January 27, 2015

How Should a Church Planter Lead His First Ever Prayer Meeting?

There are 10 people in your living room. They’ve come to a prayer meeting about a potential church plant in the area. Now, they have come to pray, but they’ve also come to suss you out. They want to know what you’re about, what your plans are, what the vision is, and on that basis work out whether or not to get involved. The truth is, you invited them to pray, but you also want to suss them out: Why are they here? What do they believe? Where have they come from?

So how do you use that first prayer meeting? Where do you start? What do you want to be crystal clear on? Where do you set the bar? This will set the tone for every other meeting. If the first step is only one degree off course, who knows where we’ll have wandered in 10 years.

When a group first gathered to pray in Gracemount at the end of last year, these are the three things that I set before the group sat in our living room. Like the three legs of a stool, lose just one of them, and everything will hit the floor.

  • What is the Gospel?

“God saves sinners. GOD - the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son and Spirit; three Persons working together in sovereign wisdom, power and love to achieve the salvation of a chosen people, the Father electing, the Son fulfilling the Father’s will by redeeming, the Spirit executing the purpose of the Father and Son by renewing. SAVES - does everything, first to last, that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in glory; plans, achieves and communicates redemption, calls and keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies. SINNERS - men as God finds them, guilty, vile, helpless, powerless, unable to lift a finger to do God’s will or better their spiritual lot” (J.I Packer, Introductory Essay to John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ, 6).

I need the GOSPEL. You need the GOSPEL. Gracemount needs the GOSPEL.

The GOSPEL is what non-Christians in Gracemount need to hear to be saved by Jesus (Matthew 28:18–20; Romans 10:14–15). The GOSPEL is what Christians in Gracemount need to hear to grow as disciples of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1–11; Titus 2:11–14).

Please pray. . . .

[1] that everyone in Gracemount would have the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel.

[2] that the gospel would save sinners and make disciples in Gracemount.

[3] that the gospel would bring disciples to maturity in Christ in Gracemount.

  • What is the Church?

“The church should be regarded as important to Christians because of its importance to Christ. Christ founded the church (Matt.16:18), purchased it with his blood (Acts 20:28), and intimately identifies with it (Acts 9:4). The church is the body of Christ (1 Cor.12:12-27; Eph.1:23; 4:12; 5:23-32; Col.1:18,24; 3:15), the dwelling place of his Spirit (Rom.8:9,11,16; 1 Cor.3:16-17; 6:11,15-17; Eph.2:18,22; 4:4), and the chief instrument for glorifying God in the world. Finally, the church is God’s instrument for bringing both the gospel to the nations and a great host of redeemed humanity to himself (Rev.5:9). . . . The Church is the body of people called by God’s grace through faith in Christ to glorify him together by serving him in the world” (Mark Dever, A Theology for the Church, 768, 767).

If Gracemount needs the GOSPEL, then Gracemount needs the CHURCH.

The CHURCH is created by the GOSPEL. The CHURCH has been commissioned to proclaim the GOSPEL. And the church is a witness to the GOSPEL.

Please pray towards a church that. . . .

[1] is committed to obeying the Great Commandments—to love God and neighbour—and the Great Commission: to make mature disciples.

[2] is marked by the right preaching of the Word of God and the right administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

[3] is led, fed, pastored and protected by godly elders, committed to discipleship & discipline.

  • What is Gracemount?

“Contextualisation…is giving people the Bible’s answers, which they may not want to hear, to questions about life that people in their particular time and place are asking, in language and forms they can comprehend, and through appeals and arguments with force they can feel, even if they reject them. Sound contextualisation means translating and adapting the communication and ministry of the gospel to a particular culture without compromising the essence and particulars of the gospel itself” (Tim Keller, Centre Church, 89).

If Gracemount needs the GOSPEL, and Gracemount needs the CHURCH, then the church needs to be in Gracemount and understand GRACEMOUNT.

We pray not only for a church in Gracemount, but a church that is from Gracemount, and a church that is for Gracemount.

Please pray. . . .

[1] that just as the Corinthians could be addressed as ‘The church of God in Corinth,’ that we could be addressed as ‘The church of God in Gracemount,’ because we’re made up of people who live their lives and have made their homes there.

[2] for a deep understanding of Gracemount and good relationships within the community that would aid clarity and persuasiveness when presenting the gospel.

[3] that when we ‘do church’ it would be understandable to the outsider, to the point that they exclaim, ‘God is really among you.’

  • Andy Prime

    Andy Prime is pastor of Gracemount Community Church in Gracemount, Edinburgh. He's married to Sarah and they have a son named Reuben.

    Read All by Andy Prime ›

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