A small group prayer ministry may not appear to be that productive, but with the right leadership it may be very effective. Here are a few ideas on how to design this ministry.
1. I think a small group ministry will operate best with two or three leaders. These are the people that have the vision for this ministry. Though everyone in the group will have responsibilities, the leaders will do most of the planning and organizing. They should meet regularly, at least monthly to evaluate the groups progress, to plan events and strategies, and to pray together.
2. As to its location, I suggest that the group always meet in the same place so its members always know where to go. Since this will be a serious prayer group it must be a place without distractions.
3. Though many from the group will probably attend the same church, I suggest that the group invite people from other churches. That way there will be a much greater influence in the community, and I think there will be a better chance of duplicating the group elsewhere.
4. Its members, especially its leaders, will determine the purpose of the group. However, I think there should be at least the following four purposes:
- To learn about prayer. A small group provides a great opportunity to learn all about prayer. The leaders don’t necessarily have to be great teachers or know everything about prayer. The members will learn mainly from reading books together and doing bible studies together on prayer.
- For praying together. When you meet together I think at least a third of your time should be devoted to praying together. If you meet for two hours, the first forty minutes could be used for fellowship and announcements, the second forty minutes could be used for bible study, and the last forty minutes would be devoted to prayer.
- For spiritual growth. If you don’t grow spiritually as a result of meeting together then it isn’t worth the effort. Your meeting together must be a time of spiritual growth.
- For fellowship. God desires that Christians encourage each other and share things in common with each other. There is a great opportunity to do this in a small group.
5. When the group prays together there must be a prayer focus or plan. I think it is up to the leaders to give the group some direction on this, but I think that ultimately the entire group should have a part in it. I think that the group should not just pray for themselves and for their friends, but should pray outside their circle of friends. An idea I have is that each group member should share what he or she is most burdened about, whether it is for a certain missionary group, for a certain group of people, or for a particular problem in the world. That way the group will get a sense of how God is directing the group, and they will be able to make a more intelligent, God directed prayer plan.
6. Have a plan to duplicate your group. From the start you must decide that you want your group to multiply itself. Then, as your group becomes too big, choose members from your group to start and lead another group, possibly based in another church and in another area. You will have the joy of watching that group grow and develop just like yours!