements. I don’t know if he will go home and put into practice everything that others said. But I do know that he left feeling encouraged. At the end of the day we all gathered around him, laid our hands on him and prayed for him. One of the other pastors offered to see if they could meet as couples to have his wife encourage our brother’s wife as well.

I love going through the content of our gatherings, but what is most exciting is seeing pastors jibba_clothing_help_beatles_tshirt_white_made-here_1024x1024networking, connecting with other pastors. These pastors may not have known each other before joining us for the day, but can leave having made new friendships with others who are facing similar challenges.

We need each other. I know that I have benefited from connecting with other pastors. To be a pastor in a rural community can be very lonely. It is a gift from God to find someone else who understands us and can relate to things we are facing.

I hope you have someone who understands you and can be a support to you.

A Church Prayer Plan

I decided to apply something I was preaching on. I know…novel idea, right?

I was preaching from 1 Chronicles 13-16. This is a text about King David bringing the ark of God back to Jerusalem. The ark has been captured by the Philistines, been brought back into the land of Israel, and then basically ignored for the last 20 years throughout the reign of King Saul. There are two verses that really stuck out to me. Chapter 13: 4 says, “the whole assembly agreed to do this, because it seemed right to the people.” In chapter 15: 13 we read, “It was because you, the Levities, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.”

The people all agree that bringing up the ark is a great idea, but they don’t do it in the prescribed way and Uzzah dies. When the try again and have the Levities carry it in the proper manner, everything goes well.

The difference is what happens is that this time they have “inquired of the Lord”.

Our Elders Board is meeting in 3 weeks to evaluate and prayerful dream about what we should do as a church. I felt that God was reminding me, “this is what you need to do with your church. You need to inquire of the Lord together and not just rely on your human wisdom.” Probably good advice.

Prayer-Banner

So I called our church to three weeks of prayer and fasting as we inquire of the Lord regarding our direction and our future. I am asking the congregation to fast and pray for the next three Thursday lunches. Those who are able are invited to join me at the church as we fast and pray. Others are encouraged to stop and pray during their workday. On the final Thursday we will also meet for a prayer night. I’m trying to communicate a few prayer suggestions and hear from the congregation as well.

I don’t know if you have been hesitant to try an ongoing prayer emphasis, but I would encourage you to try it. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated or challenging, but there is something right about inviting the church into an extended time of corporate prayer.

May we grow closer to God as we pray!

Livin’ Large at Lake Louise!

Chateau-Lake-LouiseI can’t afford to stay at the Chateau Lake Louise. Not on my small church salary.

But here’s the view from my window!! I stayed there just last week!

My denomination holds an annual DSCN7219Pastor’s Retreat for all its 600 plus pastors and spouses. Our group is large enough that we need a big hotel and meeting space. The Chateau Lake Louise provides that!

The expectation is that our church will cover the cost of our 3 days at this retreat. What a treat!!! I couldn’t afford to stay there if I was paying, and neither could many in my congregation. What an incredible privilege!

But I have to say that the sessions and the worship were probably on par with God’s beautiful creation. The Holy Spirit was definitely present. It was a great time of truly letting go everything else and focusing on our Lord Jesus!

We are a very privileged pastor couple!!Lynnette and Andy

Creative Prayer Reminders and Ideas

Prayer actually changes things. We believe that but many of us have a hard time remembering to faithfully pray for certain things. And sometimes it helps to have a few creative ideas on how to pray.

I like to challenge our congregation to pray for their unsaved family and friends and neighbors. I’ve borrowed some ideas from others. You may already have seen these and may be using these.

Invest and Invite

One of these prayer ideas is to use an “Invest and Invite” card. This card invites the church to write down the names of 3 people they will invest time with regularly, pray for often, and whom they will invite to church. I usually present these about 3-4 weeks before one of our creative events geared to connect with our unsaved friends.

Top Ten

A second idea invites a bigger and long term commitment. This is to make a Top Ten list. This is a challenge to come up with 10 people whom you regularly already have a natural connection with who do not yet know Jesus. And then to make a commitment to pray for them daily. This list includes family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, people you sit on committees with or are team mates with, class mates, and anyone else you already – or with little extra work – already connect with regularly. All of this with the hope of introducing them to Jesus some day.

String Reminder

I like to use creative ideas to remind people to pray. Some of you have probably used the “string reminder” where you hand out a piece of string people can put in their Bible or tie around their finger or the steering wheel of your car so you can pray as you regularly see it.

Take a “Moment-o” to Pray

This past week we were planning for the Family Day Weekend. We were planning a Family Day Celebration with a waffle breakfast and some family games before our service.  The Sunday before, I handed out small pack of six Mentos. I asked people to take a “moment-o” to pray. Every time they ate a candy they could pray for the event and for those who were being invited to attend.

We say we believe in prayer. Then let’s find ways to pray often. And let’s find creative ways to remind people to pray for their unsaved family and friends.