Every week we hear about some historic moment: the first-ever spacecraft landing on a comet or Peyton Manning becoming the first-ever quarterback to throw for 509 touchdowns. These historic firsts happen frequently enough, but it’s rare to have the opportunity to be present where one happens.
How would you like to have that kind of opportunity? How would you like to be present at the first-ever National Prayer Summit of the Free Methodist Church – USA? The bishops are calling our people to gather together from across our nation to pray in preparation for General Conference 2015 and form an ongoing National Prayer Ministry. My wife, Margie, and I are honored to serve the denomination as the coordinators of this new ministry.
Our first task is to organize what the bishops are calling the “National Prayer Summit: GC2015 and Beyond” hosted by the Greenville (Illinois) Free Methodist Church. But this March 19–21 summit is just the starting point. Where are we headed?
Imagine every local Free Methodist church functioning fruitfully as a true house of prayer where lost and broken people are brought into the healing embrace of God’s grace. That’s where we are headed. Our bishops have given us the go-ahead to pull out all the stops and reorient our churches around the primary ministry of prayer.
Imagine every local Free Methodist church filled with people who seek the Lord in fervent prayer for the outpouring of His Spirit and the transformation of their towns and cities. That’s our vision. Almost every church has a handful of people who devote themselves to prayer. What if that number grew from a handful to a majority in every church?
Imagine what your church would be like if people became more confident and skillful in the use of prayer in healing, care and counseling one another. Testimonies of God’s grace and intervention would skyrocket, resulting in heightened praise and worship. That, too, is part of our vision.
Therefore, by God’s grace, we will launch this National Prayer Ministry as a guide, encouragement and training resource to help our whole denomination become a movement of God with the ministry of prayer at the center. To get the ball rolling, we are offering the National Prayer Summit, spanning three days in March.
The prayer summit is open to any person, but we are especially interested in having designated prayer leaders and coordinators come from each of our annual conferences and as many of our local churches as possible.
The goal of the prayer summit is twofold. First, we’ll provide inspiration and guidance for developing prayer ministries in the local church. Or, simply put: How can we get our people to engage passionately and effectively in prayer? Second, we’ll collaborate to determine the first steps toward a nationwide prayer ministry and use the immediate challenge of praying for GC15 as the catalyst.
Don’t worry. This won’t be one of those prayer meetings where it’s all talk about prayer but little praying. There will be plenty of good teaching, but we will spend much time in listening prayer, seeking God’s guidance and collaborating to form the National Prayer Ministry. We’ll also have plenty of time to engage in intercessory prayer for GC15 by way of an important process called “staging.”
Most of our U.S. superintendents and global overseers had an opportunity to sample what the prayer summit would be about. Here’s what some of them wrote:
- “Powerful presentation … should be shouted from the housetops! I’d love to have it for our conference family in a number of different contexts.”
- “I was as touched as I have been in a long time. Probably years. It was great! The whole presentation was perfect.”
- “The presentation inspired and challenged me in a very deep way about my own prayer life.”
We are so committed to the formation of a National Prayer Ministry through this historic prayer summit that we are covering the cost of registration and meals for all participants. Optional free housing is even available for many.
If you would like your church to develop a more effective prayer ministry, if you’d like to get teaching and inspiration for your own prayer life, or if you’d like to see our denomination breakthrough into new realms of spiritual impact at the local, regional and national level, come to the first-ever National Prayer Summit. Go to fmcusa.org/prayersummit to sign up for free today.
Doug Newton is the co-coordinator of the National Prayer Ministry, senior pastor of the Greenville Free Methodist Church and former senior editor of Light & Life Magazine.
CONNECTING WITH REFUGEES
Cornerstone Church attracted the attention of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which published a Nov. 11 article noting that “a chain of events beginning half a world away has led to the integration of dozens of African refugees” into the congregation. Read the article at fmchr.ch/cornerstonpa via the Free Methodist World Missions website and follow a link to a Post-Gazette video.
“™DATELINE NBC” COVERAGE
The Pendleton Free Methodist Church played a key role in the Nov. 7 episode of “Dateline NBC.” The hour-long NBC news television show focused on the murder of Amyjane Brandhagen, 19, and an attack on Karen Lange, who also attended the church. Go to fmchr.ch/datelinefm for Senior Pastor Scott Little’s reaction to the episode.
The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 13 to strike down a Wisconsin District Court decision declaring the Pastors’ Housing Allowance unconstitutional. As a result, pastors’ housing benefits will remain in effect. Go to fmchr.ch/fmchousing for rules that govern eligibility for the housing allowance.
Citizens Church hosted a “Frozen Christmas” at two special services Dec. 21. Along with worship and a gospel message, scheduled activities included snow made onsite (a rarity in the desert), mobile sledding and photo opportunities with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna of Disney animated movie fame. Go to fmchr.ch/frozencitizens for details.