A Blog for Pastors and Intercessors
Someone once said that the mark of a great church is in how much responsibility it is willing to take for reaching the people who surround it. There are some great churches whose doors are always open because they’re in business 24/7. And the doors swing out just as easily as they swing in…sending ministry into the streets and barrios and sin-depraved culture. The small-minded church is institutional in its thinking pattern: “We’re here…we’ve got the goods…if you desire what we have you know where we are.”
The problem is, people need Jesus in a major way. But tragically they often neglect the Savior by neglecting the institution that represents Him. And that’s precisely why great churches…the ones that accurately reflect the compassionate heart of the Good Shepherd are always expanding in the direction of the needs of the people who surround it. They know that they cannot always wait for a movement to bring the needy to them, so they mount a movement that moves outward with the Gospel.
Now this truth presented on a more personal note. Several days after my father passed away, a good friend remarked, “Paul, you have now become the family patriarch.” I understand that as the eldest male in the family, there is an inherited responsibility of prayer and care that is mine. And I accept it with equal parts of awe and fear. It is not a position that is taken lightly.
The truth of the matter is that I have been faithful in praying for my family, both immediate and the more far-flung variety. It’s been my joy to hold each one before the Lord asking his protection, blessing and guidance on a daily basis. But I wish to be more than a small-minded intercessor. I wish to enlarge the list of those I feel responsible for. I want to pick up tomorrow’s newspaper and read of God in action in the political scene, in the affairs of third world nations, in matters of strengthening families throughout our nation…and be aware that my prayers were in some small way instrumental in those ‘acts of divine intervention.’
And so, this week and on into the future I want to be part of a great church with expanding responsibility toward this culture, and I want to be a great intercessor whose prayers begin with his family and then move out into this lamentable world of need and growing desperation.