Yesterday Rand linked to a blog post from Ed Stetzer where Ed noted what pastors believe to be the most important ministries of their churches. Ed’s findings weren’t groundbreaking — children’s ministry, evangelism, Sunday School are considered the most important. And there’s no doubt that those things are important to expanding God’s kingdom.
But as I read the findings, I felt years of teaching well up inside me. Is it possible that we have things upside down?
Years of Sunday School teachers and numerous sermons have taught me that prayer lays the groundwork for all ministry. If that’s true, then why do only 5 percent of the pastors surveyed list prayer groups and ministries as the most ministry in their churches? Through prayer, we learn the heart of God and how He wants us to follow Him in expanding His kingdom. Prayer provides the conduit of God’s strength that magnifies all ministry.
Now I’m not suggesting Baptists need to stop all these other things to do prayer. That would be ridiculous. For years, Baptists have had powerful outreach efforts, evangelism intiatives and children’s ministries. Many people have come to know the Lord through these ministries. Lives have been changed. I just wonder how much more effective these efforts would have been had they been thoroughly undergirded by prayer. Is it too much to think the results would have gone from wonderful to amazing?
Is it too much to think my personal efforts to minister to others would be more effective if I prayed more faithfully?
What do you think? Since Rand posted the link, this has gotten under my skin a bit. In the next few days, I want to dwell here for a while. Next, we’ll talk about what I think an effective prayer ministry might look like. I’m by no means an expert, but I am one who is willing to think out loud and listen to the perspectives of others.