Pastors, ministry staff members, ABSC staff members, associational missionaries and others prayed together during the statewide prayer gathering Aug. 27-28 at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock.
Arkansas Baptist pastors, staff pray for revival
LITTLE ROCK – “God wants your church to be the single most influential mover in the community, but that only comes through prayer,” Bill Elliff, senior teaching and lead pastor of The Summit Church in North Little Rock, told more than 300 pastors and ministers gathered for the fifth statewide prayer gathering Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 27-28, at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock.
Elliff, who served as facilitator of the event, added, “(And) that only comes through connecting with God. Prayer brings God into the equation.”
The annual gathering, hosted by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) and planned by the Task Force on Revival and Spiritual Awakening, included focused prayer on different issues, including church life, the next generation and the nation.
Speakers included Steven Smith, senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock; Gregg Greenway, lead pastor at Southside Baptist Church in Stuttgart; Zac Reno, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Saline County; Todd West, directional pastor of Oasis Church in North Little Rock, and Don Pucik, senior pastor of Wynne Baptist Church.
“If we want to do the works Jesus did, it’s only possible if we do it the way Jesus did,” said Pucik. “Jesus never took the initiative or depended on Himself, but God supplied Him with what He needed through prayer.”
In a session focused on the next generation, a forum of youth pastors discussed issues students face today, including false narratives and identities, acceptance of sin and use of pornography.
The forum consisted of Kyle Fowler, student pastor of The Summit Church in North Little Rock; Luke Harper, student pastor of Cross Church in Fayetteville; Bill Newton, student pastor of First Baptist Church in Hot Springs, and Chris Roller, student pastor of First Baptist Church in Rogers.
“My prayer is for modern day Josiahs to rise up,” said Harper. “Josiah was 16 years old and decided to follow the God of his father, David. He is one of the greatest kings of Judah, and we need students like him.”
Another forum focused on God’s work in the Arkansas Delta and the racial tension that still exists today. Forum speakers included Jarvis Smith, pastor of Second Baptist Church in West Helena; Chanson Newborn, pastor of Fellowship Community Church in Forrest City; and Willie Jacobs, church planting strategist for the ABSC.
“People need to see unity in the body of Christ. They need to see Anglo-Saxon and African American churches working together,” said Newborn.
Jacobs noted that understanding and respect are the way to reach people in the Delta and to overcome the racist atmosphere.
“We need to understand that we have different cultures, and we need to respect those cultures,” said Jacobs. “You don’t know the struggles that are in a different culture. The culture is not what you see on your TV or in movies. We need cultural training.”
The gathering ended with Elliff giving five tips to build a culture of prayer in churches: 1) Develop a sustainable rhythm of unceasing prayer; 2) Use the church-wide app called PrayerLOFT; 3) Emphasize prayer annually; 4) Develop citywide movements of prayer, and 5) Pray about prayer.
“If you don’t prepare to pray, you literally are preparing not to pray,” Elliff said to close the gathering.
Contact Sarah Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.