On Saturday, February 16, 2013, David Harvey will be presenting the Mt. Bethel Church Planting system to a group of people in Cedar Springs, Michigan. At last report over 60 people had signed up to take this seminar. Please be in prayer for this day; for the people who will attend, and for David Harvey as he presents. This will be a one day seminar on “Church Planting by the Numbers” which consists of a teaching on implementing the Mt. Bethel system step by step. This seminar will be briefly summarized in next week’s update and is available to any church or group that is interested in learning more about this church multiplication system.
How to Start a Church Planting Movement (CPM) – Changing habits and lifestyles
Starting a CPM requires that we change habits and lifestyles of believers.
What really has to change for a church planting movement to emerge in the United States? The answer is quite simple; we have to change habits and lifestyles of followers of Christ, whether they are new followers of Christ or long-time followers. We have to change how people use their time so that they use their time to obey Jesus. We need to make time to obey Jesus’ commands to “go”, to make disciples, to baptize, to teach people to obey (Matt. 28:18-19), and to teach what we have learned to “faithful men” (2 Tim. 2:2).
The reason we don’t have a church planting movement is that under the current system of “church” we can spend our life in the church and never change our lifestyle to obey Jesus in the ways listed above. We are in a danger zone when we are teaching people but not teaching them to obey.
To have a church planting movement we have to change our teaching from teaching about obedience, to teaching people to obey. Those are two different things. Teaching people to obey will result in a change of habits and lifestyles in believers so that Matthew 28:18-19 and 2 Timothy 2:2 are being lived out in the world.
Pray that God will teach you how to teach people to obey.
The starting point for teaching people to obey: Learning to pray –
At its beginning every church planting movement (CPM) has been fueled by prayer. If you read the history of any CPM you will find the pattern of people praying first and then going into new communities.
Bruce Bennett says that, “Prayer is the primary factor facilitating a CPM. Through prayer, we understand the heart of the Father, acquire the mind of Christ, and attune ourselves to the will of the Holy Spirit. When we have spiritual sight of God’s will and plans for a community and we pray earnestly and passionately for the will of God to be done in a community, we can be sure God hears and answers our prayer. …Prayer aligns us to the will of God, calls down power on God’s servants and pleads for the healing transformation of a community. Prayer walking takes us into an area of need in order to see and feel the desperate plight of lost people.”
There is always a filtering process to discern who the people are whom God is calling to this ministry of multiplication. Whether or not one is willing to change habits and behaviors so they can pray more is always one of the indicators of whether or not one is called.
For the Mt. Bethel Project to succeed we have to change the prayer habits of hundreds of Christians. I believe that almost all Christians want to pray more, but many don’t really know how to do it.
Below is a simple guide to learn how to pray for one hour. This guide comes out of my own experiences in prayer, both daily prayer and years of doing two day prayer retreats. It is not the only way to pray for one hour, but it is “a” way. If your prayer life is lacking, try this guide to get started on a new habit. This is a short guide. A more extensive guide will be made available.
Do not be intimidated by the size of the guide. It is quite simple. It involves six categories of praying: Getting Started, Thanking, Offering, Discussing/Asking for help, The Next Steps, and Affirmations.
Why one hour?
When Jesus was in Gethsemane seeking to obey the Father’s will for him to die on the cross, he asked his disciples a simple question: Could you not keep watch with me one hour? (Matt. 26:40)
In the crucial moment of history when salvation hung in the balance he asked his disciples to pray for one hour. This is also a crucial moment in history. If we start a successful CPM it will result in the salvation of tens of thousands of people. The beginning point of a CPM is say “yes” to Jesus’ request to his disciples to pray.
What follows below is a simple guide to enable you to pray for one hour. If you know what to do for one hour the time will go fast. It will not be difficult.
Praying for one hour has great benefits. It will put your life back into perspective, you will know your priorities, you will be spiritually refreshed, it will create space in your life to nourish your soul, it will relieve your stress and you will know the next steps you should take. In addition you will learn to go through life seeing the goodness of God and hearing his voice.
If you can’t pray for one full hour when you first start using this format, that is fine. Don’t beat yourself up about being unable to pray for an hour. Use this format and pray as long as you can. As you build this prayer discipline into your life, seek to learn to pray longer. Remember that just getting started in building a significant prayer life is a major step in your walk with God and in the church being able to build a system of multiplication.
How to Pray for One Hour
Could you not keep watch with me for one hour? (Matt. 26:40)
I. Getting Started
Go into a room and close the door (Matt. 6:6). Take with you a pen and note book to write down what God says to you during this time.
Begin by enjoying the words of the following prayer. Linger over these phrases until they change from being your words to being your desires.
Almighty God, my heavenly father, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hid. Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your holy spirit, that I may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ my Lord.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you….” (1 Thess. 5:18)
Thank God for everything you can think of to thank him for in the last 24 hours.
Thank him for specific things he has done in history; your history, your family and friend’s histories, and the history of the world. Pray Psalms like Psalm 91 or 103. Thank him for Bible heroes whose examples we follow.
Thank him for who he is. Name specific attributes such as: that his love never ends, that his mercy endures, that his faithfulness is great etc. Thank him for what he has created. Use Psalms such as Psalm 8 and Psalm 90. Make your own list of Psalms to pray.
When you run out of things to thank him for, learn to be silent before God with a deep sense of gratitude to him. Allow him to bring to your mind other things for which you should give him thanks.
III. Offering – “…offer yourselves to God…” (Rom. 6:13)
Begin by reviewing your past 24 hours and confess to God anything in your life that was not pleasing to him and ask for forgiveness.
Offer all of you to all of God: Slowly and deliberately offer your body, mind, spirit, attitudes, words, thoughts, actions, and feelings to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Submit fully your past, present and future to God. Name your fears and release them to him. “How much more should we submit to the father of our spirits and live.” (Heb. 12:9)
Pray earnestly for the grace to submit to God for his healing the parts of your past that are preventing you from loving purely in the present. Pray that God will either reveal the parts of your past that are preventing you from loving purely so that you can submit them to him for his healing, or that he will enable you to submit these hidden parts of your past to God for healing even without you becoming aware of them.
Offer your whole self to God so that you do not have to live as a victim of any person, or any fear, or any circumstance, but you are free to love the way that Jesus loves the Father and loves people.
Pray for the freedom to forgive.
Offer yourself to God by affirming to him that this day you will keep your heart free of any ill will toward any person. Affirm to him that if he reveals any ill will that you are harboring in your heart you will immediately deal with it both through prayer, by asking for cleansing and forgiveness, and if necessary, by making amends with that person.
Allow yourself to be overtaken by a profound sense of joy as you submit to God.
IV. Discussing/Asking for help
“Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered” (Psalm 108:6)
“Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth….” (Matt. 6:10)
Begin to discuss with God the need for his will to triumph in specific situations; be specific in your requests to God for help.
Pray for the church
Pray that through the church, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)
Pray that the Lord would send out workers into the harvest field so the church will multiply.
Pray that he would build his church, both locally and around the world.
Pray for an obedient church; pray especially that hospitality and encouragement would flow out of it.
Discuss with God specific issues in your church in which his help is needed.
Pray for lost people for whom you have been burdened to pray.
Pray for others
Begin to discuss with God the present and future of individuals you care about and have been called to pray for, and for earthly situations which need God’s intervention. We are praying that God’s grace will be lavished in these lives and situations; that God will redeem people and situations.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Eph. 1:7-8)
Pray that this individual would know the love of the God the Father, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
Pray that this person may be able to receive:
– grace for repentance,
– grace for healing,
– grace for strength,
– grace for peace,
– grace for protection, and
– grace for purity.
Pray that people would come to hate their sin; pray that issues that are keeping the will of God from prevailing would be exposed.
Pray that God’s will would prevail in every person’s life and in every situation. Pray that pure love would shape the situation.
Pray that you will be a source of encouragement in these lives and situations.
Pray for your family
Pray using the guide in the above section that individuals would receive God’s grace.
Pray for your heirs, to several generations in the future, including future spouses.
Pray for children in your family.
Pray for Godly fathering and mothering in your family.
Pray that Godliness and love would characterize each person, each home and each generation.
Pray that none of your family would be missing in heaven.
Pray for yourself
Discuss your need for specific provisions for this day. Walk through your day with God, offer each event to him and ask for his assistance.
Ask for help in resisting temptation. Name your temptations to God.
Ask for grace for peace, protection, and for purity.
V. The Next Steps
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God. (James 1:5)
Spend time asking God about the next steps in your life:
What is my next step in my relationship with my family?
What is the next step in my spiritual growth?
What is the next step in my ministry?
Pray for wisdom for grace to submit to and obey what he has revealed to you in these prayers.
“Be strong in the Lord, and in His mighty power” (Eph. 6:10)
Affirm your desire to honor God with every part of your life in this day.
Affirm that you will walk in God’s joy regardless of the difficulties of the day.
Pray all of this in the strong Name of Jesus.
“But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:57)
Be With Him….
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matt. 26:40)