Ministry Merger Prayer Week 2
Whenever people come together for a shared purpose, they should acknowledge potential difficulties. Each person has ways of communicating, expectations, or baggage from the past. These might be traditions, or unspoken ways of handling problems. They might be differing communication methods, or past hurts that people have buried. What are the difficulties that might be facing the new church?
Day 8. Pray for an awareness of the potential difficulties that may hinder the church.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Competing values and desires of what the church should be like can have the potential to cause struggles in the merging churches. Unity is necessary for the growth of this new church.
• Pray for discernment to recognize the difficulties the churches may be facing.
• Pray for wisdom to address the differences effectively and lovingly.
• Pray for courage to move into this new relationship despite the unknown issues ahead.
Day 9. Pray for an openness to new traditions.
“I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors.”
Traditions of any kind are difficult to let go. They provide a sense of status and order, of comfort and familiarity. The Apostle Paul appreciated traditions, yet he was able to let go and adopt new traditions. Some old traditions may stifle growth. They may no longer serve their original purpose, and may be unwelcoming and confusing to new people.
• Pray for grace and understanding as the church decides which traditions to let go.
• Pray for openness to establishing new traditions in this new church.
• Pray for a creative caring spirit as the church develops new traditions that honor the merging of some new and some old traditions in this new gathering of people (including new people from the mission field).
Day 10. Pray for conflict and hard feelings to be forgiven.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”
Unresolved conflict within one or more of the churches, or conflict and resentment toward other churches merging together will be a constant hindrance to true growth and health if it is not resolved with forgiveness and love.
• Pray that old areas of unforgiveness and conflict will be brought out into the open for healing.
• Pray that new areas of conflict will be resolved without side-taking and gossip or manipulation.
• Pray that people will be honest about their feelings and hurts.
• Pray that forgiveness and healing will flow through the church.
Day 11. Pray for ineffective systems to be set aside.
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”
Ineffective systems are often a relic of the past. They may have been effective at one time, but now they are an obstacle to healthy ministry.
• Pray for powers (and people) that once controlled the church would no longer feel the need to control.
• Pray that the Merger Team would seek out and implement new, effective systems.
• Pray that the new church will be open to these new systems and practices.
Day 12. Pray for clear communication of expectations.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
We often have assumptions of what life will be like in the future. In the church we also come with expectations. As the churches come together as a new congregation, what expectations will people bring?
• Pray for people to share their expectations openly.
• Pray for understanding and spiritual growth as some expectations will not align with the new mission and vision.
• Pray for peace and a willingness to grow into unexpected areas of life and ministry.
Day 13. Pray that turf issues will be minimal.
“I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”
1 Cor 1:10
One of the greatest areas of conflict, as well as potential long-term problems in Vital Mergers involves turf issues. People from one or both congregations try to hold onto “things” or “traditions” or “power,” resulting in turf issues.
• Pray that turf issues will be recognized, understood, and resolved early on.
• Pray that people will be willing to lay aside their preferences for the mission of the church.
• Pray for peace among the churches and people merging together.
Day 14. Pray for a healthy grief process.
“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Grief is a natural part of the merging process. People grieve the loss or closing of “their” church. They grieve the loss of friendships as some people move on and do not join the merger. Some grieve the loss of the building or the new changes that are happening.
• Pray for people who are grieving the loss of their church.
• Pray that people will express their grief openly and in healthy ways.
• Pray that people will accept the changes and embrace the new opportunities this new ministry will bring.
What are areas of concern that might hinder the new church?