Multiplying Churches without adequate prayer is about as effective as trying to sell melted ice-creams

Multiplying Churches without adequate prayer is about as effective as trying to sell melted ice-creams.

I love ice-cream. It’s my favourite food! Sometimes I help my wife with the grocery shopping and we often buy a tub of ice-cream to bring home. None of those generic brands – No!

When I help with the shopping it has to be creamy full flavour vanilla. The only problem is getting the ice-cream home in a summer heated car. If we don’t do it right, when we come home we have a moist tub of yuk! Ice-cream has to be cold or it’s not ice-cream.

Do you see what I mean? If ice-cream has to be kept cold to fulfil it’s purpose then I want to say the ministry of Church multiplication has to be kept hot to fulfil it’s purpose.

How do we keep Church multiplication hot? By empowering it with all kinds of prayer.

The ministry of seeing Churches multiply across a society is exciting and very rewarding. It also demands an incredible amount of time and focused activity.

We get the vision, recruit the team, develop the strategy and get going. We go, go, go! After a year or so we may pause to reflect on the fruitfulness of what we have done. Where can we see the hand of God? Where is the evidence of strong conversions, of spectacular miracles, of wonderful provisions?

About then we begin to tell everyone how tough ministry is in our “culture,” and how difficult it is to bring many people to Christ when they have no knowledge of Him at all! All too true! Inwardly, we may feel we have hit a brick wall.

Been there? Join the club!

I think one of the problems is that we are offering the ministry of Church multiplication in a luke-warm state to people. It needs to be hot!

The New Testament relates the true story of a Church faced with huge barriers. There was political and religious oppression. Satanic cults sought to block the way of the Gospel. Church leaders were imprisoned and stoned. And yet the Church multiplied all around the Mediterranean region.

Whenever opposition came, the Church prayed and God overcame the opposition. In some cities, the Church was so hot that people were afraid to join with them!

There was, and is a clear linkage between the effectiveness of the Gospel and the prayers of God’s people.

Have you tried everything and been left disappointed with the results?

Have you done the work of prayer? I know that the work of prayer goes hand in hand with the work of the Gospel. What we need is a whole workforce empowered by prayer and committed to sharing the Gospel. There are some prayer ministries that I have found to be essential to all progress in God’s work. Hopefully they can form a kind of check list for Church multipliers.

1. Spiritual mapping. Peter Wagner has written extensively on this. It’s important to know the area where you plan to minister well and to send teams of intercessors there to pray before the Gospel is announced.

2. Intercessory prayer. Build a team of intercessors who may be off-site initially. Feed them information and plans and listen to the guidance they receive. Build a local team as soon as practicable.

3. Team prayer. Your initiating team will be busy and strongly committed to spending quality time with people who are not-yet-Christians. The danger is we put a lower priority on prayer time together. Avoid this danger because the effectiveness of your ministry is directly related to the prayer and listening to God done in team.

4. New disciples’ prayer. Teach the new disciples to pray as early as possible. Stretch their faith and they will grow. Teach them the work of prayer and the work of the Gospel at the same time because both are needed.

5. Nights and Seasons of prayer. We are all too busy and prayer gets lost in busyness. Schedule nights of prayer ahead of special events and don’t forget to include times for “thank you’s” to God for His blessings. When you need to listen to God or when you need a break through, call your people to prayer and (if necessary) fasting. It is God’s work after all and He wants to bless the work of the Gospel wherever it is preached.

6. Prayer walks. If God leads you to try to reach a particular area or suburb, get some people to prayer walk the streets and pray for God to work in every home. Churches have seen incredible results from this ministry.

7. Prayer triplets. All of us need encouragement and accountability in our witness. Link your disciples up in triplets and equip them to pray for the effective witness of each person to family, friends and workmates. Success here depends on effective communication between each member of the triplet and the others.

8. Regular prayer for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Witnessing lacks effectiveness unless the Holy Spirit is at work. We need Him and in a mysterious way, He needs us. When the Spirit works people respond to the Gospel readily. When the Spirit leads us to responsive people it is not hard to win them to Christ.

9. Personal prayer. You cannot allow your personal prayers to be only of the “prayers on the run variety.” You need time to quietly seek God’s face and God’s blessing regularly. Be quiet with God and listen to Him. You will be surprised how often he speaks to you.

10. Add your own. I am sure you have some brilliant ideas and experiences.

How “hot” is your ministry of Church multiplication? I mean, is it plain for all to see that God is rampant in the midst of the young Churches you serve? Do your people’s lives radiate Christ‘s love regularly? Are you in need of some significant break throughs?

Turn to the Lord in prayer. Make it the foundation of all you do and the breakthroughs you are seeking may come sooner than you think!

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