Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Prayer #1 on Five Essentials for Pastors

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
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SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) -- The very first preachers, teachers, apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ, the resurrected Lord, were the nucleus of what Jesus would use to build His church. A church that would, with courage and confidence, face all the enemies that would ever rise up against her.

These men and women had just spent three years with the greatest of all teachers who had demonstrated and spoken directly to them about what they should know and do as the pioneer leaders of this new movement -- a “reformation movement” among God’s people. What did Jesus emphasize that they must know if they and ministers today were to be successful?

1. Effective prayer is an absolute essential for a successful ministry. Prayer enables us to tap into the power and presence of God. One of the things the disciples asked of Jesus was, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus responded by saying, “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth . . .’ ” and He continues on as recorded in (Luke 11:1-4 and Matthew 6:9-13).

2. Put God first in all of your life, in all you do. The minister, as well as all his parishioners, is to love God supremely. It is called the greatest of all the commandments. All that the original Ten Commandments taught are encapsulated in this brief statement of Jesus. It begins, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart . . .” and continues in Mark 12:28-31 and also in Matthew 22:36. In this context Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders of His day and of our day.

3. The second great commandment was like the first one, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself . . .” That quickly and definitely gets the modern pastor and his congregation involved with making life better for others. That commandment gave birth to what we commonly refer to as charity and missions of all kinds. It is feeding, clothing, sheltering and doing for others what we would want others to do for us. It is loving and caring for others.

4. Accountability to God and each other is very important in the life of any minister. No one ever rises so high in rank, popularity, office or influence that he ceases to be accountable before God, his peers and the society in which he lives and serves. Those who are to be great must first be the servant of all.

5. Sexual temptation and impurity have led to the downfall of thousands of ministers, pastors and evangelists. Jesus instructed those who followed Him to be sexually pure. He went so far as to say that adultery can be committed without having physical sexual intercourse. It was looking on a man or woman, in any manner and desiring them for your own sexual gratification.

For further instruction read Matthew 5:27-32, from what is normally referred to as “The Sermon on the Mountain.” Sexual intercourse outside of a loving and accountable marriage relationship is adultery. That is reserved for a married couple, one man and one woman. Sleep in your own bed with your own spouse. To do otherwise is death to ministry.

These five essentials must be obediently followed if there is to be success in the life of the pastor. To disregard them spells failure in ministry.

In early March, 2009, I wrote about 10 things of the “101 things a pastor needs to know . . . and what his parishioners wish he knew.” All across the nation and from other countries readers responded. Again your suggestions are welcomed. You may e-mail them to me at: or send a postal response to: P. O. Box 345, Scott Depot, WV 25560, USA.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Turn Your Prayer Room into a Prayer Womb


The Prayer Womb

by Francis Frangipane

The reality God has planned will always manifest first in the prayer life of His intercessors. When you hear from God and then pray His Word, you are impacting the unformed essence of life with the Spirit of God Himself! Thus, God calls us, not only to know His Word, but to pray it. We must go from intellectualizing God's Word to being impregnated by it.

I know churches have special areas where intercessors can pray or people meditate. But maybe we ought to change the name from "prayer room" to "prayer womb." For everything good and holy that we see manifested in people, in churches and in life is first conceived, and then birthed, in the womb of prayer.

We have answers to prayer all around us. The place you are living in is an answer to prayer. Your church is an answer to prayer, as well as are your pastors, teachers and youth workers. As a church member, your attendance and participation is an answer to the prayer of your pastors and intercessors. When you asked God to lead you to the church you should attend, your current church became God's answer to your prayer!

Paul wrote, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might" (Eph. 1:18-19).

If you are a Christian, there is a power accompanying your life that is greater than great---the "surpassing greatness of His power." It is not human power, but the actual "strength of His might."

Think about it: The strength of God Almighty is attached to your prayer life!

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Inner~View #60: 1,000,000 Praying Pastors?

Phil Miglioratti interviewed Dean Gambill, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Praying Pastors Project

Phil ~ Give us a little history on this new project, Dean - How did the PPP get started?

Dean ~ In 2005, a dozen prayer ministry leaders met together at a prayer conference to answer the question, “What is the biggest hindrance you find to prayer in churches?” The unanimous answer from the group was pastors who are overwhelmed and have relegated prayer to a small group of intercessors. The group realized that during their academic careers, none of them had ever taken a course in prayer. Nine of the group members had seminary degrees. In response, the National Prayer Committee established a task force to study how to best address this shortcoming. As far as we can determine, it looks like less than 5% of graduates coming out of American theological institutions ever had a course in personal or corporate prayer. “Giving Ourselves to Prayer” is the first fruit of this Task Force on Prayer in Theological Education. This first of its kind textbook is 592 pages, contains 80 chapters written by 80 different authors from across the theological spectrum. It is now being adopted into the curricular choices of several bible colleges and seminaries.

The Praying Pastors Project (PPP) came along as the National Prayer Committee was getting ready to release “Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry in July 2008. While seeing it used in our theological schools is exciting it is also slow going. So the next question was, “What about the pastors and priests who aren’t going back to school but need education and encouragement in the area of prayer? Ron Simons of Greater Calling and Harvest Prayer Ministries received a vision for reaching all 1 million pastors in America by having Christian businesses and individuals sponsor pastors in their community. After hearing the vision, prayer and discussion, the Praying Pastors Project was born as a project of America’s National Prayer Committee.

Phil ~ Why is an initiative like this so strategic for our nation and beyond?

Dean ~ The subtitle of “Giving Ourselves to Prayer” refers to Acts 6:4 where the disciples say “we will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word” Our theological schools do a good job of training in the scriptures and pastoral ministries but neglect the prayer part that the disciples deemed to be important. Given the current state in our nation and the world, people are asking their pastors for prayer, asking how to pray and even asking how they should pray. All of this while most pastors don’t feel equipped to teach and disciples others in prayer. In fact many pastors are ashamed of the quality of their prayer lives. Prayer seems like inactivity and there is always a list of ‘urgent’ things to be done. We have pushed them to be CEO’s and to run good services and programs but we have not encouraged them to be men and women of prayer. Then we are amazed when things seem to be done in human strength. I was in local church ministry for over 20 years and I know the pressures that pastors feel. I think that’s why this project is so appealing to me.

At the Praying Pastors Project, we believe that Praying Pastors produce Praying Churches. If our pastors become men and women dedicated to prayer and begin to teach and model in our congregations, our churches will become praying churches and the power of God will move in and through them. When that happens look out. Revival will break out. Our churches, our communities, our states and our nation will be transformed.

Phil ~ What feedback are you getting as the Praying Pastors Project rolls out?

Dean ~ The response we’ve received so far has been completely positive. Prayer leaders are catching the vision for the project. We often hear, “this is what I’ve been praying for, for years.” Prayer leaders have such big hearts for their pastors. National Day of Prayer coordinators have been extremely excited about PPP. They can visualize the benefits of bringing the Praying Pastors Project into their communities. They have such a heart to see pastors grow in prayer and partner with them to encourage prayer not only on the National Day of Prayer but throughout the year. Intercessors really catch the vision. They are constantly lifting up their pastors and see this as a way to see their pastors grow in prayer.

Phil ~ I read how one pastor plans to use Giving Ourselves to Prayer with his congregation. Is this one of the hoped for results?

Dean ~ Yes, we’ve had several pastors who plan to use the book as the basis of a sermon series. We hadn’t really envisioned that because “Giving Ourselves to Prayer” is a very academic book but if a pastor can take the content and use it to teach from the pulpit, that’s great. What we have envisioned is a pastor using Alvin VanderGriend’s transforming devotional, “Love to Pray” with their congregations. Each sponsored pastors receive a copy of “Love to Pray” with their membership. It is already setup to be used as a 40 Days of Prayer initiative. Hundreds of churches have already used the 40 Days materials. Church members read the “Love to Pray” daily devotional for the 40 days and pastors preach for 8 weeks on prayer. Sermon outlines and notes are available for the 40 Days initiative. There are sermon outlines/notes for the series. They are available for PPP members on the “4PastorsOnly” website.

There is a Kenyan pastor who has created a 160 hour training program for pastors using “Giving Ourselves to Prayer.” He is currently equipping 150 pastors from more than 5 countries.

Phil ~ It seems to me that the PPP has the potential to be a catalyst in Pastors' Prayer Groups, across city-wide networks, even within denominations...

Dean ~ PPP desires to see pastors within a community gather together for prayer and encourage each other in growing in prayer. We envision having resources that will help facilitate that kind of process within pastors’ prayer groups, ministerial associations and within denominations. There are lots of pastors who get together regularly to write sermons together, why not include prayer? Can you imagine a group of pastors, regardless of the group, gathering together to encourage each other to grow in prayer? A community or denomination whose pastors commit to praying together, for their communities and their congregations will see God move. It’s God’s heart.

Phil ~ The success of this depends upon the response of individuals on behalf of their pastors, and rightly so, but how can that person have a wider impact?

Dean ~ While we desire to see individuals respond on behalf of their pastors, we really want to see this go beyond a pastor in a church to the pastors of a community. Individuals can become Community Coordinators to sponsor the pastors in their community. We have all the resources available for an individual to plan a project, secure sponsorship from Christian businesses, individuals and churches and distribute the resources to the pastors in their community.

A second way a wider impact comes is when people begin to lift up their pastors in prayer on a regular basis. Often times people especially those with a passion for intercession become critical of pastors who are as passionate. Instead, begin a prayer group for your pastor. Let your pastor know that your group is regularly praying for him/her. When you pray for someone you love, the tone of your prayers change.

Phil ~ Dean, what is your hope for everyone reading this interview?

Dean ~ My hope is to see your readers lift up their pastors in more than words. I’d love to see love expressed in action. My biggest dream is to see every reader sponsor their pastors in the Praying Pastors Project and then continue beyond that in lifting them up in prayer on a daily basis. The $40 it takes to sponsor a pastor is a small investment in the life of your pastor and the Kingdom. Prayed for pastors are much more likely to be able to withstand the assaults that come their way. Our pastors need prayer shields because the evil one loves to see them fall. As a former pastor, I much preferred being prayed for than being preyed on.

If they don’t know how to pray for their pastor, Jennifer Kennedy Dean has written a 30 day prayer guide to help us pray scriptural prayers for our pastors that is free on our website. Lastly, this project is still small so we need people who catch the vision to share it with others who have a heart for prayer and praying for pastors. They can go to our website and look around. We’ve made it user friendly and try to answer whatever questions might arise. If they have questions, they can find our contact information and we’ll be glad to answer any questions. ===>Click headline to access Praying Pastors Project website . . .

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Soul Care: Don't Forget Prayer

Run for Your Soul!

Mike Yaconelli Ministry Life -

Why you may need to quit your job as a youth minister

>>>Note: substitute your role//title

In this age of the megachurch, our culture worships doing. We put busy people on pedestals—especially if the busyness results in bigger and more. But when you take the pagan worship of busyness and add to it the biblical mandate to reach the world, you have a lethal combination. The church has baptized busyness and activity and produced overworked, burned out, spiritually dry ministers who—in the "name of God"—neglect their families, their souls and their physical well-being.

If I can be so audacious as to "blaspheme" the Gospel of Growth, I respectfully suggest this modern rush to urgency is not only wrong, it's arrogance gone mad. The moment we believe the kingdom of God is dependent on you and me, we've either experienced a schizophrenic episode or we've misunderstood our roles as Christians.

Yes, we are to "go into all the world." Yes, we are to "make disciples." But last I checked, it took Jesus three years of concentrated effort to make 12 disciples—and it took them the rest of their lives to understand what discipleship means. Remember, Paul suggests we are in Christ, not working for Him.

If you're a youth worker in a church in which the Gospel of Growth rules, RUN! If your senior minister is a winsome, captivating, entrepreneurial workaholic, grab your soul and get out before it's too late.

Sadly, when you blow the whistle or rebel again the Gospel of Growth or suggest that God might be calling you to stop adding more activities and people and start growing the ones you have, your very commitment to Christ is questioned. Then you're isolated, criticized, told you're not a "team player"—and finally condemned. I'm telling you that you're not crazy. You're not lazy. You're not uncommitted.

Obviously evangelism is an important goal and calling of the church. But evangelism is not justification for busyness, exhaustion, burnout, or the destruction of families. Many evangelistic missionary organizations have a reputation for leaders who've burned themselves out on the altar of evangelism. And then—when these charismatic, driven leaders collapse under the weight of their maddening schedules—they're tossed aside for the next leaders who'll also self-destruct.

Youth workers, you haven't been called to crazy, maddening schedules. You haven't been called to reach every student for Christ. You haven't been called to fix all the kids in your youth groups. The weight of your youth groups isn't on your shoulders. Your calling is to be faithful to Christ and to your families and to reach those you can. Growth is not the gospel. More and bigger are not fruits of the Spirit.

A few suggestions:

  • Ask that your staff meetings be changed to talk about Jesus and your souls rather than business.
  • As part of your job description, ask for one day a week to spend on your soul—away from the office.
  • Ask for a personal resource budget so you can read books that will help keep your soul intact.
  • As part of your job description, ask for a week every two months to spend alone, in silence, praying and reading and resting.
  • If your senior pastor is a workaholic who can't understand anyone who isn't a workaholic, quit and find a new job.

    MIKE YACONELLI spent 43 years of his life in ministry to youth workers and students, and 20 years as the pastor of a small church in Yreka, Calif. Adapted from Getting Fired for the Glory of God by Mike Yaconelli. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved

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    Monday, April 06, 2009

    Is Your PrayerLife a Balancing Act?

    Life in the kingdom of God is not a balancing act between working hard and waiting on God to do His part. Life in the Kingdom of God is simply about abiding with Jesus.
    If we’re abiding with Jesus and staying close to His heart,
    we never have to worry about getting ‘out of balance.’

    Jamal Jivanjee

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