Small Group Development - Pastors Small Groups
Pastors who have responded to the call of God to become Watchmen are encouraged to develop small groups dedicated to this all-important call, of raising up a generation of spiritual leaders who will impress the spiritual crisis of our day upon the hearts of their people. Here is a suggested step by step outline for initiating and maintaining patriot pastors small groups. This is offered by the Watchmen on the Wall initiative from the Family Research Council.
We are inviting pastors who have responded to the call of God to become Watchmen in communities and regions to develop a pastor-to-pastor network dedicated to this all-important call, of raising up a generation of spiritual leaders who will press the spiritual crisis of our day upon the hearts of their people. We envision that once a pastor’s network (Ideally 12 but or whatever number the Lord brings together) is launched, that the time for prayer, relationship-building, and united cultural engagement would continue for one year, and then we would encourage intentional efforts to replicate, with each pastor in the network forming his own pastor-to-pastor network. Here is a suggested step by step outline for initiating and maintaining a pastor’s network:
Step One: Pray
Pray and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance about:
which pastors in your circle of relationships you should invite to the initial meeting
which ministers with whom you should build new relationships and invite
how to establish and strengthen these relationships for the task ahead
Step Two: Invite
Schedule your first meeting within one month for the purpose of sharing the vision for becoming a Watchman with the pastors you are planning to invite.
A. Pre-Meeting Steps:
1. Pray for the right location, time.
2. Contact by personal calls the pastors you feel led to invite.
3. Secure location which should be conducive to privacy and prayer.
4. Follow up with confirming emails, letters, etc. Make sure all relevant information is contained in the communications, such as meeting times, etc.
5. Arrange for meal, hosts, and any additional help you might need with video, etc.
6. Continue to pray over those invited and for the meeting itself.
B. Initial Meeting:
1. Show up early
2. Pray for the meeting before anyone arrives
3. Set up for the meeting (TV, DVD Player, name badges, materials)
4. Greet attendees personally
Sample Agenda: Thursday, 10:00 AM-1:00 PM
1. Open with prayer and introductions.
2. Share purpose of meeting and what God said to you at the Washington Briefing and why you are sharing this word with them
3. Show the FRC DVD
4. Ask them to make a commitment to:
Renewing their passion for prayer and re-establishing their church as a house of prayer, pleading with God for revival in His Church and another spiritual awakening in America.
Biblical Citizenship (hold voter registration on the first Sunday in July and/or the Sunday closest to Patriot Day - 9/11, recruit a Culture Impact Team, set up a Culture Impact Center, preach on moral issues, etc.) - see previous section on Mobilization.
5. Call them to a Season of Prayer (emphasis upon hearing what God is saying to them)
6. Share a fellowship meal.
7. Provide FRC materials
8. Decide on a meeting time for the next gathering that will work for most of the pastors. We suggest that you meet by conference call or in person at least once a month with your network.
9. Propose doing a small group study together from the suggested curriculum track on the Pastor’s Portal portion of FRC’s website. FRC is planning to develop its own materials for pastors and churches.
10. Conclude with prayer and fellowship
C. Follow-Up Activities:
1. E-mail a word of thanks for attending and reconfirm meeting time.
2. One week before the next meeting, make a personal call as a reminder.
3. Obtain the small group study and begin familiarizing yourself with the contents and facilitator’s guide
Step Three: Invest
Invest in your band of brothers.
1. Find ways to encourage and serve them. Celebrate with them, weep with them, and above all, pray with and for them.
2. Develop communication with your group by means such as weekly emails, monthly meetings, conference calls, and quarterly meetings, which are effective means of developing relationships.
3. Saturate your times with prayer. Getting pastors to pray together is the key step in advancing God’s corporate purposes for communities, cities and beyond.
4. Challenge these brothers to take action steps that promote the call to be the salt and the light.
5. Encourage open discussion, but discourage any one person from monopolizing the meetings.
6. Promote innovation. God will give strategies to His shepherds for their communities, cities, and regions.
7. Rotate the meetings between pastors.
8. Invite these pastors to the 2008 Watchmen on the Wall Pastors Briefing. If God has enabled you, help financially.
Step Four: Increase
As relationships are developed, the pastors in your group may feel led of the Lord to reach other pastors with the vision of becoming Watchmen for their community and the nation. The goal for replication is one year. In fact, the best introduction for prospective Watchmen is to attend the national or a regional conference. Pastors may have specific burdens which motivate them to action, such as for the protection of the unborn, the biblical definition marriage or our religious liberties. Encourage pastors to develop their own groups of praying pastors who will do battle for the soul of America.
The Prayer Saturated Church by Cheryl Saks- The Prayer-Saturated Church provides all the step-by-step, practical help a pastor or prayer leader needs to mobilize, organize, and motivate believers to make their church a house of prayer. Written by a prayer leader who has been in the trenches of local church prayer, The Prayer-Saturated Church will enable any church—no matterthe size—to take prayer to the next level. This comprehensive resource also comes with a CD that contains printable forms—publicity templates, sign-up applications, prayer guides, and more—to promote, encourage, and energize your congregation toward more prayer. (Amazon $13.59)
Fresh Encounter - (Video Driven) Fresh Encounter consists of two six-session studies that explore the biblical requirements for spiritual awakening and revival and then helps a church make application in six key areas.
Begin with Member Book 1, the first six-week study, which focuses on revival from a biblical and historical perspective. Includes brief daily assignments. (6 sessions). Member Book 2 summarized the video messages for the second six-week study and helps participants spiritually evaluate the quality of their relationships with Christ. (6 sessions) 12 week study with 6 videos (Blackaby.org $99.95)
Disciples Prayer Life - A 13-week, in-depth course that guides Christians to develop an intimate and effective prayer life. Each week’s material is divided into five days of individual study which not only teaches but guides learners to practice the principles of prayer daily. A thorough leaders’ guide is provided to facilitate small group sessions for sharing insights and praying together. Each small group session is designed for one to two hours. Scripture memory cards are also included. No matter where you are in your walk with God, you can develop a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him. Disciple’s Prayer Life will show you the way. (Lifeway.com 14.95)
2. Biblical Worldview
The Truth Project (Video Driven) - The Truth Project is a DVD-based small group curriculum comprised of 12 one-hour lessons taught by Dr. Del Tackett. This home study is the starting point for looking at life from a biblical perspective. Each lesson discusses in great detail the relevance and importance of living the Christian worldview in daily life. (thetruthproject.org $119)
How Now Shall We Live (Video Driven) - Author Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, issues a radical challenge for Christians to go beyond salvation to understand Christianity as the ultimate truth. This resource offers a practical means of understanding everything in the world around us, not just the Bible and our faith.By examining everything from education to politics to music to family, Colson introduces methods that will equip believers to represent Christian principles and answer difficult questions in any encounter. This interactive study guide contains daily Bible study lessons for the eight weeks of the study, plus four optional weeks that cover specific applications of the Christian worldview. Make sure each participant in your group has a copy to take full advantage of this daily study. ($149.95 Liveway.com)
3. Biblical Positions on Moral Issues Debated in the Public Square
Todays Conflict, Tomorrows Crisis Books And Leader’s Guide - Dr. D. James Kennedy addresses in a practical way how Christians can apply biblical principles to every area of life and still experience the freedom and richness we desire. He answers questions about Christian ethics, fulfilling relationships, and what the future holds for those in Christ. (reclaimamerica.org - $25 for 5 copies of Today’s Conflict, Tomorrows Crisis book and a Leader’s Guide)
4. Judeo-Christian Heritage
Restoring America Series (Video-Driven) - Peter Marshall who wrote the Light and the Glory teaches through America’s Christian Heritage The segments are entitled: Introduction; Christopher Columbus: The Missionary Explorer; The Pilgrims: The True Founders of America (Parts I-II); The Puritans and the American Covenant (Parts I-III); The Christian Faith of the Founding Fathers (Parts I-V); The Christian Principles of the Constitution; The False Issue of the Separation of Church and State (Parts I-II); Restoring America: How Can We Begin? (Parts I-II); and How Can Revival and Restoration Come? (Parts I-III). Twenty 30 minute segments. (petermarshallministries.com - $90.00 - leader’s and student’s guides are forthcoming)
Role of Pastors in Civil Government (DVD) - David Barton examines the Biblical teachings that caused generations of Christians to believe it was their duty to be involved with government. Discover how the actions of a few dedicated Christians changed the course of a nation. There are a number of other videos and books that will be of interest. (wallbuilders.com 19.95)
5. Practical Action Steps
101 Ways to Reclaim America: Want to get involved but don’t know how? Reclaiming America for Christ is not an overnight activity—that’s why this booklet contains 101 different ways for you to get started. This completely updated, one-stop resource provides all the details and contact information you need to start making a positive difference in your community today! (reclaimamerica.org $5.00)
iVoteValues.org Voter Tool Kit and Resource Guide - Basics on Christian responsibility to vote (iVoteValues.org)
Q-What if I cannot get 12 pastors to join me in my network
A-While 12 is the ideal, some pastors will have more and others will have less in their network, also realize it may take time to build your network based upon your relationship with other pastors.
Q-Are you asking us to get involved in partisan politics?
A-Absolutely not. This is a call to form a Watchmen network is something with far more eternal significance. A recent poll conducted by the a national polling firm for the Culture and Media institute [http://www.cultureandmediainstitute.org/specialreports/pdf/NationalCulturalValues.pdf ] clearly shows that Americans believe our nation is in moral decline (74%) but only 36% believe we should live by God’s principles of right and wrong. There is recognition of a problem but an inability to see the solution. FRC realizes that our nation must experience repentance and revival if the culture decline in America is to be reversed. Therefore the Watchmen network is first and foremost a call to prayer. It is second of all a call to actively engage government. Christians must be salt and light in every realm of society, which includes government. We must work for public policy that reflects biblical truth, we should encourage and support Christians in public office, and we must personally serve the needy in our communities.
Q-What about the “Separation of Church and State?”
A-This is a misleading argument repeatedly trumpeted by secularists who denounce biblical morality and truth. As you probably know this often repeated mantra appears no where in our founding documents or governing documents. However, let us be clear, no one, especially bible believing Christians are calling for a state church. We do not believe any Church should rule over the State or the State over any Church, they were both created by God to fulfill separate but interrelated purposes. What is really meant by this phrase is a \separation of God from government or Christians from the public square. This we unapologetically reject. We believe that since God ordained government (Rom. 13:1), He would want His people to influence it. After all, government is one of the spheres we should impact in our role as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13, 16). Active engagement is also a legitimate contemporary application for Christians in America of what the Lord Jesus called for when He commanded: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21).
Q-Are you asking pastors to submit to another pastor’s spiritual authority?
A-No. What we are asking is that pastors enter into a relationship with fellow pastors for concerted prayer mutual-encouragement, and unity of purpose in bringing godly influence to public policy. The initiating pastor does have the benefit of experiencing the Watchmen Briefing and has something to impart to those who have not attended.
Q-Should we network with pastors of our own fellowship or denomination or should we try to connect with others?
A-Do both. We realize that getting pastors to build “bridges” with other pastors from different traditions and denominations can be quite difficult, but most Bible-believing pastors would agree that the Church of Jesus Christ is in dire need of revival and that America needs a radical turning toward God. There is too much common ground and too great a need not to link arms together.
Q-Is this one of those “ecumenical” efforts designed to get pastors to drop their doctrinal and denominational distinctives?
A-No. Pastor Alec Rowlands, who founded Sound the Alarm in Washington state after attending the first Watchmen on the Wall briefing, has nearly 1,000 pastors in his network representing a wide range of denominational and non-denominational churches. While they are one in their mission to pray and join together for united action, the pastors relate to one another without compromising the identity, vision or mission of their various and diverse individual churches.”
Q - Is the host pastor automatically going to become the spokesmen for the pastors (and by extension, their churches) in the network?
A- No. As Pastor Bob Emrich, who founded the Maine Jeremiah Project after attending the first Watchmen on the Wall briefing, states to pastors in Maine:“We are not trying to be your voice, we only want to help you develop your own voice.”
Q - Will these networks of pastors be under the direction of FRC and carry the name of FRC?
A - No. FRC sees its role to come along side of local pastors and serve them. We are here to affirm our nation’s need for its spiritual leaders, encourage those spiritual leaders and equip them with the best information available on the key issues of our day. We want to help, but we are not called to equip the saints for the work of the ministry - the spiritual leaders are.