Would you accept a ministry leadership assignment knowing that nobody would pray for you?
To be fair, your family, board and some friends would pray for you. Indeed, the search committee would pray too, at least up until you got the assignment.
But in comparison to a pastoral calling, where you’d expect most church members to pray for you, our Mennonite Brethren conference leaders cannot have that same expectation. Their prayer support drops to almost nothing.
When I served as executive director of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC) and as ICOMB Director, I was grateful when people said they prayed for me. Carson Samson, communications director for CCMBC, told me how surprised he was when someone prayed for him. So, to be fair, not nothing.
Yet I feel we can do much, much better.
I have an idea. Let’s regularly pray for our conference leaders! Isn’t that radical?! I have another idea. Let’s do it in our weekend worship services in our Mennonite Brethren churches.
We are doing it in my home church, Westwood Community Church, as a 2020 prayer focus. Each Sunday, we pray the following within our pastoral prayer: “…We pray for Cam Priebe and Jason Dyck and and their team as they lead us in the Manitoba Conference. We pray for Elton DaSilva and his team as they lead the Canadian Conference.”
Also, we’ll add a prayer for Rudi Plett, director of ICOMB; César Garcia, general secretary of Mennonite World Conference; Randy Friesen and the Multiply team; or Mark Wessner and the MB Seminary team, and others. We spread these pieces out Sunday by Sunday through the month.
I feel a great sense of urgency about this. Our conference and agency leaders need more prayer, not less. Their work is far-reaching, involving issues that require tremendous wisdom and discernment. These things affect the local churches you and I attend. For example, our church council listed 24 services the Manitoba Conference (MBCM) has for us. We have a list of another ten services by CCMBC to our church and MBCM, complementing MBCM. ICOMB provides another seven discrete services of support for CCMBC, which ultimately strengthens us all.
Imagine the impact of our local church prayers when we pray for these leaders and their teams. Our prayers also support spiritual “covering” — our home and identity – that our conference leaders and structures give us. Think of the deficit when we don’t pray. Should we be surprised when we get into trouble, or our mission curtailed, if we don’t pray corporately for these called and appointed leaders?
Join in on what my church is doing! Pray weekly for your spiritual leaders. Make it a 2020 prayer focus. Let’s see what God does in and through us Canada-wide and beyond as a result.