Prayer INC's Posts (30)

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Guest Post ~ Is "Out Of Season" The New Normal?


 I wanted to make sure you saw the recent podcast with Pastor Bil Cornelius.

He says a few things that were relieving-- and freeing-- to hear.

(A few of those things where you think, "I can't believe someone actually said that." Then, after a moment, you relax and feel, "Oh, I'm SO glad someone ACTUALLY said that...")


One of the biggest lessons of this post-pandemic season, according to Bil?

We are learning NOT to worship at the feet of numbers. That’s always been a tendency for church leaders.

“Preach in season and out of season,” Paul tells us (2 Timothy 4:2).

“This is,” Bil says, “an out of season season.”

(Let's just go ahead and admit that together-- so we can move through it together.)


Furthermore, Bil adds this: it’s a time in which we need to realize that the “numbers” we have now ARE the actual numbers. In a sense, we’re not at 50% or 70% or whatever-% of our capacity… we’re at a new 100%.

(Yes, someone-- Bil-- said that, too!)

But that’s OK.

You’ve grown “the numbers” before, so you can do it again…


Sure, the numbers are important.

They represent real people.


But, we need to focus on the things that really matter—

Your marriage.

Your children.

Your health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual).

If you have these, you’re “winning” in life AND in ministry…

(And aren't those the VERY THINGS we all gave thanks for as we spoke with our closest friends and family just a few days ago?)

That is definitely a LOT to be thankful for…

Your Friend & Coach,

Shawn Lovejoy


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Guest Post ~ We Are Not Inerrant

“You must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Physicist Richard Feynman

In Leo Tolstoy’s novel The Death of Ivan Ilych, the protagonist, Ivan Ilych, is a smart, competent attorney dying from an unknown cause. Tolstoy describes a scene in which Ivan has a sobering realization while gazing at his sleeping daughter, Gerasim.

“Ivan Ilych’s physical sufferings were terrible, but worse than the physical sufferings were his mental sufferings which were his chief torture.

“His mental sufferings were due to the fact that at night, as he looked at Gerasim’s sleepy, good-natured face with its prominent cheek-bones, the question suddenly occurred to him: ‘What if my whole life has been wrong?’

“It occurred to him that what had appeared perfectly impossible before, namely that he had not spent his life as he should have done, might after all be true.”

What a probing and hopefully troubling question.

We are all wrong. Both as individuals and collectively, we are wrong about many things.

As a species (homo sapiens), we are undoubtedly and currently doing things that are terribly wrong. Just look at some of the failings of the recent past.

    • Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel, primarily of Africans and African-Americans, that existed from our country’s founding in 1776 until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 (only 250 years ago).
    • After 3,000 years of being considered a wise medical procedure, bloodletting has only recently—in the late 19th century—been discredited as a treatment for most ailments. America’s first president, George Washington, allegedly had 80 ounces of blood drained from his body in a last-ditch effort to save his life.

In the near and distant future, and for the rest of human history, humans will look with aghast at things we now consider normal and acceptable. What we accept as best-practices in the 21st century will be considered uninformed, unnecessary, even harmful, and wrong. (I’ll make a prediction: in the near future we will wonder why, in this modern era, health care was not readily available to every person on the planet.)

On a personal level, you and I are wrong about many things. There are specific areas of our lives that are wrong and need to change. 

      • What if you have lived a self-centered life?
      • What if you have neglected your family?
      • What if you have not lived authentically?
      • What if you have pursued the wrong career?
      • What if you are racist?

When was the last time you admitted being wrong and revised your opinion accordingly? Know this: there are areas of your life in which you are wrong. If you think you’re an exception to this statement, your pushback betrays your naiveté, lack of self-awareness, and error.

The good news is, we can change. Thoreau said, “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life through conscious endeavor.”

Take an audit of your life; particularly consider areas in which you have a fixed mindset – areas that have been unassailable, uneditable, and beyond reproach. Also investigate areas that are part of your cultural heritage – ideologies that you inherited from your family and society. (Remember, you were not born with any opinions or beliefs; they’re not part of your DNA, you choose to endorse them.) Consider your blind spots; everyone has at least one. (You’ll need help you on this issue because you are…blinded…to your your blind spot.)

If taken seriously, this exploration could be one of the most significant and revealing events of your life.

We often think that if we admit we are wrong, people will think less of us. I think just the opposite; people will admire us. I’ll close with this story from Adam Grant’s book, Think Again (page 73).

“In the early 1990s, the British physicist Andrew Lyne published a major discovery in the world’s most prestigious science journal. He presented the first evidence that a planet could orbit a neutron star – a star that had exploded into a supernova. Several months later, while preparing to give a presentation at an astronomy conference, he noticed that he hadn’t adjusted for the fact that the Earth moves in an elliptical orbit, not a circular one. He was embarrassingly, horribly wrong. The planet he had discovered didn’t exist.

“In front of hundreds of colleagues, Andrew walked onto the ballroom stage and admitted his mistake. When he finished his confession, the room exploded in a standing ovation. One astrophysicist called it “the most honorable thing I’ve ever seen.”


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Guest Post ~ Why Most Churches Need Revitalization



Sam Rainer

November 25, 2018


A need for revitalization does not necessarily mean an entire church is unhealthy. Even the healthiest of established churches have at least one area requiring work, if not several. Sometimes the entire church needs revitalization. In other cases, a particular area of the church needs revitalization.

In fact, the majority of established churches could use some degree of revitalization. Around 65% of churches are in plateau or decline. This one statistic reveals close to 7 out of 10 churches are in need of revitalization. Granted, a lack of growth does not mean the entire church is failing, but it does indicate something is missing—somewhere the church is deficient.

What happens to cause this problem? The reasons are numerous, and each church’s story is different. However, one key theme is simply the patterns a church develops over time. Established churches have established patterns. These congregations have a consistent (or established) schedule. They keep doing the same established programs year after year. Annual events become embedded into the culture. Such is the nature of an established church. But these patterns can create either a healthy movement or an unhealthy movement in the church.

Healthy established patterns create healthy churches. Unhealthy established patterns create unhealthy churches. Clearly, more churches have unhealthy patterns as compared with healthy patterns. The stats are undeniable. But I’ll dig deeper. There is more beneath the surface. Numerical declines are merely a symptom, not the root problem.

Pastors become comfortable. Status quo pastors have status quo churches. Once a church has accepted a pastor, it’s easy for that pastor to cruise. Change always comes with a level of risk. Shepherding is impossible detached from risk-taking. When pastors stop taking risks, churches become complacent.

Budgets get messy. Churches can go years without a budget strategy, creating a jumbled mess of operating line items and an endless list of designated accounts. I recently saw a church budget with a designated account for a cassette tape ministry. Church budgets are often the most common area in need of revitalization.

Ministries linger without purpose. Established patterns of programs are wonderful, until they stop working. Unfortunately, churches are guilty of hanging on to programs instead of desiring the fruit they produce. When the program itself is more important than the results, a church loses the purpose of ministry.

Facilities become cluttered and dated. Deferred maintenance has killed numerous ministers with good intentions. Neglected facilities become an albatross around the neck of many pastors. Even the best established churches often have closets full of junk—old trophies, dusty puppets, and binders of music from the 1970s. In severe cases, the entire campus has not been touched in decades.

Technology outpaces staff. When a church has established patterns and rhythms, the temptation is to neglect technology. In a lot of churches, a decade can pass before it becomes necessary to adopt new technology. Unfortunately, by then it’s often too late and staff are too far behind.

A church needing revitalization in one of these areas is not necessarily unhealthy. However, most established churches need help with at least one. When multiple areas of the church fall behind, the effects are compounded.


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Guest Post: Be ~ Church. Witness.


Being the Church: Witness

Hard to know what to protest.

Everywhere we look, something clamors for attention—loudly.  Racism.  Gender discrimination.  Police violence.  Misinformation campaigns.  Border patrols.  Climate change.  International politics.  Gun violence. Economic inequities.  Each item on this list represents a genuine, life-altering, probably life-threatening emergency.  And that’s to say nothing of less-visible, or less-approachable, threats to justice: mathematical algorithms, gerrymandering, dark money in politics, and (at least in the United States) Christian nationalism.

Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly before your God—what does that look like nowadays?

There’s no shortage of people expressing themselves.  I see actual protests, or videos of protests, multiple times a day, every day, protesting everything under the sun, and many of these are warranted.  Each protest involves a group of people holding up signs, chanting or shouting.  Some involve considerable shouting.  A few involve property destruction or violence.  Many involve identifying and dehumanizing one or more enemies.  There’s a lot—a lot, a lot—of anger.

I see anger on social media, too, sometimes explosive but more often preemptive.  A friend posts a meme, tersely phrased, all of twelve words to “sum up” an enormously complicated and highly emotional issue.  The meme itself will be plain-spoken and absolutist, with no room for discussion, and it’s often accompanied by commentary from the person who posted it: “If you don’t agree with this, unfriend me right now.”

If we’re truthful, we must confess that almost nothing can be fully expressed in twelve words.  Things are nuanced.  Even something we believe to be a moral absolute most often cannot be expressed in a meme or a protest sign; when we try, we have to oversimplify or use coded language that creates an insider-outsider dynamic.  And when we decline to engage with the other—“if you don’t agree with this, unfriend me right now”—we put an end to any potential for relationship.  Change doesn’t happen in the absence of relationship.

What I see happening on both ends of the political and cultural spectrums is something that feels like idolatry of purity, as if our continued moral righteousness depends absolutely on never mixing with anyone whose viewpoints differ.  Some of us fear being influenced by the other.  Some of us fear appearing to approve of the other.  In either case, it feels neither productive nor loving.

Sometimes I wonder whether our faith communities are feeling called to change hearts or change the rules. Obviously, what governments dictate matters.  But it’s not all that matters, and it’s not what matters most.  I suspect that God would prefer we be transformed by Spirit than forced to behave in certain ways by a legal system.  Both matter—but I want to talk about transformation first.

Transformation, or the changing of hearts, simply doesn’t happen at scale because big groups of people get really loud about it.  Protests, hate speech, and expressions of anger are all extremely unlikely to change hearts.  When I think back to the times when I have been changed, I realize it usually hasn’t been the result of a single dramatic experience; rather, it’s the accumulation of many surprising acts of love.  

When someone I disagree with (or fear) demonstrates love and care for me personally, and when that happens repeatedly over a long period of time, then my point of view might be changed.  It’s about relational contact, and it has to happen more than once.  Quippy slogans, harsh words, and even logical arguments cannot do what sharing a dinner can do.

This is one good argument for faith communities to seek relationships with each other, with faraway faith communities.  In the United States, most people don’t live in places where political views are mixed.  Most people live in places that are either solidly Democrat or solidly Republican.  If we hope to engage meaningfully with fellow human beings about social or political matters of the day, we have to escape the echo chambers.  Can your faith community seek relationship with a faith community that’s physically and culturally different from your own, but still within your same country?  Can you do it seeking genuine, long-term relationship with mutual listening and worship and prayer?  Or can you consider encouraging the individual members of your congregation to seek and maintain such relationships?

All this is not to say that protest and witness are unimportant.  One-on-one relationship can change hearts, but not laws—at least not quickly—and sometimes what’s needed is a change of law.  But again, this doesn’t happen as a result of social media posts. 

Strikingly, in the past year, people (at least in the United States) don’t trust their government or nonprofits (including religious groups) as much as they trust business.  That’s right—business.  The corporate sector has a higher trust rating than any other sector in the United States.  People trust businesses to make moral decisions and enact them effectively.  Moreover, there’s data to indicate that a statement on an ethical issue that comes from a high-level CEO has as much effect on public opinion as a statement coming from a politician or celebrity.

On the one hand, this feels utterly bizarre as we draw the natural conclusion: groups attempting to influence public policy might have a greater effect if they lobby the C-suite instead of government officials.  (And of course, nothing says you can’t do both.)  But on the other hand, if we’re looking at this as members of faith communities, that’s not so strange, historically.  Have faith communities not always had a responsibility to minister to all people, including those in positions of tremendous economic power?  Whether we’re happy about today’s trust and power landscapes or not—and most of us are not—can we acknowledge the dynamics and speak loving truth to those who hold power?

The church has always had a place in the broader questions of society, both in terms of speaking to individual lives and in terms of speaking to laws and societal norms.  Faith communities don’t get to make laws, and that’s crucial, but they do have a responsibility to lovingly, consistently articulate truth as best they can, even (or especially) in times of radical social change.

But the tools of people of faith must differ from the tools of the world.  Though God is very much with us in moments of righteous anger, that anger, if separate from love, generally doesn’t provide openings for someone else to change.  Though God is unlikely to insist we engage with someone whose words or actions harm us, complete and categorical refusal to engage provides relative safety but not potential for transformation.  We cannot forget that God changes hearts, but God most often does so through human interactions.

So what does God ask of us?

How do we witness now?

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What Did Jesus Do?

and what can we do?

by Alan Doswald


“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,”

            Hebrews 10:24NIV


Several years ago, people had bracelets and bumper stickers that said “WWJD”-what would Jesus do?  It might be better to ask, “What did Jesus do?”  We don’t have to wonder about that.  In His keynote address Jesus told us what He came to do:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. 

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19NIV


James was anointed or set apart by God to do these 4 things:

  1. To preach good news to the poor.
  2. To proclaim freedom for the prisoners.
  3. To bring recovery of sight for the blind.
  4. To release the oppressed.


The gospels tell us how Jesus did these things.


He preached good news to the poor.  

He shared good news with a despised Samaritan woman that changed her life and her entire community.  He also started his most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount with, “blessed are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God.”  Luke 6:20NIV  He preached good news to the harassed and helpless-the lost. (Matthew 9:35)  Jesus loves the poor-in fact the first people to hear about Jesus coming were very poor-the shepherds. 


He proclaimed freedom for the prisoners. 

Jesus delivered several people that were possessed by demons.  In one town, Jesus freed 2 men from bondage to demons and in doing so, he freed their town from having to put up with them (Matthew 8).  He also freed a woman caught in adultery from a death sentence (John 8).  Even on the cross, he gave freedom to a dying criminal and said he would see him in paradise (Luke 23:43).  Jesus freed those trapped in many types of bondage. 


He provided recovery of sight for the blind. 

He healed people who were physically blind (Matthew 9, Mark 8, John 9).  One of them was challenged by enemies of Jesus and said in reply, “one thing I do know, I was blind, but now I see” (John 9:25NIV).  What a testimony!  Jesus also made one man blind, then restored his sight and gave him his marching orders-the Apostle Paul. 


He released the oppressed. 

In Mark 1, a leper came to Jesus and asked to be made clean.  Lepers were the most oppressed group in that day-totally excluded from society.  Jesus had compassion on him, touched him and healed him.  By the way, no one touched lepers.  In Luke 7, Jesus forgave and restored a sinful woman, who was oppressed by those around her.  Jesus told her “your faith has saved you, go in peace” Luke 7:50NIV


As followers of Jesus what can we do as we follow Jesus and His example?  1 John 2:6NIV says, “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”  As children, many of us played “follow the leader”.  Let’s never stop following our leader.  Acts 10:38NIV says that Jesus went around doing good.  We can do that.


We can preach good news to the poor.

They’re all around us, even people with lots of money, can be poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).  Look around you-your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow students.  Ask God to open your eyes to their poverty.  A few years ago I got to know an elderly man across the street.  In time we became friends and he learned I was a minister.  He asked to be born again and baptized.  Later he told me “this is the moment I’ve been waiting for my entire life.”  It’s good news.


We can proclaim freedom for prisoners.

One night, years ago, I got a call from a friend that I knew was an alcoholic.  He was in the hospital and he told me he had been an alcoholic for many years and couldn’t stop drinking.  He asked me if God could help and I said yes.  I immediately took him a Bible and led him to Christ.  God freed him that night and he never took another drink.  I know that it doesn’t always work like that, but God has the power to free people from addictions of all kinds.  We can lead people to freedom.


We can provide recovery of sight for the blind.

Blindness is both physical and spiritual.  In 2 Corinthians 4:4NIV it says that Satan blinds the eyes of unbelievers so they can’t see the light of the Gospel.  We can shine our light into their darkness and help the blind to see.  John Newton, a former slave ship captain, wrote a song called Amazing Grace that said “I once was blind, but now I see.”  Do you know people who are blind?



We can release the oppressed.

The oppressed are those who suffer the consequences of someone else’s sin.  Do you know people who are abused, neglected, bullied, left out, lonely, lost?  You can, help free them from their oppression by simply loving and befriending them.  Every child in school can befriend someone who is lonely and left out-it will change their life.  Even during COVID, people are only a phone call away. 


One thing Jesus did that we can’t do is to atone for our sins.  Jesus was called, “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29NIV).  The Bible says that Jesus would save His people from their sins, which is the very thing that can change our lives forever.  We can follow Jesus and serve others as Jesus did.  Jesus said that He did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for others.  Let’s be followers of Jesus and serve others.

“…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16NIV


Read this book>>>


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A leading global mission to pray for the spheres of influence in all nations.  


Check our latest Proclaiming Pentecost video on zoom. 


On this page you will find latest and former prayer strategies for each mountain/domain/sphere 

Prayer Initiatives 

  1. Prayer mapping
  2. Prayer Walking
  3. Adopt a Suburb
  4. Praying for Government
  5. Prayer Triplets
  6. Prayer Calendar for the Spheres
  7. Prayer for USA and Neighbours
  8. Prayers for Australia and Asia Pacific
  9. Pentecost
  10. Coming soon to pray for Europe. 
  11. Check Endorsements
  12. Prayer Partners


The prayer focus is on the spheres/mountains of influence in all nations for: 



Church (Ecclesia) 

Immigrant Churches 

Houses of Prayers 




Law and Justice                                                                                                                   




Charity and Not for Profit Welfare 





Sport and Recreation 


Jesus Prays for All Believers 

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you have known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I may be in them.” 


God bless 

Lilian Schmid 

Prayer Strategist and Coordinator  

Sydney – Australia  


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Guest Post ~ Our Paralyzing Fear of Openness

The longer I have grown into my vision of missional-ecumenism the more I become aware of the paralyzing fear most of us have to real openness. Be honest, most of us prefer the status quo. This fear thwarts innovation and spontaneity. Most Christians, and maybe even most pastors, discourage exploring new roads into “the mind of Christ Jesus.” Keeping things the way they are is their goal. New roads automatically introduce insecurity. But “love casts out fear.”

The problem is that we have failed to experience the love of Jesus crucified in our inner being. We know all about the cross historically. We even debate theories of atonement vigorously. But too few know “Christ and him as crucified.” St. Paul knew him in his innermost being and lived out his trust in discipleship. 

The ecumenical movement has experienced the ebb and flow of the consequence of our primal fears. In the mid-twentieth century the tides of ecumenism were flowing in, especially after Vatican II. In the late 1960s there was a rising tide of global movements. But these movements failed to move a significant number of pastors and non-pastors alike. Today we have withdrawn on the local front and remain satisfied with our previous gains.

Something fresh is clearly needed. Citywide movements of unity are emerging but the high tides of the mid-century have receded into a flood of insecurity. My experience among Protestants reveals several concerns. We are trying so hard to repair our broken systems (denominations/para-church structures), or to advance our partisan political views, that we play down our unity. Or we seek to protect our churches from secularism and wave false flags rooted in fear. As a result we try harder and harder to “get along” without serious united prayer and the dialogue that we need to face our greatest challenges. 

My experience among Catholics is slightly different. While there are bishops who deeply work for ecumenism, many of whom I have had the privilege of knowing first-person, these are only a few among the 260 bishops in America. Some priests are involved in their area but most are overwhelmed by the work of their parish. Those who do love this work for unity received little training for the work and very few get personally involved. Most parishes have someone designated for this work but few do much more than hold a title. Everything needed on on the institutional side is prepared but few are compelled to spend time in this harvest field. On the local level there is little practical cooperation and scant personal dialogue going on between pastors, churches and laypeople.

The famous Yale theologian George Lindbeck addressed this several decades ago when he wrote: “The official facade can even be dangerous as a psychological device permitting a denomination to consider itself ecumenical, while it continues, undisturbed, in its self-centered and self-satisfied groove.”When I am asked what is the first thing we should do to restore the prayer of Jesus in John 17:21 to our lives and churches I answer, “We need to surrender our security seeking instincts and embrace the ecumenical principle of reciprocity.”

This movement is really a call to deep relationships, the kind of relationships that will always disturb the status quo. Dear Lord, please disturb us! Set us free from our fear of the other which profoundly hinders true unity.

Pax Christi,

JohnMy new book, Tear Down These Walls: Following Jesus Into Deeper Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2021) will be out on August 1. You can pre-order it for 40% off retail price ($23.00). This offer will not be the same after the book is released. You can order as many copies as you'd like at this great price bef. 



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It only takes a few pages (maybe only paragraphs) to determine whether this is a book you eagerly want to read or if this is a book you simply need to read.
Tear Down These Walls is wonderfully bothersome whether you are hungry for a grander, more glorious unity of the Church, or you know it is time to review and revise barriers and boundaries robbing you of the fullness of the Body of Christ.
John is issuing a call to all who believe-in/follow-after Jesus. A challenge to reimagine our Lord's yet-to-be-fulfilled prayer in John 17. To see “church” as a spiritual-relational community rather than an organizational entity. To recognize, and declare to a radically and rapidly changing culture, that "Christian" applies to everyone who has authentic faith in the One of God, even those with doctrinal or political differences. 
Our need to reimagine Christianity begins not with new methods nor with a new slant on our message but with a fresh experience and a culturally clear explanation of Christianity. Elevating Christ, Truth-incarnate, above text, theology, tradition - Christ, the hope of glory.
Brick-by-brick. Prayer-by-prayer. Relationship-by-relationship.
Phil Miglioratti

Here is how to pre-order the book from the publisher.

Use the code coupon: UNITY when you check out and your discount will be applied.

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Winning Souls

“Winning souls is done by living the Scriptures, not quoting them. Show love; don’t talk religion. Showing love reveals Me; talking religion exalts you.

“Peace is the foundation. Joy is the expression. Love is the gesture. They all come from Me. The world cannot provide them, only counterfeit them.

“People want to see Christianity lived, not just preached. Preaching is good, but it’s not all that’s needed. People in rebellion or ignorance don’t necessarily want to hear preaching. For them, the best sermon is a life lived in purity and humility, devoted to the Gospel by serving others.”
Proverbs 11:30 declares, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.
From our book Let’s Get Free: Rightly Dividing The Word of Truth. These are messages the Lord gave Barbara and me during our prayer times. They identify religious spirits which masquerade as Christianity but actually separate us from God by trapping us in legalism and tradition. This is something we all need to guard against. 

If you would like to have all these messages in one place for easy reference, you may request this book and I’ll be happy to mail it to you. For a listing of all our books, email me at

Blessings of love, peace and joy,

Randy Walter
Shiloh Ministries
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9570815301?profile=originalA Tribute to Featured Contributor Dave Nickeson


Why Reimagine Discipleship?9570816474?profile=original

The definition of discipling within most congregational settings has been:

1) A new member's class called "Discipleship" with a syllabus having blanks to fill in (but practicing not part of the curriculum)

2) A service where discipleship is mentioned, even quoted as being commanded by Jesus (but not discussed or encouraged)

3) A time of honoring the pastors, deacons, attendees, graduates, and funding (but not discipleship)

4) All those of your headlined question know the correct answer (but do not practice discipleship)

Discipleship by definition is relational, one helping another in areas of the physical AND spiritual life. Jesus exampled this when He met the food and health needs of those who gathered around Him. When Nicodemus spoke with Jesus and Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, the spiritual life was the topic of conversation; but these were casual relationships. The training of the twelve was the main focus of Jesus, from calling them to sending them out, from them watching Him pray to Him asking them to pray with Him; all He did with them was culminated in the command of Matt 28:19 "Go make disciples." If I may put words in Jesus' mouth, "As I have done with you, go and do."

I recently asked a man my age (68) what he knew about discipleship. He replied correctly: "It is a command of Jesus, what every Christian is commanded to do." When I asked him who he is discipling, he looked at me like of a deer caught in headlights. The obvious answer was "no one" and, as we've been meeting together, I've discovered he does not focus on making disciples but on peripheral items.

There are items of importance to those of your headlined question, their positions demand attention; but what is important to our Father as expressed through Jesus, are not those same things. Jesus replaced Himself with His disciples; He didn't call a "brother" to take over while He was away, He didn't beg for a substitute - He left His disciples in charge. Doing the same in today's congregational environment is done by few.

"Re-imagining Discipleship" will cost something. If I am unwilling to trust Jesus with those I've been training, then the price I've paid has already left me wanting.


Re-imagine Discipleship: A Pandemic-Sized Opportunity

Churches are closed! Groups limited to no more than 10! What are we to do?

This morning I gathered with a group of six (including myself). We talked about this very thing. When Church doors close, as they have during this emergency, what are the parishioners to do?
1) Some will put their Bibles on the shelf and turn to watch Netflix/Pureflix/Disney+.
2) Some will watch pod-casts and other visual materials acting like shut-ins.
3) Some will worry and say, "I don't want to catch this plague!"

4) Some will realize their Churches are irrelevant.
5) Some will realize a great opportunity to reach out in small groups and begin to teach and train those within their sphere of influence to be awake and prepared for such emergencies.

I want to be in group 5.

This morning as we met, we had a lesson on how to have a quiet-time. I say "we" because all participated in the lesson. The passage we went through for our quiet-time was Jesus' time of prayer in the olive press (Matt 26:36-46). What stood out to them was telling regarding our situation today:
1) Jesus returned to check on those He wanted with Him because those relationships were important to Him.
2) Jesus' disciples are tired/lazy/unmotivated.
3) Jesus wants His disciples to be awake and prepared.

At the end of the lesson, we broke into groups of three and practiced what we had just learned. Afterwards, I asked of the entire group, "What stood out as we went through and then practiced what we learned?" There were several things:
1) The prayer time (we prayed for the application of the quiet-time of the person on our left) was much more personal.
2) Having been told the lesson, going through the lesson, and then practicing the lesson makes individuals more secure at accomplishing and passing on the lesson.
3) How one relates to personal quiet-times, man-to-man, small group Bible study, and even larger groups is different.

After this discussion, I asked a final question: "Do you believe yourself prepared to share this same lesson in your own homes with another small group?" The answers were a resounding "YES!" I sent these small group leaders off with the admonition as spoken by one of those as we practiced the quiet-time lesson: "Since Jesus has served me, I am willing to go and serve others. (John 13:6-9)"

Serve others by gathering in small groups, passing on the basics of how to maintain a relationship with Jesus. Start with how to have a quiet-time, send them out to meet with others in small groups, and see what it looks like to re-imagine discipleship.

How To Turn The World Right-Side-Up

The crisis at the heart of the church is that we talk about making disciples, but we seldom do it.

 9570816274?profile=originalMaking disciples is not just for pastors, ministers, or super Christians. Making disciples is the responsibility, privilege and great joy intended for every Christ-follower within the body of Christ.

The only hope for taking Jesus' message to all people is in believers' multiplying their labors by training disciples to continue and expand the work. If we are going to see believers around the world reflect Jesus' values, we need to get back to serious biblical discipleship.

What is your plan for discipleship in 2011? Will you commit to discipling just one person in 2011?

May God grant that we obey His mandate to make disciples.

My discipling plan is to engage with those in my sphere of influence, telling those who don't know Jesus about Him, living the life of Jesus before those I tell and those disinterested, and meeting with those who want to know more. I currently meet with 8 guys, two of whom are meeting with others and one who has recently met a guy who works within his area who is wanting to know more.


What Matters Most in Disciple-Making?

Our Disciple Making Sphere (DMS) will be a working group. We pray that hearts & heads will join before God as peers to identify key issues, next steps, and strategic partnerships that help develop hundreds of thousands of reproducing disciples across our desperately needy nation. We will work together to "make" disciples who pray, care, and share God's deep love with others through the light of their lives (Matthew 5:16). My MAC-servant role is to coordinate & enable that to happen, by God's grace. Your prayers are welcome.
Key question 1) Since Jesus is our model of and for discipleship and ministry, how does what mainstream Christianity label as discipleship and ministry express what Jesus modeled in regard to discipleship and ministry?</p> <p>Key question 2) Since Jesus is our model of and for discipleship and ministry, what would be a simplistic means of getting back to what Jesus modeled as discipleship and ministry?</p> <p>Key question 3 has two parts) Who is it you are discipling and ministering to that reveals what Jesus modeled as discipleship and ministry? As a member of the Mission America Coalition (MAC) leadership team, what are you doing in regard to discipleship that follows what Jesus modeled so we who are not on the MAC leadership team can "come and see" how discipleship is done?</p> </div> </div> </blockquote>" style="margin: 0px 35px 0.7em 0px; padding: 0px; line-height: inherit; font-size: 1em; text-overflow: ellipsis; overflow: hidden;">

Key question 1) Since Jesus is our model of and for discipleship and ministry, how does what mainstream Christianity label as discipleship and ministry express what Jesus modeled in regard to discipleship and ministry?

Key question 2) Since Jesus is our model of and for discipleship and ministry, what would be a simplistic means of getting back to what Jesus modeled as discipleship and ministry?

Key question 3 has two parts) Who is it you are discipling and ministering to that reveals what Jesus modeled as discipleship and ministry? As a member of the Mission America Coalition (MAC) leadership team, what are you doing in regard to discipleship that follows what Jesus modeled so we who are not on the MAC leadership team can "come and see" how discipleship is done?

The Practice of Discipleship

As I have been teaching and leading Bible study and discipling one-on-one, I have found that Jesus followers find it difficult to talk with each other about their relationship with Jesus. Wanting to reverse this, I made changes in the way the Tuesday Night Teachings (TNT) Bible study group is led.

Several years ago I was leading a study in the Gospel of John, and was really excited about what I was learning. As I taught, the thought came to allow the TNT attendees to make personal discoveries on their own instead of me giving them what I had discovered. So I appointed two or three smaller groups giving them questions to answer that might lead to personal discovery. I asked the guys I was meeting one-on-one with to facilitate these small group discussions answering the questions I had provided. After they had spent time in discussion I called the groups back together to discuss their findings and did the closing discussion on something I had found as the result of my own personal study.

One day, as my wife and I were discussing TNT, I asked, "Why am I doing all the talking? Why should I stand in front of the group?" Through that discussion, it was determined one of the guys I was meeting with would share the responsibilities with me.

Although this did provide more personal discovery with those I was meeting with, I found others in the group still reluctant to talk with each other about their relationship with Jesus - even though they are believers. Wanting to solve this dilemma, I instituted what I call Discipleship Tuesday.

Discipleship Tuesday is held once a month and is planned like this: First, two lessons, lasting 30 minutes, i.e. "How to have a Quiet-Time" and "Overview of Prayer", are taught simultaneously in different parts of the room. Second, the individuals are divided into one-on-one groups (gals with gals, guys with guys) and spend 20 minutes each discussing, facilitating and teaching the lessons to each other. Third, the one-on-one pairs come back together as one large group to discuss the lesson, discuss the processes of the evening in regard to discipleship, and final prayer.

The purpose is to encourage the attendees to be more comfortable in their talking with each other about spiritual things. The problems I have seen are: 1) the one-on-one pairs are repeating what was talked about and not being creative in their discussion, 2) there is no intentional relationship building going on, 3) there is no guarantee that the attendees discuss with each other outside of TNT what they have learned, and 4) there is no guarantee the attendees will pass on to those in their spheres of influence (outside of TNT) what they are learning.

Recently I had another thought in regard to encouraging discussing spiritual things with those attending TNT. The result of that thought brought these changes:  During our regular TNT meetings, we divide into two groups which we try to keep the same so as to encourage intentional relationship building. Each group is studying the same material and is facilitated by a team leader who has discussed the material at the leadership Sunday Night Study (SNS) held in my home; the time given is about an hour. After this, we bring two people from each group, including a leader from the SNS, into a quad group; gals are included within these quads. These meet for 15 minutes to discuss the study and their take home or application. We then come back into one large group for prayer from the lesson and life.

The purpose of the quads is to enable intentional relationship building, yet a problem with this is that it cannot be easily accomplished in the 15 minutes allotted. A second purpose is to allow for greater accountability among these four, yet a problem is that the four may not be the same the next week. My desire is that both these purposes would happen outside of TNT, but a problem is that there is no guarantee the attendees will discuss what they've learned outside of this semi-controlled learning environment.

A Discipleship Practicum Retreat

Recently, 85 men and women from 7 military bases attended a Discipleship Practicum Retreat. There was no main speaker, there was no formal band, and there was no comedian to hype up the crowd before we got started. There was, however, a Testimony Scavenger Hunt, four workshops, a fun night and a close-out session.

Friday night we held a Testimony Scavenger Hunt where we practiced giving our Jesus stories to each other. Everyone was given a sheet of paper with twenty categories, being instructed to find one person for each category, tell them your Jesus Story, and have them tell you theirs.

Saturday we held four workshops, each being facilitated by area Navigator Staff and co-facilitated by someone they were discipling/training. The purpose for this was so the attendees of the retreat would see discipleship in action.

The plan for each workshop was to have a topic presented to, an illustration explained to, and information practiced among workshop attendees. Next, each attendee was paired with one from another workshop to share with each other what had just been passed on. The purpose of this was to have each attendee practice "discipling" another as they shared what had just been learned.

Saturday night was fun night, where skits, music, and testimonies were presented to the group by members of the seven military bases. The testimonies were presented by those of specific categories: a new believer told how they had come to Jesus, a growing believer told how they were being discipled, one who is discipling others told how they came into relationship with the one being discipled, and a mature disciple-maker told how to make disciple-makers.

Sunday morning we talked about the processes of the weekend: seeing disciples being trained, learning information to pass on, and practicing to pass on to another what had been learned. We told the attendees that the intention is not to sit on what they were taught nor to stuff their notes on a bureau drawer, but to ask God for one with whom they can do as they learned during the weekend.

The theme for the weekend was Philemon 1:6"I pray you are active in sharing your faith so that you may have a full understanding of every good things we have in Christ." That is my prayer for each one who came to our weekend Discipleship Practicum Retreat.


Telling Your Jesus Story

Recently I asked a man and his wife, "What is your Jesus story?"

The husband answered, "What?"

I asked, "How did you come into relationship with Jesus?"

As he looked at his wife, she said, "He asked you."

He stuttered through a few "Ah, um, well, I, uh ..." and then said, "I've always been in church."

When I asked the wife, she answered, "I was nine years old, and a mean old aunt took me to Sunday School."

I thought to myself, "Ah, the beginning of a good Jesus story."

She continued, "The next week I was baptized."

Arggggg! How can you have a Jesus story and not mention Jesus? Is mentioning Jesus "tabu" even in Christian circles? What are they teaching in church?

After this, I was meeting with a friend talking about how he came to know Jesus. His answer to me was the same as above: "I was brought up in the church." His story was different in that he said, "If my parents didn't take me, I went with my grandma." I pressed a bit further and found he did have a Jesus story, but didn't know how to explain it.

As I was talking with him, I formulated the following Jesus Story Pattern (JSP) for writing out or talking through a Jesus story.

1. Before - What your life was like before you came to know Jesus? There are two sub-parts: a) Life - How did you grow up? Were you part of a church or not? b) Problem - What was it that convinced you to seek after God? The problem is not to be detailed, but generalized.

2. How - It is in this section that you mention Jesus. How did you come to know Jesus? There are three sub-parts: a) Talked to - How did you hear about the need for Jesus? Someone most likely "talked to" you about your need for Jesus. b) Believed/acted on - How did you respond to what was said? What did you do as you thought through what you heard about Jesus? and c) Prayed - This is where you talked to Jesus about your condition and your need of Him.

3. After - How have things gone since? This has two sub-parts: a) Life - What happened immediately after? Are things going good or bad? What is it you are certain of since you gave Jesus His rightful place in your life? and b) Verse - Is there a verse which had or has significance for you after you started following Jesus?

A few days later I was talking with a gal who had visited the Lighthouse Airman Center on Eglin. As I introduced myself and talked about the Center, she asked if I was a Chaplain. I said, "No, but if you need to talk, you can talk with me; and if you'd rather talk with a Chaplain, I can get you in touch with one."

She wasn't disappointed, but seemed rather excited. "I'd really like to know about how to become a Chaplain. I've always wanted to be a Chaplain. Members of my family are preachers and evangelists, and I thought I'd like to become a Chaplain."

"So, are you a Christian?" I asked.

"Yes." She was emphatic.

I asked, "How did you come to know Jesus? Tell me your Jesus story."

"Um, I don't think I have one. How would I know?"

As I talked with her, asking questions of her background, it came clear to me that she did indeed have a Jesus story; she just didn't know to express it and hadn't been taught about the importance of her story about Jesus. As we talked, I wrote the above JSP on a napkin talking about each part so she could clearly know and be able to express to others how she had come to know Jesus.

Although I will talk to lots of people about this JSP, my plan is to present it to our Tuesday Bible study group during the September Discipleship Tuesday. My prayer is that as they insert their story into the JSP, they will more clearly know their own story, be better able to tell their story to others and have a tool to pass on to their disciples.



Recent Encouragement

I was recently encouraged by comments from Kyle, whom I'm discipling. While Kyle was in an overseas military location, he met Christian, whom I had spent time with one-on-one several years before meeting Kyle. As they talked, Christian said, "I've followed what Dave suggested and its made a difference in how I've lived for Jesus." It gives me no greater joy than to know my children are walking with Jesus. (3 John 1:4)


I've heard somewhere (and it may have been Professor Howard Hendricks) that success is when your disciple does for someone else what you did for them.


This is not too difficult. Promote Jesus and His discipleship model. First, He went and found a few men (Matt 4:18-19). Next, He invited them to seek Him ("Follow Me."). Then He told them the process and the result ("I will make you fishers of men.").

The model of Jesus is not in the large group context. True, He had the 5000 meeting, the 4000 meeting, the 70 meeting, and He event went to synagogue; but each of these events was designed to train those few He would leave as His witnesses (Acts 1:8). The model of Jesus is find a few and help them to get to know Him.

So, every one of us should be doing just this: staying in the Word and helping others to stay in the Word. Each one should be striving to know Jesus and helping other to do the same. As we do, we will pass on what we are doing to those we find; and they will go and do the same (2Tim 2:2).


I have read many books on discipleship (Lost Art of Disicple Making - Eims, Disciples are Made not Born - Henrichsen, Personal Disciplemaking - Adsit, The Great Ommission - Willard, T4T - Smith and Kai, Discipleshift - Putnam, and others) wanting to learn more about how to make disciples. I've listened to talks by Howard Hendricks, Skip Gray, Gene Warr, etc., ( and Ray Vander Laan ( wanting to learn more from others as they've practiced discipleship. I've been devouring material on discipleship wanting to know more about how discipleship is accomplished. What I have discovered is that there is no better classroom than to actually disciple.

The materials I use: 1) the Navigators’ Lessons of Assurance/Christian Living, a thirteen lesson book that gets the disciple directly connected with the Bible and Jesus, 2) illustrations that demonstrate a point, 3) the Jesus Story Pattern (an easy pattern for learning/telling a testimony), and 4) a study method I have put together called the “6 Cs of Bible Study” which gets a disciple directly connected with Jesus.



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employing a “Prohibition Era” strategy will never eliminate abortions.

But how much decline could be seen if the 380,000 Christian congregations each mobilized as a #PrayerCareShare movement?

•Prayer~ for people by name and need.
•Care ~ for practical and financial needs.
•Share ~ the invitation of the Gospel to be part God’s compassion community.

Could we rescue tens of thousands unborn babies?
Hundreds of thousands?

This is not oversimplification if we put as much trust in the potential of the acts of the Holy Spirit filled Church as we do the power of legislation.

Even the most restrictive law will never eliminate abortion. That should be no surprise, but that should also not be our only hope.

Those who are crying out, advocating for the unborn, should do so because they have been bestowed a divine calling.

But everyone has a calling to express God’s love with personalized prayer, hands-on care, while looking for Spirit-prompted-opportunities to share life transforming good news.

Are we preaching-to-the-choir but not equipping them to be advocates for life with those they live, work, play with?

Has our commitment to legislation made us partner with the wrong crowd? Have political alliances compromised our witness?

Does a culture that worships tolerance perceive our message as merely a thirst to control (tell women what they are not

permitted to do) rather than as our passion to advocate for not-yet-born lives (by providing safe, support-based alternatives to terminating pregnancy)?

Has our commitment to this righteous cause become infected by a spirit of self-righteousness?

Are we fooled into believing our nation can be freed from sin if we create legislative and judicial edicts forbidding such action?

Will we remember that the weapons of our warfare include love expressed through kindness, grace and forgivenes, sacrifice and generosity, hospitality; also speaking truth in love. Never letting evil defeat us, but defeating evil with good.

May God revive the Church as we choose the life of loving and committing ourselves and our churches to God.

“Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your (not yet born) descendants might live!
You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him.
This is the key to your life.”               Deuteronomy 30:19-20

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From my archives...

Preacher, Are You a Descendant of a Greek Orator or Hebrew Prophet?

Prophets, not Orators

by A.W.Tozer

And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, that I may plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, “You are My people.”

Isaiah 51:16

The Christian minister, as someone has pointed out, is a descendant not of the Greek orator but of the Hebrew prophet.

The differences between the orator and the prophet are many and radical, the chief being that the orator speaks for himself while the prophet speaks for God. The orator originates his message and is responsible to himself for its content. The prophet originates nothing but delivers the message he has received from God who alone is responsible for it, the prophet being responsible to God for its delivery only. The prophet must hear the message clearly and deliver it faithfully, and that is indeed a grave responsibility; but it is to God alone, not to men.

From “God Tells the Man Who Cares”, 85.

“Lord, I’m reminded this morning of the thought from the late seminary chaplain Richard Seume: ‘When your people sit in front of you on Sunday morning, they’re not interested in hearing another man tell them how to live their lives; they’ve come to hear a word from God.’ May that be my prophetic perspective this week. Amen.”

The Glory of God in New England

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this might be a good  idea to adapt and implement in churches and ministries

From Robert Feder:

In the latest sign of the times, Chicago’s top-rated broadcast news operation soon will hire a reporter to cover race and culture as a full-time beat.

WLS-Channel 7 is one of eight ABC-owned stations to post job openings for the new position.

Each journalist must be a passionate storyteller, brilliant multi-platform content creator, effective communicator and proven collaborator,” according to the listing. “The journalists will be part of the editorial decision-making process as it relates to story assignments, sourcing subjects featured in stories and developing community relationships to expand the diversity of voices included in our storytelling.

The reporter also will be required to “lead and facilitate diversity and editorial discussions” in the newsroom.

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My Journey into Prayer Evangelism

My Journey into Prayer Evangelism

By Phil Miglioratti

I’m grateful I was introduced to prayer evangelism as a process, not a program; a strategy rather than a series of events. At some point in the 1990s, prayer and evangelism were reintroduced to one another and became the “prayer evangelism movement,” with notable messengers and a myriad of new ministries. God only knows every tributary that flowed together to form a great river of renewal and a return to “Book-of-Acts basics” by the end of the decade. But certainly the following must be included:

  • For decades, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Operation Andrew has used Look Around, Look Up, Look Out, Look Forward, Look After as a simple plan to encourage Christians to pray for, build bridges to, and invite lost persons to a citywide crusade and then disciple them.
  • John Stott introduced the vision of “The whole Church, taking the whole gospel to the whole world,” at the First International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1974. It became a banner for integrating prayer with holistic ministry as essential components of evangelism.
  • Several denominational leaders helped lead the emerging prayer evangelism movement in the late 1980s and early ’90s, including Lon Allison and Dallas Anderson of the Evangelical Covenant Church and Alvin VanderGriend of the Christian Reformed Church.
  • In 1992 the Mission America Coalition (U.S. Lausanne Committee) devoted a year to seeking God’s vision to accelerate evangelism in the United States. Led by Paul Cedar, and drawing from a wide spectrum of denominations and ministry organizations, the coalition quickly identified God’s Spirit at work in an emerging prayer movement and in citywide collaborations of holistic evangelism.

As God was setting the stage of the prayer evangelism movement, He was rearranging my perspectives as well. Like so many pastors and Christian leaders, I was being schooled in what was becoming a new prayer-care-share lifestyle paradigm.

  • David Bryant’s concerts of prayer and Bill Bright’s prayer and fasting conferences encouraged the Body of Christ to pray for “John 17 unity” with Christians from other denominations.
  • International Renewal Ministries, led by Joe Aldrich, introduced a new style of corporate prayer to communities across the United States. Pastors and leaders spent three to four days in Spirit-led, Scripture-fed praying. This “no agenda, no preaching” approach resulted in cleansed hearts, relationships forged by the Spirit, and a vision for increased collaboration.
  • In God’s perfect timing, the technology explosion brought email and Internet ministries, making it possible for new ideas like the National Pastors’ Prayer Network to communicate instantaneously with pastors’ prayer groups across the country. New technology also gave birth to the Mapping Center for Evangelism, enabling outward focused, neighborhood-based prayer to flourish. Transformation videos produced by George Otis revealed God’s heart to transform communities.
  • March For Jesus brought millions of Christ-followers out of their seats and into the streets, demonstrating the power of combining people, prayer, and praise in presence-based proclamation.
  • Steve Hawthorne’s Seek God for the City prayer guide equipped Christians to pray for lost persons and nations with hope-filled, Scripture-based prayers.
  • Francis Frangipane crossed the country, challenging pastors to meet together to pray for their cities.
  • Evelyn Christenson asked “What Happens When Women Pray?” and encouraged the formation of prayer triplets to pray specifically for unbelievers.
  • Bill Bright called us to prayer and fasting.  The call to “pray for, care for, and share the gospel with every man, women, and child in our nation by year end 2000” swept many of us into the prayer evangelism movement.
  • Radio station KTIS in Minneapolis introduced many to this lifestyle via several radio marathons devoted to starting neighborhood lighthouses of prayer.
  • For more than a decade, in their monthly Lighthouse Report on radio stations across the country, Campus Crusade (now Cru) has been broadcasting stories of people living the prayer-care-share lifestyle.
  • H.O.P.E. ministries, led by Alvin VanderGriend, produced resources to serve lighthouses.
  • Ed Silvoso’s books, That None Should Perish (1998) and Prayer Evangelism (2000), along with Pray! magazine’s articles by various authors, gave credibility and definition to the prayer evangelism movement.
  • The first City Impact Roundtable in 1988, facilitated by Glenn Barth and Jarvis Ward of Mission America Coalition, convened 46 leaders from 28 cities, sharing best practices on prayer, community development, and outreach.

Phil Miglioratti is COO of Mission America Coalition.

WIth thanks to theChurch Prayer Leaders Network

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