Having God’s Heart, Being God’s Hands
Every Kingdom building church wants to reach their community for Christ. Every active church member wants to believe their faith makes a difference. But, so often, we struggle. What should we do? How can we make a difference that leads people to Jesus?
There are many models that help focus your church. Some strategies create worship centres that spend their time running engaging church services. Other strategies create community centres that spend their time providing food and assistance. And still other strategies create wellbeing centres that spend their time focusing on personal growth.
There are also models that help create a church which holistically practices balanced inreach, outreach and upreach. Here is one I like. Founded on prayer and enacting the answers to those prayers, the Prayer à Care à Share model is both easy to learn and easy to apply. It can be applied both individually and corporately.
Prayer à Care à Share – Personal Life
Prayer: There is someone near you that God is hoping to reach with His Love. Pray and ask God to put on your heart the person who is on His heart. He will reveal who you should pray for. When a person comes to mind, pray for that person by name. Ask God, “What can I do to help them?” Follow the promptings God gives you. Regularly praying for someone puts them front-and-centre in your thinking. You will begin to care for them on a deeper spiritual level.
Care: Show compassion for this person. Meet the needs in their life that God puts on your heart. They may need a friend. They may need someone to listen. They may just need a sandwich. Be willing and ready to do what God says.
Share: When they ask you why you care, tell them. Tell them you prayed for God to give you someone to pray for. Then say, “He gave me you!” Tell them you prayed for God to tell you how to care for them. “He told me what to do!” Finally, tell them, “God loves you!”
Prayer à Care à Share – Community Ministry
Prayer: In a small group, pray for the community around your school or church. Ask God for specific people: “Who should we pray for?” Ask God for specific community needs: “What does community needs that we can meet?” Have a regular few minutes in every group meeting when you share what God is telling you regarding people and needs in your community.
Care: Follow the Spirit’s leading. Plan projects. Do them as a group. Care for the individuals for whom your group is praying. Meet needs in your community as the Holy Spirit makes those needs known. There may be a shut-in who needs regular visiting, a yard or house that needs cleaning or an elderly person who need a planter-box built so they can grow vegetables. Observe. Pray. Act.
Share: When your church runs events, invite the recipients of your Care projects to suitable events. Cooking programs. Bible studies. Special worship services. Visiting speakers. Share your faith-community with your care-community. Tell your church elders the needs you are seeing and caring for. A proactive church will organise events to meet the felt needs revealed by their members.
Benefits of the Prayer à Care à Share methodology
The Prayer à Care à Share model focuses on the personal and local. Rather than attempting to squeeze a one-size-fits-all program over every church, Prayer à Care à Share reveals and reacts to the needs God is feeling in your community. Just as every person is unique, each community has specific needs. God knows these needs. Asking Him to lead keeps us focused on His work rather than our own.
Prayer: To many people, prayer lacks practicality. Praying simple direct requests and then taking action based on the answers from God’s Spirit demonstrates to your church members and community members that prayer works. It also creates testimonies!
Care: Seeing needs-based evangelism flow from our own prayer life will lead to a clear understanding of both prayer and evangelism. Our church members will realise from experience, God is Love and He wants us to care for others.
Share: In our faith-fuelled excitement, we are prone to over-sharing. Prayer à Care à Share ensures we save our sharing for the time when we are most likely to be heard. An answer is useful only after a question has been asked! In the words of St Francis, “Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words.”
To have God’s heart, we must pray. To be God’s hands, we must act. The Prayer à Care à Share Model is one way to build the Kingdom of God. It connects God’s heart to our hands and changes the world, one person at a time.
When Jesus walked the earth, he built his ministry on prayer. Inspired by the heart of his Father, Jesus met the needs of the people around him – feeding some, healing others, caring for all. Finally, he shared his knowledge of the Father by telling stories about the Kingdom of God.