Developing a Prayer Team – Part 1

It’s a privilege to be able to come and worship God through singing and it’s amazing to hear the word of God presented in a relevant way each week.  But the most important part of a worship service, as we give ourselves to God, is when we respond to the worship and do something with what we have heard.  That’s why I believe the invitation is the most important part of the church service because it is our chance to respond to what God has revealed to us.  

Many are moving away from having this as a part of their service for a variety of reasons from not capitalizing on emotional responses to the message, to not wanting ‘seekers’ to feel uncomfortable or pressured.  But if we close the door to the freedom of the Spirit we actually hinder the growth of our people and the movement of God.  Because I do value the ‘invitation’ or ‘altar call’ portion of the service, I recently was able to develop a Prayer Team that is available to help minister during this time and continue throughout the week.  Some of this ministry is described below:

Overview of Ministry

The purpose of this team is to pray with, direct, and love people.  It is to show comfort and consideration to others.  Having a burden to help people is one thing. Actually acting on that burden is something else. John 12:8 says there will always be people who are hurting and who need help and encouragement. That’s why this ministry is being formed.  We will be available for people to seek us out during the invitation.  But we won’t just wait for others to seek us out; but rather seek them out. Pray for, look for, and act on opportunities to comfort others. If we don’t, who will?

What will you do on this team? You will…

  • Lead people into a personal relationship with Christ.
    • With new salvations we make sure they understand what they prayed and believe, reinforce and encourage them, invite them to meet the pastor and sign up for the next baptism. Move them towards the next session to introduce our church. (We will follow the New Believer Process to accomplish this.)
    • Give guidance to those who receive Christ at the altar
  • Support those who want to rededicate or strengthen their walk with the Lord
    • When someone comes forward to rededicate their life, always explore whether they have had an initial dedication. (Is there a time in your life when you made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life?)
  • Pray for the prayer needs of those who come forward for prayer
    • With prayer needs, we let people talk for a few minutes but then ask them to be specific as to how we can pray for them. We ask our prayer team not to give counsel but to offer prayer. Many times people will ask important questions like “Should I quit my job?” Our role is not to make decisions for people but to pray with them as they make the decision. Afterwards, they’re invited to a small group if they’re not in one.
    • If someone comes forward asking for the elders/pastors to pray over them for healing (according to James 5:13-16), direct them to one of the pastors.
  • Equip others by presenting opportunities for them to grow in their faith (directing to small groups, quiet times, missions, etc)
  • Help those in the prayer ministry understand what they believe, and how they can most effectively help others
  • Encourage those who have matured in the prayer ministry to step out as soul winners
  • Work with People interested in membership
    • If someone comes forward and wants to become a member of the church, start here:
      • Has there been a time when you accepted Jesus as your Savior? … If yes, explore that with them
      • If no, present the gospel … If yes, explore and then sign them up for the next session to ‘Introduce our church‘.
  • Direct people to resources or counseling (we have a handout available in the prayer room to help with this: You can use this as a guide for creating your own: Prayer Team Reference Guide)
  • Pray throughout the services

Follow Up after Sunday

It’s important to fill out a Decision Card on each person you speak with so that you can continue to pray for those requests through the week.  Additionally, the team that serves on Sunday will need to do a follow up phone call at the first part of the week to anyone they counseled.  Also, there will be a letter or email sent out from Pastor/Staff on Tuesday to these people letting them know we’re praying for them and reinforcing the decision that was made.

Requirements to serve on this ministry team:

  1. Must have a personal relationship with God that is being maintained through daily times with Him.
  2. Must be an active member of our Church who has been baptized by immersion and completed the Membership group.
  3. Must be trustworthy, knowledgeable and personal.
  4. Must have a Pastor’s heart. (caring, loving, concerned, bold)

Committing to Serve in this Ministry

Taking the first step to join this ministry might be the hardest part. It’s easy to allow your flesh to refuse to be used by God because of fear: fear that you don’t think you’re ready, fear that you’re not good enough, or fear that you don’t know enough.  I want you to remember that the disciples were ordinary men, but they were available.  If you are available and you want to grow, God will use you. When we face a situation that creates fear in our hearts, we need to remind ourselves of how great our God is and pray that He will grant us courage to overcome our fear.

Every day God gives us opportunities to create meaningful moments where we can reach out and comfort others–close friends, relatives, or complete strangers.  We often miss those opportunities because we fail to open ourselves to those “God moments” each day.  By serving in this ministry, you will not only be able to minister during the invitation, but you will become more aware of other opportunities (“God moments”) daily.

It’s my prayer that this has been helpful to you.

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About John Herring

I've been in ministry for almost 20 years. In that time, I have had the opportunity to serve in a variety of roles including, Student and Children's Pastor, Worship and Media Pastor, Education/Small Groups Pastor, Associate Pastor, Church Administrator, Missions Pastor and 'other duties as assigned' Pastor. Many of these have been within the same church and I have had the opportunity to see a variety of changes and transitions in ministry over the past 20 years. I enjoy coaching, consulting, mentoring and investing in leaders to see them become who it is God created them to be. As I do all of these, I am also in transition from where God had me to where He is taking me and enjoying learning more about Him in the journey. I am blessed to have been married to a beautiful godly woman, Alisha, for 11 years and have 2 amazing kids. I continue to learn more about them, myself and God every day. View all posts by John Herring

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