[ Prayer [
The #ReimagineFORUM Coaching Session •Cheryl Dorsey
Facebook page of the Beacon Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago Heights, IL
Prayer, Prayer Evangelism,
Chicagoland United in Prayer
•Why is it important for Christian leaders to begin a journey of rethinking ministry in your focus-area?
As I write my responses to the interview questions, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, COVID-19. The realities of this worldwide event have brought into focus the empty exercises and rituals in our churches (in my opinion). I believe the Lord has placed us in a unique position to get back in touch with what is really important.
In this new normal, churches and Christians alike are coming to grips with the authenticity of our relationship with Him, our reliance on Him, and our requisite need for His power in our lives. We are discovering what is extraneous, what has been filler and empty ritual in our services and in our Christian walk. We are discovering the pure essence of what Christian faith and service really is. Eternity and the need for personal evangelism are abundantly clear.
•Why will a "reimagine-journey" be difficult and potentially dangerous to the status quo?
When teaching on prayer, I invariably refer to that old Negro spiritual whose refrain says, “Just so busy working for my Jesus, I ain’t got time to die.” Sadly, that is all too true! We allow ourselves to become so busy with “church work” that we miss what is really important. Just like Martha learned, it is more important to be at His Feet, and in His Presence.
The difficulty will come when we shift our focus and begin to “kick over sacred cows of tradition.” As we seek to be more authentically like Christ, we will have our Palm Sundays (when everyone loves us), but we will also have to deal with the realities of those crucifixion experiences (loneliness and persecution). Like that rich young ruler who is described in Matthew 19:16-22, we will be asked to leave the extraneous behind, i.e., fame, popularity, prejudices, and preconceived notions. We will have to count the cost. To mix a metaphor, whose report will you believe? Answer: We must believe the report of the Lord.
Agree/Disagree ~ We live in an extraordinary world: Globalization. Immigration. #BlackLivesMatter. Gender reclassification. Marriage Redefined.. #MeToo. The rise of White Supremacy. Terrorism. Unpredictable Weather. The impact of the Industrial Revolution gives way to the Technological Age. . . . This a time of epic change that requires the Church to rethink how we apply biblical truth to the traditions-programs-models-systems that format everything we do.
Hmmm. Good question! I agree. I believe that every generation since Jesus died on that cross has lived in different times and social contexts, but the power and truth of The Gospel are Bedrock and remains constant. When the Lord says, I change not! I believe Him. Times changes, people change, and social context presents different obstacles, but Jesus Christ is still and remains the answer for the world yesterday, today, and forevermore.
•What does it actually mean to "reimagine?" Please unpack the word as you understand it and the components of a reimagining process.
Reimagine. In the context of reimagining prayer, our church prayer meeting didn’t generate excitement or engagement in our congregation. I’d invite them but very few ventured out. I should also add that it was difficult for our seniors to get out because they were babysitting, infirm, or lacked transportation. During the pandemic, we switched to online worship but the majority of our members are seniors and not computer-savvy, so we used freeconferencecall.com for our weekly prayer meetings and for Sunday School class. Eureka! Today, we had a dozen people call in to pray or listen and agree in prayer. Our homebound seniors were able to participate, and they were so joyful and thankful to God in their prayer. No matter their age or physical condition they could participate and be used by God to pray for others. Definitely a #Reimagine moment.
•What roadblocks or resistance, barriers and boundaries, inhibit or prevent leaders from pursuing a discerning assessment when they commence a journey to reimagine ministry?
We had a tough vice president of operations at a former job. I recall him cruising through the office floor and asked my boss to move or remove a few random boxes to eliminate clutter. Well, customer calls, report deadlines, the regular minutiae of business stole her focus from the VP’s request. After circling the floor a second and third time, an outwardly calm VP came and picked up the box and threw it across the floor. He looked at us and said, Now, I guess you find a place to store the boxes. While I disagree with his method, he got the entire department’s attention, and the boxes were cleared away within 30 minutes. Likewise, our submission to the tyranny of business distracts us from our main purpose, communion with the Father through Jesus Christ. I really feel like this pandemic is a prism the Lord is using to force us to see what is truly important. Only Him and His Word.
"Where do I begin? Where do you recommend a leader looks first to insure they commence a truly Spirit-led, Scripture-fed journey?
Spend time in His Presence regularly. FaceTime with the Father. No TV, No FaceBook, No cable TV, and you, the Lord, the Word of God, and a notebook (if being on the computer is too much of a distraction. Praise, Worship, Meditate on scripture, Pray . . . and LISTEN. Quality time with Him daily just because He’s worth it.
Who are the thought leaders the Holy Spirit is using to help the Church reimagine?
1) Dr. John Fuder, Chicagoland United in Prayer, Citywide Prayer Initiative, wwwchiunitepray.com and
2) Dennis Pethers (UK) & John Whaley (US), Rooftop USA & Int’l., Global Prayer Evangelism, therooftop.org
How does your ministry help Christian leaders equip those they serve to begin the reimagine-journey?
In addition to designing and facilitating prayer training, prayer evangelism events, and workshops,I am mentoring pastor wives and prayer ministry leaders. I can always be reached at Pray@ChicagoBaptist.com.
Additional coaching insights to share? Questions we must pursue?
Be intentional. Model the change, then re-image.
Please write a prayer that sets us onto a reimagining journey . . .
Father, you say in your Word that “you know the plans you have for us.” We believe you, Lord. Open the eyes of our understanding and enlighten our hearts so we can see your vision. Enable our hands and feet to do the work required. Write the vision on the tablet of our hearts and make it plain to our finite minds. Bring us back into true communion with you. Use us for your glory, Lord. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
I just became a fan of Cheryl Dorsey!! Love her message and heart for the Lord.
"Empty exercises and rituals in our churches." What purpose do they serve? As a layperson, it seems to me they are often used to control congregations--keep them busy with church activities, church business and fund raising--so that the pastor and the bricks and mortar can be supported.
Such "empty exercises and rituals" got in the way of letting the Lord in when He was Seeking me. He has now Drawn me closer to Him since I stopped doing "empty exercises and rituals" to focus on on-line Christian fellowship with a small congregation of Christians. Most often there is the bare minimum necessary to gather in his name. It is much more exciting than simply being herded.
My faith walk now is doing the Will of God as often as a flawed human is able. Just re-imagine what He Could Do if all Christians stopped doing the work of "men."
I had the privilege of serving with her in many prayer-focused events.
She is an outstanding woman of God.
Jim Morgan said:
NEW from Cheryl Dorsey:
As I’ve been praying for Chicagoland and our country, the Lord has impress this verse on my heart regarding righteousness, justice and salvation: “Rain down, you heavens, from above, And let the skies pour down righteousness; Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, And let righteousness spring up together. I, the Lord, have created it.” Isaiah 45:8 - NKJV In place of violence I’m praying that righteousness (justice) rain down and throughout our streets so that we reap salvation as a harvest. That present horrors and indignities reap revival and a stronger Church