Last week I shared an insightful article by Steven Barr from the Fresh Expressions website. You can read the whole article here: Five Lessons Learned From a Church Embedded in The Walt Disney Company – Fresh Expressions. It is about lessons learned from planting a church within the Walt Disney universe amongst Disney “cast members”. The first lesson learned was that we are to plant Jesus, rather than planting churches. You can read my first post here: Don’t Plant Churches; Plant Jesus (mailchi.mp).
The second lesson Barr learned was to Prioritize Intercessory Prayer Over Strategy.
When planting a church within the world of Disney employees (cast members), Barr and his team found that they wasted a lot of time strategizing. That means they planned programs that they thought would attract cast members to join them in their efforts to plant a Christian church. What they found is that strategic planning only helped to bring cast members who were already Christians to their events. But it failed to connect these already-Christians to the mission of planting Jesus in the hearts and lives of the other cast members. So, they stopped everything and went to the Lord in concerted prayer. They prayed individually, collectively, and daily. They prayer walked the Disney Parks. And they asked God to do what they could not. Since their mission was to plant Jesus in the hearts of people who were not already believers, they turned it all over to God and waited. And God did what they could not!
The lesson learned is that PRAYER must be the single most important strategy for a church plant (and for an already-planted church!). Once they put prayer as their highest priority, they began to see things happen. Breakthroughs happened. Hearts were opened. People just showed up. By dedicating themselves to prayer, they released themselves from the burden of strategizing and planning. They shifted their efforts to seeking God’s face from trying to “make things happen.” And that made all the difference!
Right now, I am fasting and praying for the disaffiliating churches in our denomination. Especially for the churches in North Georgia who have been completely blocked by their conference from disaffiliating. And for the churches of our conference, Cal-Pac, because the cost of disaffiliating is outrageously high. On Saturdays (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) I fast and pray. I pray everyday, of course, but I fast AND pray on Saturdays. I want to invite you to join me in spending significant time praying for The Fount and for the other churches seeking to be free from the UMC. And pray for God’s purpose and will for us with regard to the Free Life Community Church and what God may be up to in our relationship with FLCC, as well as VEC (Vietnamese Evangelical Church) and La Cima. All the strategizing and planning in the world cannot do what God wants to do in us as we yield our hearts to Him! Let us redouble our focus on prayer.
A group of us from The Fount gather every morning at 7:30 AM to pray for these and other concerns. We gather on Zoom. We call it “Morning Prayer” and you are welcome to join us! Let me or the church office know you plan to join and we’ll send you the Zoom link.
In two weeks, I’ll address the third lesson Steven Barr and his Disney church-planting team learned, “Change Your Metrics.”