May 2017 Issue
Southern Baptist PrayerLink Meets, Plans for Maximum Impact
by Roger S. Oldham
Calling on the Southern Baptist PrayerLink team to “fan into flame a passionate pursuit of God in prayer,” Chris Schofield opened the winter leadership team meeting as the group’s first executive director.
“The Lord is not through with what we began years ago,” Schofield, who serves as director of the Office of Prayer for Evangelization and Spiritual Awakening for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, said.
“This ministry cannot be about us. It must not look to the past, but adapt to changing realities and press on to what lies ahead,” he said.
During its two-day meeting, the leadership team settled on four active verbs that convey its mission and voted to redesign its logo to reflect its mission.
The new logo incorporates the group’s global prayer focus, its passion to lift up Jesus’s high priestly prayer, and its desire to join hands with people of every race and kindred by praying, connecting, resourcing, and serving.
“We [primarily] serve through praying,” Schofield said. “Then we serve the greater group by putting together the logistics of our meetings” so others have a model to emulate in their respective settings, whether churchwide prayer services, small group gatherings, or associational meetings, he said.
Al Gilbert (left), executive director of church mobilization with NAMB, joins NAMB staff Maggie Greenwood and William Brown (center) in hosting PrayerLink for lunch after introducing the leadership team to NAMB’s PrayerConnect weekly email and PrayForPlanters.com website. Photos by Roger S. Oldham.
NAMB Prayer Initiatives
The January 9–10 meeting was hosted by the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, Georgia.
NAMB employees William Brown, supporting church coordinator, and Maggie Green, endorsed missionary services coordinator, introduced PrayerLink to two prayer resources designed to undergird church planters.
PrayerConnect is “a weekly prayer email sent to subscribers with prayer requests submitted by NAMB missionaries,” Brown said.
Pray for Planters is an initiative to enlist at least ten thousand churches to pray for North American church planting missionaries. Pastors and individuals can register at PrayforPlanters.com to pray through a list of planters in a specific city, state, province, or on college campuses.
“Every believer can pray, and every church can help plant churches,” the website states, and encourages churches to “take the first step” by “choosing a location and committing to pray for church planters there,” asking God to “save lives and transform communities through church planters across North America.”
Church leaders can complete an online form to indicate their desire to pray. NAMB will send a list of planters to pray for and occasional updates of what God has done through their prayers.
Hosted by the North American Mission Board, the Southern Baptist PrayerLink leadership team held its annual leadership retreat in Alpharetta, Georgia, on January 9–10. Volunteer Executive Director Chris Schofield, North Carolina (facing the group), leads a discussion with, to Schofield’s right going around the table, Phil Miglioratti (Illinois), Eleanor Witcher (IMB), Jerry Dixon (Pennsylvania/South Jersey), Darrell Webb (SBC Virginia), Rick Shepherd (Bellevue Baptist Church, Tennessee), Claude King (LifeWay), and Marty Youngblood (Georgia).
PrayerLink Fall Meeting
Under the theme “God Is Greater Than,” PrayerLink’s October 5–7 meeting will consist of three components:
- Two “10-20-30 Prayer Experiences,” hosted by First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia, a one-hour service on Thursday evening and an extended season of prayer on Friday morning;
- A PrayerLink Forum of invited prayer leaders from across the United States;
- A Saturday Prayer Vision Tour to pray on-site for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, NAMB, Atlanta “Send City” leaders, local church plants in pockets of lostness, university campuses, and church revitalization needs.
PrayerLink is composed of prayer coordinators from Southern Baptist entities, WMU, state Baptist conventions, and Southern Baptist ethnic and language fellowships.
Working in collaboration with associations, state Baptist conventions, and SBC entities, PrayerLink seeks to foster a Great Commission prayer mindset among Southern Baptists and other Christ-followers and promote Great Commission prayer ministries woven throughout the Southern Baptist network of churches.
Members of this year’s PrayerLink leadership team are Jerry Dixon, Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey; Claude King, LifeWay Christian Resources; Phil Miglioratti, Illinois Baptist State Association; Roger S. Oldham, SBC Executive Committee; Chris Schofield, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina; Darrell Webb, Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia; Eleanor Witcher, International Mission Board; and Marty Youngblood, Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
Rick Shepherd, minister of prayer and spiritual awakening at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee, where SBC President Steve Gaines serves as pastor, also participated in the planning and strategy session.
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