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May 20, 2020

Creating a Community Prayer Ministry

By New Churches Team

Starting a Network

When Dave Clayton and his family planted Ethos, they had a sense that God wanted them to be involved in church planting. Eighty percent of their church is under the age of 30. They are young and mobile. So the question they faced was: How do they turn Ethos Church into a sending place? 

In the early days, they did it through the lens of macro church planting, but as they started thinking strategically, their vision changed. They began to focus on how they could reproduce leaders that were adaptable enough to flex as the culture changes. That is how Onward started. Through Onward they would bring in 10-11 emerging leaders and disciple them for a couple of years then release them to plant a church. Currently, they host 10-12 North American leaders and 10-12 international leaders each year. They are also beginning to develop hub leaders who will develop hubs of church planting. 

Who Gets a Seat at the Table?

Onward has theological core convictions that they use as filters, but ultimately they want to help anybody who is on Team Jesus. One of the things that Onward believes to be important is taking the time to get to know somebody. “We would never propose to each other on the first date. Let’s not do that in the Kingdom either,” Clayton explains. They use a slow process of getting to know one another, having meals together, meeting families, etc. to truly see how Christ is working in their lives and to determine if they have compatible chemistry and theology.

Launching AWAKEN

When Clayton and his wife were working overseas with global church planters for the better part of a year, “God got our attention of the undeniable connection between prayer and fasting and disciple making movements,” he explains. They were convicted of how weak they were in these areas. Clayton felt the Lord leading them to tithe 10% of their year in prayer and fasting for the lost. Two years ago, in the middle of a month-long fast as a church, Clayton felt called by the Lord to pray for people in the community by name. Over the last two years, that has grown to over 1,000 churches across the state praying and fasting for people by name. 

The first year they had 40,000 people commit to praying for 15 households each. They gave everyone a physical prayer packet with guidance on that included items like, How do I pray and fast?, What do I pray about each day?, etc. At the end, they wrote handwritten notes to 600,000 households to let them know they had been prayed for and that they mattered to Jesus. Of course, not everybody loved that, but the response was overwhelmingly positive. The next year they had individuals identify their eight closest relationships who were far from God, and, in addition, they had a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week for 30 days prayer room where they prayed for every person in the city. 

Taking First Steps

If you are a church planter who is interested in starting a prayer ministry in and through your church, start really small and develop a core that will last. In this realm of prayer, church planters have a tendency to immediately ask how they take the whole city. But first you must think smaller.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.

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