It might not be the right season to unleash a new initiative that requires in-person worship and activities, but it may be the best time to unleash an initiative that asks people to pray.
 
If we face reality (never fun) many of our churches were underperforming before COVID-19 hit. Yes, since we began the Wildly Important Goal initiative as a conference we have measured growth, especially churches that began a New Faith Community, but my guess is few pastors are leading a church that is where they want their church to be.
 
Thom Rainer, who has consulted with churches of every denomination for 30 years writes this: "I have yet to see a sustained church revitalization that was not undergirded by a powerful movement of prayer."
  • It is categorical
  • It is imperative
  • It is a priority
"We have seen churches turn around for a brief season with a new methodology or a new emphasis…but we have yet to see a sustained church revitalization that was not undergirded by a powerful movement of prayer."
 
Pray
 
Be specific …. share the vision, unite people around a request to reach new people, to transform our community, to bless the church and use it to bless the world, even name specific initiatives or programs, especially new ones.
Involve groups
Involve your leadership team
Involve your staff and another clergy
Involve your church

Make prayer an important part of every worship, gathering, and teaching experience online or in-person (I hope if you meet in person, you are social distancing).
  • teach prayer
  • write out prayers for people to pray
  • set times for corporate prayer on a regular basis
  • model what a prayer life looks like for your church family
  • connect people to God, to each other, to the church's vision, and to you through prayer
  • celebrate answered prayer
There are many things we might do as churches and church leaders in this season, but there are no limitations on prayer. If we choose to build a church that is stronger spiritually and choose to invite God to answer the prayers of the church, there are no limitations.

We can see this strange season as one just to survive, and there is something to be said about that, or we can see this as one where we can revitalize our churches.  A congregation united in prayer for what’s next is the most important part of that revitalization, renewal, and restart.  If every person connected with a church is praying about the same thing together, there is no telling what a new future can materialize.  Again, the point is not just leading people in prayer, it is getting them to pray consistently as a member of the team we call church.

James 4:2 “You have not because you ask not!”

Rev. Mike Ramsdell, Executive Director
Center for Evangelism, Mission & Church Growth