By Shannon Youell
At Banff Pastors & Spouses Conference, Church Planting (which includes missional innovations) always has something to help stimulate your imagination in sharing Jesus with those who have not yet experienced His presence in their lives. This year we put together a few simple resources to share with your congregation on a crucial place to begin engaging neighbours in proximity to where you live, work and play.
I want to assure you that we provide you with ideas that most often we have done or are doing ourselves and/or are currently challenging our thinking around evangelism, discipleship and being faithfully present to God and neighbour. We want to populate our thinking that inviting Jesus with us into all the places and spaces we find ourselves in should be the norm for His followers, not the exception.
It seems that 2017 has been the year of prayer. By that I mean that across our nation, in our churches and in our spirits, God has been tugging us to that place of making space, praying, listening, and responding.
We’ve been joining in praying for ourselves with the Luke 10:02 movement. Just to say it again…when we pray that prayer Jesus instructed us to pray we are praying for ourselves, as we are the workers Jesus is calling out for.
We’ve been praying for our churches and denomination during this season of 77 Days of Prayer. And, I certainly hope, we have been praying for our neighborhoods and neighbors and folk who live and work and play around us.
That’s a lot of praying for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven, in our homes, neighborhoods, churches, towns, cities and nations!
Paul wrote to the Galatians about sowing to please the Spirit and not our own selfish natures. He encourages them, and us, to “…not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9). There’s that reaping a harvest analogy again and we find that we are the reapers (again)! “Don’t become weary”, don’t quit because it is hard, unrewarding, boring, silly, uncomfortable and isn’t filling the seats of your Sunday service. The call is to pray “unceasingly” and with boldness, faith and until you see God moving and hearts shift (usually I’ve found it is first my heart that needs shifting; my mountain that needs to fall into the sea!) and suddenly God’s presence fills the spaces between our praying and the harvesting.
If, in the sincerity of our hearts, loving those God loves, desiring to witness and be a part of seeing the light of shalom come into places where darkness still prevails, then praying is always the foundation. Can we pray? Can we give up some of our precious “me” and “us” time to seek the kingdom in the way Jesus instructed.
In our give-away super packet at Banff, we included some ideas about prayer walking your neighbourhoods in your town. You can get it by clicking here.
Print it out. Give it to every person in your congregation. Model it first yourself. This is where I began, though not with a guide or even an idea of what I was doing. God challenged me to stop praying only for my home, my safety, my family and to begin to pray for the neighbourhood too. Then He challenged me to walk my neighbourhood weekly and stop, listen and pray at each house. For you, we give this guided thirty-day challenge. Will you accept it? Will you join God who is at work already–He grows the harvest after all–and take the time to discover where He wants you to begin reaping?