Prayer and Preparation for the Harvest
by Lt. Colonel Raymond L. Peacock –
How should the Army advance into the new millennium? On its knees! In prayer!
This is the age of the optional, the voluntary, and the front line taking initiative. So, why a territorial prayer emphasis? Because top and local leadership agree with Jim Cymbala in Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, “The prayer meeting will be the barometer of the church.”
Our territorial commander has asked each corps to hold a New Year’s Eve prayer service. He has also asked that every corps plan nine weeks between New Year’s and Easter where prayer will be emphasized. Each corps officer has been given a resource binder “The Concert of Prayer Worship Series–How To Bring an Army To Its Knees!” In October and November this year, corps are encouraged to plan their New Years Eve “Re-igniting the Flame” prayer meeting and nine week prayer emphasis for the first quarter of 2000.
The Concert of Prayer Worship Series focuses on both corporate and personal prayer. This comprehensive series contains nine worship outlines that can be used effectively in the smallest to the largest settings. It is hoped this series will be used to begin the new year and the new millennium in prayer. Of course, prayer is not limited to any season. Can you think of any better way to get the new millennium off on the right foot? Ask your corps officer for further details on bringing your corps to its knees.
Not only has each corps officer been given a resource binder for the prayer emphasis, but each corps officer has also been given a binder dealing with preparation. I refer to the resource binder “Preparing for the Harvest Vision Action Planning Guide.” The purpose of this resource is to help turn your corps vision into action. Each corps is asked to agree on the top three priorities in your corps vision statement and turn them into goals and action steps. These goals will be discussed with the corps officer and corps council when the divisional review officer pays a call to the corps in the first half of 2000.
No doubt there are some who cheer limiting this exercise to the top three priorities. Others will say we have 10, 20, or more goals we need to think about. I wonder if that’s true? According to a new friend of mine, Dr. Kennon L. Callahan, few churches should think beyond three goals for any given year. He further suggests this should be broken down into two growth goals and one expansion goal. In other words, what existing programs do we anticipate growing in the year 2000 and what one program will we add this next year?
I’m enjoying reading my way through Dr. Callahan’s books. He has written 12. The three I recommend are Twelve Keys to an Effective Church, Effective Church Leadership, and Dynamic Worship all published by Jossey-Bass. Dr. Callahan seems to have a lot of common sense to share and a good balance between the empirical and the biblical. Here’s a sample:
“Programs serve people. People are not to be slaves to programs. Most churches are overprogrammed. In our country, the myth has been perpetuated that an effective organization is one that has lots of programs; but that is not correct. An effective organization is one that helps people in competent, creative ways. Programs are only one way of helping people; indeed, it is more precise to say that some programs help people. Some programs are more harmful than they are helpful…The function of strategic priorities is to provide ‘a razor’s edge’ to determine which programs make sense to continue, which programs need to be modified, and which programs should be cut out entirely…There is no merit in the kingdom of God for the number of programs a local church has; there is some merit in the kingdom of God for the number of people who are genuinely helped with their lives.”
Now that is worth thinking and finding out more about, is it not? And, as we head into 2000, let’s note the front lines were resourced to select strategic priorities in order that they might have more time to help people rather than endlessly add programs. Yes, let the record show that there were two main emphases for the new millennium in the Western Territory: prayer and preparation for the harvest. The harvest? Yes, a harvest not of programs, but of people introduced to Christ.