Into the Fray: Praying for Planters

Into the Fray: Praying for Planters
Then Jesus told his disciples...that they should always pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1)

While thoughtful plans and strategies are necessary, if God is not ultimately at work through them, they will produce little lasting fruit. This is why we are thankful for the thousands who pray for leaders working to establish new churches in diverse cities. We are committed to prayer, knowing that while some plant and others water, it is ultimately God who gives the growth (1 Cor. 3:7). Through prayer, we look to God to accomplish what only he can.

One of the most important ways you can support church planting leaders is by consistently praying for them. Below we've put together a handful of ways to pray for planters, based on the season of their churches:

Pre-Launch Season

This is a season of typically 6-12 months, when church planting leaders are working to more deeply understand their local context, form new relationships with local individuals and organizations, and build up a core group who believes in and participates in the vision for a new church. During this time, planters are also hard at work casting vision with donors and partner investors to help raise the resources needed to get started.

  • Pray for God's leading and blessing as planters form new relationships within their community.
  • Pray for planters' spiritual encouragement and renewal - that their work would flow out of a vibrant and growing relationship with Christ.
  • Pray for energy and endurance within a season where there are many demands on their time and energy, as they work to gather a core team and build momentum locally while also developing partnerships.
  • Pray for God's guidance and direction in connections with potential partners. Pray for the Lord's provision of resources that are needed (financial, people, strategic, etc.) for their new church to thrive in the long haul.
Prayer gathering for Greater Miami project (anticipated launch 2021)

Post-Launch Season: Gaining Momentum

This is the "growing up" season of a new church – typically around 3-5 years in the U.S. and sometimes longer in other contexts. During this time, it is common for church planting leaders to begin to establish organizational culture, to engage in one or more venue searches, to start to meet local community needs, to train volunteers and hire staff, and to sharpen their communication and application of the Christian gospel for their context.

  • Pray for wisdom in stewarding time and energy well as planters face many demands during the early days of the life of their church.
  • Pray that amidst the many demands of ministry, planters wouldn't neglect the health of their own soul, and would establish healthy patterns of work and rest that would help them lead well for the long haul.
  • Pray for the practical: a place to gather on Sundays, good relationships with other local organizational and government leaders, and for the right people at the right time to fill critical ministry roles.
  • Pray for effectiveness: that there would be a growing group of people who find and receive the good news about Jesus, who begin to believe and are changed.
  • Pray for God's help and direction as they seek to reach new people in their communities who aren't yet connected to a church. Pray for God's work in overcoming any barriers in this process.
  • Pray that volunteers and staff would be raised up who can lead effectively alongside the church planters.
Prayer gathering at Mission City Church (est. 2018; Santa Barbara, CA)

Season of Adding Local Leaders

While the previous two seasons tend to be more well-known and talked-about in church planting circles, the following seasons are critical for a church to become established over the long term. Overlapping with the season of gaining momentum, this third season requires prayerful discernment and often additional training to establish board-level local leaders who have the spiritual character, emotional maturity, and organizational competency to provide humble leadership for the church moving forward (e.g. 1 Tim. 3).

  • Pray for clear direction and unity among leadership as the church continues to build momentum and look toward the future.
  • Pray that God would grant church planting leaders freedom from finding their identity in their performance and ministry success. Pray that they would instead find rest in their first identity as children of God.
  • Pray for wisdom for decisions about adding local leaders to the leadership team. Pray for guidance in the process of making these decisions and that new leaders would be equipped to lead well.
  • Pray for God's work through the church in developing leaders with a profound trust in Jesus and his work, a spirit to serve the community at large, a commitment to radical generosity, and a winsome emphasis on drawing others into belief.
  • Pray for guidance in developing systems that support the long-term health of the church.
Prayer time at The Gathering Harlem (est. 2017)

Season of Multiplication: Churches Planting Churches

Finally, one of the clearest signs of a new church moving from merely launching to becoming truly established is when it gives significantly – time, talent, and finances – toward the work of starting other new churches.

  • Pray for growth within the church plant. Ask for continued spiritual and numerical growth for the church plant into the future, and for growing wisdom for its leaders.
  • Pray for growth beyond the church plant. Pray that God would supply what is necessary to invest radically in spiritual and numerical growth outside of the local congregation through the planting of new churches.
  • Pray that the planters' ministry would flow out of vibrant fellowship with Jesus and continued deepening in their relationship with him.
  • Pray for wisdom and vision about how to best invest their church's time, talent, and finances in church planting, mission work, mercy ministries, and biblical justice initiatives.
  • Pray for strength and endurance to continue serving faithfully, and that the Lord would bring about fruit through their efforts.
Church planter Jordan Rice (Renaissance, NYC) praying for new planter Russel Radar (Reunion NYC). Renaissance Church was planted in Harlem in 2014 and is now supporting Russel & Katie Radar as they establish a new church for Manhattan.

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Jamie Larson