Recruiting Leaders Who Can Pray
The qualifications for leadership are obvious.
Character – We agree on the essential need to seek out fruitful believer in Jesus Christ; a person who is a disciple, not merely someone who has made a decision. A man or women of integrity and honesty, with an obvious love of God and love for people. Also, prone to prayer.
Called to the task by an inner leading from the Lord (Colossians 4:17).
Competent - Spiritually gifted by the Spirit to the role for which they are recruited. Skilled in the appropriate abilities, talents, experiences needed to serve well.
While our lists of qualifications or the way we describe a preferred candidate can vary, most congregations set people into places of service with a similar sounding set of expectations. But, is that adequate?
What might take place in our congregations if we raise our expectations regarding prayer and praying? What greater results might we see, what barriers to growth broken, limitations vanquished, if we desire and require leaders to go beyond our typical and traditional levels of prayer and styles of praying?
In other words, what if we said the one thing that must be uncommonly common to every Sunday or study class teacher, worship leader, weeknight fellowship group shepherd, children’s and youth leader, committee captain, team director, or age-level coordinator is the ability to lead that class-group-team-committee into Spirit-prompted prayer?
Don’t we have prayer coordinators who can do this? We do but they cannot nor should not lead prayer at every meeting of/for every ministry. Don’t we have designated people who we can call on to say-a-prayer? Sure, but that has long ago become a default mode which seldom lifts that moment of praying to our honored place of “seated in the heavenlies” (Ephesians 2:6).
We are desperate for leaders who are serving from their primary gifting (teaching, administration, hospitality, encouragement, evangelism) and in that capacity capable of facilitating their group, small or large, into experiences of praying that is heard in heaven.
We must not assume every potential leader knows how to pray by the leading of the Spirit and the power of the Scripture. We must no longer be satisfied if they can open or close a meeting with a few tried and true sentences of praying.
The standard "let me open with a word of prayer" and "let's close with a word of prayer" approach is killing us.
Transformative leaders must have a grander perspective of the purpose of prayer and greater diversity in the practices of praying in order to make life-changing impact in and through their ministry.
Every leader in the congregation must become a prayer champion; the one person who leads a class or committee, a group or gathering, in their unique set of objectives and goals. Unique in so many ways, yet identical in one vital dimension; every team is desperate to be led higher and deeper and further in prayer ... and their leader must accept that responsibility.
Sure, the Pastor must be the prayer champion for the entire flock. A prayer coordinator or prayer contact is essential to oversee the administration of prayer on a macro basis. But until we develop leaders who champion prayer for each ministry's strategies and activities, our results will be more about what we can do for God than what God can do through us.
Congregations that want to mature from simply being a church that prays (even Unitarian congregations pray) to becoming a praying church must get serious about training every servant giving direction to esch ministry and meeting. Equipping them to know how to:
- Ask the Holy Spirit to facilitate even the briefest of prayer times
- Seek the Lord corporately through spoken prayers, scripture, even song and silence
- Knock when the door (God’s will, God’s way) has been identified through faith-driven petitionary praying
Simple, but not easy; it must be learned. Spiritual and scriptural yet practical I a way that leads to participation of everyone involved … which becomes our training ground for the recruitment of future leaders who have the capacity to lead by gifting and by praying.
Thank God for our prayer leaders ... but ask God for leaders who pray.