What I mean is…is the ministry a church? A house of prayer? A missions base? What exactly are you building?
You mean to tell me there’s a difference?
For sure. You wouldn’t use the same strategy to build a skyscraper that you would use to build a three bedroom house. The strategy you use to build needs to be distinct to what you’re building. The unique characteristic to any Praying Church model is that it has a culture of prayer at the center. I define a culture of prayer as a corporate prayer reality that is the seedbed for all the other ministries of the church. It’s not that prayer is the only thing, it’s just the MAIN thing. Nothing else takes the place of prayer. Prayer is at the forefront.
I have had the opportunity to visit different ministries and dialogue with key leaders in the prayer and mission movement. I have taken note of different models of church that I’ve seen operate with success. Here’s a list of the models I’ve seen that seem to be working:
- Local Church – Employs a fairly standard local church model with the core being a culture of prayer. Includes Sunday AM and perhaps Wednesday PM services, other events and outreaches, but the center is prayer. Everything else orbits around prayer.
- House Church – Meets in a home with usually 15 – 30 congregants. Has clear leadership while encouraging body ministry, participation and depth of relationships. Has a culture of prayer at the center.
- Furnace – A missional community based around rhythms of night and day prayer in watches (i.e. a Boiler Room Community) and regular outreach. Check out 24-7 Prayer.
- Campus Ministry – a campus ministry organization, with a prayer room as it’s basis. May include small groups, a corporate worship and teaching meeting, other outreaches and events. Some of the most effective praying churches I have seen are campus ministries based in prayer.
- House of Prayer – A community based in live harp & bowl worship and prayer. May mix live worship with recorded music. Calls forth missionaries and volunteers to staff the prayer room. Has other ministries that function from the foundation of the prayer room.
- Missions Base – A community based in live 24/7 harp & bowl worship and prayer. Staff consists of missionaries. Has multiple supporting ministries and outreaches. Has regional influence in prayer and outreach. Serves as a “regional hub” for the Praying Church for training, equipping and sending. Provides a pastoral element for those who want to join it as their church. (Side Note: This is where IHOP-Atlanta would fall.)
- Prayer Center – A city-wide prayer ministry comprised of participants from multiple congregations. Training exists for continuity & encouragement, but not for pastoral over-site. Partners with many churches in the region to host a live prayer room
Undoubtedly there are a bunch of other models of praying churches and all sorts of model mixes. Ultimately where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, He is in the midst (Mat 18:20). These models are simply ones that I have seen over the last several years. Often as I share this list with leaders the simple definition of what they’re building gives them great clarity and courage to continue to build or to change their tactics. Hope this does the same for you.
What are some other models you have seen or places that you know that employ one of these models?