Reaching Your City For Christ
Francis Frangipane interviewed Phil Miglioratti
We recently introduced you to our dear friend, Phil Miglioratti. You'll recall,
Phil is a Baptist pastor, a member of the National Prayer Committee, and also
the publisher of the National Pastors' Prayer Network (a consortium of six blog
sites, www.nppn.org). If you are a pastor or
ministry leader, you ought to pray about utilizing the wonderful resources God
is providing to rebuild the Lord's house.
Pastor Phil is passionate about Christ-centered unity in the church and just as
passionate about winning the lost to Christ. He coordinates the
"Prayer-Care-Share" initiative of Loving Our Communities to Christ in seventeen
cities across the United States (www.missionamerica.org,
This is the first of a two-part interview between Francis Frangipane and Phil
Francis ~ Phil, how were you introduced to the
pastors' prayer movement?
Phil ~ Before I knew there even was a movement of pastors praying together, I
found myself inviting colleagues to my office to pray. A precursor to that was a
fresh wind of the Holy Spirit in our small congregation that took us by storm
and surprise! This revived our understanding of God (worship) and gave us a
hunger for a deeper and immediate relationship with the Lord (prayer). The Lord
gave me a pastor friend who mentored us as we took baby steps upward and
forward; he suggested I needed to meet with other pastors for prayer. My
invitation brought half a dozen or so together; we prayed weekly for several
years, and that group continues with one of the original members! The prayer
intensity of that pastors' prayer group allowed us to share personal and
ministerial struggles. At one point, it was my refuge during a church conflict
that had the potential of spinning me out of the ministry.
Francis ~ You began out of your own need, but
God quickly gave you a larger vision . . .
Phil ~ True. The group met my need for a place to wade deeper into the waters of
Spirit-led, corporate-bred praying and, thanks be to God, met an unexpected need
of spiritual support during a crisis. As the crisis passed, the Lord gave me the
sense that many (most?) pastors have similar needs: a safe place to experience
the edification and fellowship of pastors as well as a place to express bigger
prayers of hope for revival and awakening. In other words, if it was a such good
thing for me, maybe other pastoral colleagues would also benefit from a weekly
hour of prayer.
As the National Day of Prayer approached, I invited other pastors to join our
"PPG" and our group of a half dozen swelled to over three dozen that day. The
next year for NDP, we offered four gathering spots. Soon, we counted three or
four dozen ongoing PPGs across the Chicago region, a result of my hunting for
existing groups and challenging colleagues to begin one in their local area. It
wasn't too long before the Lord had me view the map from a higher perspective; I
went from having a vision for my city to our state and quickly the nation. He
was calling me to serve the emerging movement of pastors' prayer groups and thus
was born the National Pastors' Prayer Network
Francis, this journey would not have taken place without your book, The House of
the Lord, and your newsletter that I discovered while attending one of your
conferences back then. The message of the book read like the story of my life in
those days, especially the aspects of spiritual conflict. It gave me the hope
from God that I needed to press forward to see his victory. And your work with
pastors as you went from city to city became a model for me of how God wanted to
connect his Church in cities and communities large and small. Your pioneer
efforts laid a foundation for many of us who have been called into this
movement. Much thanks!
Francis ~ Analyze the pastors' prayer movement;
how are we doing?
Phil ~ It seems to me the pastors' prayer movement was a new alternative to the
typical approach in most towns and cities, the ministerial. Ministerial groups
are fine, but I have not seen in them an abandonment to prayer - intercession on
behalf of the city. And it appears that commitment to prayer in PPGs produce
stronger working relationships among the pastors and leaders praying together,
which has led to the next phase of the movement. Most PPGs are now not only
praying for the community but they are beginning to pray in the community, which
is creating opportunities to pray with the community. Many PPGs pray with the
mayor or police chief or on-site at a school. Outward focused praying has
resulted in a vision and passion for community transformation. Also, pastors are
beginning to recognize the strategic role of church members who have influence
in the marketplace. Partnership, or at least mutual respect, is beginning to
emerge in some of our cities.
Pastors experience in microcosm what the Lord wants them to produce in their
congregation: prayer-forged relationships and prayer-driven ministry with an
outward focus. No more holy huddle-only prayers.
Francis ~ What mistakes or missteps have been
made along the way?
Phil ~ I think the enthusiasm over the blessing of praying together (whether in
weekly groups or annual 3-4 day retreats) caused many groups to be keepers of
the flame rather than spreaders of the fire. As the movement has matured, we
have recognized the need to affirm and deploy believers into their sphere of
influence with a missional mindset, but that took time. Frankly, some leaders,
in their efforts to build networking and collaboration among the Body of Christ,
have been exasperated by the pastors - too busy to make it their priority but
too controlling to release the ministry to their pew-sitting members (many of
whom are very skilled and highly recognized in the community). We pastors also
suffer from programitis. We decry them but quickly default to them when a new
initiative of praying for the lost or caring for community needs or, especially,
sharing the good news of Christ is adopted.
Francis ~ As you know, we have just updated and
revised my book from 1991, The House of the Lord. It’s now under the title When
the Many Are One, published by Charisma House. By the way, thank you for your
endorsement! Where can readers find other resources that help build community or
citywide prayer among pastors?
Phil ~ As the movement of pastors' prayer groups and community transformation
develops, new resources are being written and new strategies are being unfolded.
Here are a few "portals" to check out; they'll lead you to many other sites and
* www.CityReaching.com - City
Impact Roundtable, scores of city movements across the US
* www.NPPN.org - a directory of PPGs,
articles for PPGs, interviews, etc.
* www.LC2C.blogspot.com -
prayer-care-share stories and strategies, coaching insights, new perspectives on
how to share the gospel
- Tom White's book, City-Wide Prayer Movements
* www.servethecity.org - a
coalition of congregations and ministries who bring resources together to serve
the city and demonstrate the love of Christ
* www.missionamerica.org - an
unprecedented Coalition of Christian leaders who have prayerfully come together
to mobilize the Church for praying, caring and sharing the Gospel of Jesus
Christ in deed and word
* IV Press - Mac Pier & Katie Sweeting's The Power of a City at Prayer
* Issue #67 of Pray! magazine: What Happens When We Pray For Our Cities?
* PrayerShop Bookstore -
has resources on all aspects of prayer and praying
Francis ~ Phil, would you pray for the pastors
of our nation?
Phil ~ Father, download your heart for the communities and towns we live in,
deep into the DNA of every pastor and leader so that, we too, like our Lord
Jesus, cannot help but weep over the city. Jesus, call us together in prayer
across boundaries of ethnicity or denomination or generation; prayer for each
other and one another's congregations, of course, but also prayers of big hope
for the people, places and things of where we live and serve. Holy Spirit of
God, empower and embolden us to lead our congregations in praying for the lost
to be found, in caring for those with names and needs in our neighborhoods, and
in new ways to show and tell the glorious old gospel of Jesus Christ. Transform
our praying by the renewing of our minds. Amen.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
For those interested in building unity in their cities, Pastor Frangipane has
recently updated and re-released through Charisma House his best-selling book
from 1991, The House of the Lord. This book, now under the title, When the Many
Are One, is available at your Christian bookstore or by ordering here at Arrow