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NATIONAL  PASTORS’  PRAYER  NETWORK   -  US

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#031   THE LIGHT-HOUSE VISION:

Hope for the New Millennium      by Paul Dozeman

 

The Light-House Vision: Hope for the New Millennium

*The Beginning of the Vision

Yes there is a movement happening in our country, and it is called the

Light-House Movement. Some visionaries are saying, “The Light-House Movement

will be like the Sunday School movement. It will change the church forever.”

This movement is far too big for any human to create, direct, or control! It

is bigger that egos, logos, and five-year plans. It truly is a God-driven

thing. God is moving and leading revival. Imagine more than 80 denominations

and almost 300 Christian ministries sharing this common goal:

That by year-end 2000 every man, woman, and young child in our country will be prayed for and the gospel of Jesus will be presented to them.

Year-end 2000 is not far away. Will it happen? Will there be 3 million Light-Houses praying for non-Christians? Will there be 6 million Light-Houses? Or even more?

How will this goal be accomplished? Will the church pray for every person? No. Will pastors present the gospel to every person? No. It will be accomplished by Christians who are mobilized into prayer-care-share ministries in their neighborhoods.

These mobilized Christians form Light-Houses, or Houses of Prayer, or

Light-Houses of Prayer. They are all the same. They are all

prayer-evangelism ministries. Various churches and church-related groups use

a variety of names to describe prayer-evangelism ministries.

A Light-House is a group of two or more Christians who band together to pray

for, care about, and share the blessings of Christ with those who live

or work nearby. Most Light-Houses are households or groups of households

moms, dads, and children praying at various times daily for neighbors.

Prayer evangelism is talking to God about our neighbors before talking to

our neighbors about God. It means asking God to work before we do and then

being available as God leads us!

But why pray this way? Because things will happen when we pray that would

not have happened if we had not prayed.

*The Growth of the Vision

Pastor Craig Turley of Redlands, California, tells what happened to him and

his church when they launched Light-Houses:

“We saw the benefit in our own lives personally, we tasted it, saw the

benefits and then shared it with our entire congregation and our staff. We

shared with our congregation the potential for us to be a praying church

with a very strong focus for salvation, and they bought into this thing lock, stock, and barrel and became very much committed.

“In fact, we had 100 percent participation with our church families involved

in the “five-n-five” program for the first five weeks, and the second five

weeks we did as well. We saw the level of intensity of prayer in our church

grow dramatically. We saw the prayer time grow from a half hour to 45

minutes to an hour, and pretty soon it was nudging out the teaching time,

which was fine with us. So there was just a heart cry made within the Bible

study time to continue to pray. We sort of returned to the old-fashioned

midweek prayer service, which was very heartening to see.

“For many years it was one of those typical stories of the church just

holding its own never having a lot to spare some months in the red, some

months in the black. But since we began energetically in prayer, we’ve seen

our offerings grow substantially and were using those funds now to be a

blessing in a real intentional outreach for benevolence. So we’ve

incorporated the prayer-care-share model . . . as we began to pray, our

hearts began to care for others, and out of that we began to share with

those in our community the blessings that God was bringing to us both prayer

blessings and tangible blessings.”

*Getting Started

A Light-House church has these characteristics:

The pastor encourages members to form Light-Houses and supports the Light-House movement.

A coordinator gives leadership in the congregation.

10 percent of the adults are actively involved in Light-Houses.

The church commits to linking with other churches to spread the movement

locally and nationally.

Getting started is not hard. A few tested guidelines provide the pastor and

coordinator with a path to launch Light-Houses and to begin making prayer

evangelism a lifestyle.

HOPE Ministries, or Houses of Prayer Everywhere, is convinced and committed

that Light-Houses are best initiated and sustained as a ministry of a local

congregation. Light-Houses that are not connected to a church usually don’t

last long. The local church provides the best framework within which Light-Houses find support and encouragement.

The church has . . .

·        hospitality ministries that assimilate by providing a welcome into the Christian community.  worship services for growth and a corporate expression of praise and thanksgiving.  education resulting in spiritual growth (discipleship, sanctification).  care ministries for material needs.

·        small groups for support.  HOPE Ministries exists to help churches start

and sustain Light-Houses of Prayer in which Christians develop a lifestyle

of prayer evangelism, in which they pray and care in order to share the good

news of Jesus with others.

Many ministries have adapted their material to be part of the Light-House

Movement. David Mains and the proven 50 Day Adventure, for example, have

focused and integrated their material to be used by Light-Houses. A catalog

is available that shows hundreds of ministries that are committed to and are

assisting the Light-House movement.

So . . . what would your neighborhood your city or town your region be like

if every person were prayed for, cared for, and shared with out of the

abundant blessings of Christ? What about your churches calling area or ZIP

code?

*The Maturing of the Vision

Prerequisite 1: Pastors Prayer Groups

Pastors uniting to pray for a common vision for their city is a prerequisite

for city-wide saturation of Light-Houses. Realizing that not any of them

have individually “won the city,” pastors spend time in prayer for each other. They offer personal and professional petitions for each other.

Periodically, usually monthly, they spend additional time in a work session

in which city-wide events are planned.

Prerequisite 2: Intercessors

Another prerequisite is to have church intercessors engaged to become city

intercessors. These city intercessors, representing each church, meet and

pray for their city. They work closely and sometimes meet with Pastors

Prayer Groups. They spread communications about city-wide events to all the

churches in their area. These intercessors then pray for their churches involvement in each event. Everything is saturated in prayer.

Options

Mapping software from the Mapping Center for Evangelism is helpful and

useful for keeping track of Light-Houses and making sure a city or area is

covered. Any areas that are not prayed for can be assigned.

Christians living the prayer-care-share lifestyle

People find that becoming a praying neighbor causes changes not only in

their neighborhood but also within themselves. When we pray for someone, our

feelings toward that person change. Things that would otherwise “bug” us

about a neighbor become less important in prayer. That’s when caring for

that neighbor begins and grows.

Praying Christians grow to see their neighborhood as their mission field,

and they meet with other Christians to plan neighborhood events in order to

meet and get to know all their neighbors.

Light-House churches

A Light-House church no longer does things in the “same old way.” The

prayer-evangelism lifestyle is simple and less structured, and it allows

members to use their time in ministry, not in meetings.

How does the following ministry description compare to present job descriptions and ministry in most churches?

As the Light-House coordinator in my church, I work to make Light-Houses

visible in our congregation. I do this in several ways. One way is to print

monthly articles in our church newsletter about what God has done in our

neighborhoods as a result of prayer. I also use articles supplied by HOPE

Ministries. HOPE also gives me good ideas and tips that I can reprint in our

churches newsletter.

After the first five weeks of praying five blessings for five neighbors,

five minutes a day, as suggested in the Five Blessings brochure from HOPE

Ministries, I gave our members ideas on how they could expand their ministry:

Begin praying for more people.

Take the Light-House concept into the office or workplace.

I used HOPE Ministries suggestion that our members use the video Becoming a

Praying Neighbor to introduce Light-Houses to others at work and in their

neighborhoods.

Then I introduced the prayerwalking concept, and now one day a month our

Light-House members prayerwalk their entire areas. Some members prayerwalk

their area more often. In this way we moved from praying for individual

neighbors to praying for our entire neighborhoods and other areas. We used a

skit during a worship service to introduce the prayerwalking concept.

Monthly I also ask for testimonies of what God has done in our churches

Light-Houses. To do this, we set a time of celebration and thanksgiving

during the evening service on the last Sunday of each month. During that

time I also ask for new ideas on how to care for neighbors and how to get

neighbors together.

I meet regularly with our pastor and intercessors for prayer and

communication. This keeps the ministry in the “mainstream” of our churches

planning and activities.

Another thing I do is keep our congregation informed about regional and

national prayer events such as the National Day of Prayer, 40 Days of

Fasting and Prayer, and Meet You at the Pole. I encourage our pastor to keep

his calendar clear for his local Pastors Prayer Group and for other prayer

opportunities such as Prayer Summits.

Several women in our church wanted to begin praying for other women, so I

introduced them to strategies by Evelyn Christenson and Mary Lance Sisk. Now

they are also praying together in “prayer triplets” and using the Loving

Your Neighbor concept in addition to participating in their household Light-Houses.

I also have planning meetings with Light-House coordinators from other

churches, and we plan city-wide food-gathering days, distribution of the

Jesus video and the book of HOPE, city-wide celebrations, and mapping

strategies for saturating the city with prayer. It is our goal that every

person in our city will have a Christian praying for him or her. The

computer programs from the Mapping Center have been very helpful in managing

this process.

*Outreach Using Light-Houses

Since launching Light-Houses, our role has changed. Instead of thinking of

ways to introduce the community to our church (and hoping they will come and

join us), we now spend our time working with our members on sharpening their

discipling skills.

We have classes on how to make a variety of gospel presentations. Members

like to choose different methods, so we explain the Jesus video, tracts,

booklets like How to Talk to God, and other tools. We also teach our members

what should be done after a neighbor accepts Christ and is not yet ready to

come to church. This time in a believers life is very vulnerable as doubts

and questions come to his or her mind.

If the member does not want to disciple the new Christian, we can match a

trained member with the new Christian. We are continually teaching members

how to disciple new Christians.

We are also considering starting the Alpha Course either with other churches

in our neighborhood or possibly on our own. The Alpha Course is a 10-week

series designed for seeking non-Christians. This course of study would

complement our evangelistic Bible studies for women (Coffee Break) and for

men (Men’s Life).

One of the members of our team also enters the necessary data for use by our

Mapping Software. Local utility companies supply us with lists of new people

moving into the area so that we can link up new people in our community to

the nearest Light-House and make contact with them. Personal contacts are

much more effective than mailing welcome letters.

We are also continually improving our discipleship courses for new

Christians. Helping them get into small groups, discover their spiritual

gifts, and assimilate into the body is very important.

*Social Transformation

Many Christians have a sense of vision for reconciliation. Many are business

persons who serve on local social boards, possibly own a business, work in

management, and regularly encourage employees to pray for co-workers. Many

who have workplace Light-Houses feel that their corporate climate is different from the climate in many other businesses in their city.

More and more Christians today believe that Light-Houses serve as the

beginning point of social transformation in their city. When people pray for

others, they think differently about those persons. They form groups of

Christians who work in local government and businesses to pray and develop

plans to make their city a better place to live. These groups are called

Round Tables.

Within the Christian community are the resources that most social agencies

need: volunteers and finances. Cities have enough resources to cause change.

Through Pastors Prayer Groups, pastors and other Christian leaders can

effectively communicate needs to the Christians in their city. The Christian

community also has a huge amount of goods, food, and clothing available.

Supply ministries are looking for outlets.

Often Round Tables start as neighborhood associations and then move toward

social transformation at the city level. Our vision is for each Round Table

to connect with other Round Tables so that they can learn from each other

and also present unified proposals to all levels of government.

*Challenge

Pastors, if you are part of an existing group focusing on your city,

reenergize it, add more pastors, or recommit to the vision of a “won city.”

If you are not part of such a group, consider it a priority to join a group

like this in your area. If a group does not exist, pray for Gods leading to

form one. (HOPE Ministries can assist you with ideas and a plan.)

Intercessors, are you engaged in a city-wide focus? If not, find

intercessors from several churches and begin to pray for your city or area

in conjunction with your pastors. If a Pastors Prayer Group does not exist,

make that an item of fervent prayer, and seek Gods leading in forming one.

*Conclusion

Will the Light-House Movement look like this in two years? I hope not! I

pray that the movement will be even larger and more dynamic than is

described here. By the power of Gods Spirit moving Christians to pray for,

care about, and share the blessings of Christ with their neighbors, it will

be more than it is today.

Contact HOPE Ministries for more information and strategies about the

Light-House Movement, the vision and potential of Light-Houses, or becoming

a Light-House church.

HOPE Ministries

Paul Dozeman

P.O. Box 141312

Grand Rapids, MI 49514

1-800-217-5200

pdoze@hopeministries.org <mailto:pdoze@hopeministries.org>

 

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