Today we are going to begin a journey. One that will lead us right up to Palm Sunday. Our emphasis for this journey is PRAYER. Since you are reading this, It’s probably safe to assume that I would be “preaching to the choir” to make every one of these messages into a “You need to pray” or “Top 3 reasons you need to pray more” persuasive messages.
Rather, I want this series, “PRAY” to be mostly informative. I want us to learn some things along this path. What kind of things?
Each week, it’s my plan to take a different world area or area of influence, learn about the challenges they face, the areas in life we can join with them in prayer about. This series is inspired by the “Global Week of Prayer” prayer guide.
We will be focusing on a specific area of prayer for each group and what the bible has said to believers concerning it.
Finally, I want to challenge us – our local congregation to make a weekly commitment to pray over the places and people we learn about each week. There may be additional applications along the way, but that’s generally the idea.
In short, we will attempt each week to look at the following:
- Challenge(s) of the Group
- Focus of Prayer for the Group – Biblical concepts and imperatives we should heed to serve our brothers and sisters in prayer.
- Mission – Choose and pray for the person/people from the specific group we are emphasizing.
We start with the top leadership role in our denomination: the Board of General Superintendents.
Challenges – Board of General Superintendents
To understand the challenges they face, we first have to understand their role in the structure of our church. Perhaps this is the first time you are even hearing about General Superintendents. I mean, what do they generally super-intend to?
The Board of General Superintendents, of the BGS for short, oversees all the ministry areas of the church of the Nazarene. Without this message becoming a membership class, I’ll try keeping it short and to the point. The Church of the Nazarene is an International Christian church in the Wesleyan/Holiness vein. We believe a person who’s been saved, can live for Christ and choose to NOT SIN by the power of the Holy Spirit living in them.
Whew. Glad I kept that short.
So that’s a bit of theology for you, but what about the areas of ministry in the world?
The BGS oversees different regions where the Church ministers:
Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eurasia, Mesoamerica, South America, and US/Canada regions.
In case you didn’t know…we also have works in places and countries that are so hostile to the gospel that we can’t tell anyone we are there! Can’t put it in writing or verbally say we have missionaries, ministers and congregations in those places, though we do.
All of those World Regions Have leaders over them all the way down to the local congregations. We are on the US/Canada region and in the Wisconsin District. Our local church is the Church of the Nazarene in Viroqua, WI.
Needless to say, the BGS has their work cut out for them. It’s divided up between them, but it’s still a lot. It needs proven leaders, close to God who have a high capacity for serving and multi-tasking.
Challenges of the board include: communicating information, casting vision, coordinating events and volunteers to name a few. You might think “Anyone can do those things!” and you are right…the BGS just does it on a VERY high level. An international level.
So what is the big take-away, the biblical focus of prayer for these high-level leaders? It’s guidance and wisdom.
Focus of Prayer
The bible calls us to pray for leaders.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”1 Tim 2:1-2 NIV
This passage is usually used in context for how we should interact with our governments. This is not to say we shouldn’t pray for our governmental leaders, but church leadership is a form of authority.
In our church, the General Superintendents are elected by the general Church of the Nazarene. They are prayed over and then if they accept the position they are elected to, they serve on a board with their fellow GS’s. They support the work of the Church, giving guidance on Theological issues, building up other leaders to head different regions and mission areas.
They are people just like you and me, but their role…their responsibilities are great. What should be the focus of our prayers for them? Wisdom and Guidance.
To extrapolate on that, let’s take a trip to 1 Kings 3:5-15a and see this very important interaction between God and King David’s son, Solomon.
5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 15 Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream.1 Kings 3:5-15a
Solomon desired wisdom to do the job set before him. Wisdom and guidance are essential to being an effective leader. They help you to know what the right choice is and hopefully give you the courage to make it.
Back to the New Testament, The author of Hebrews is reminding his original audience…and us to think of our leaders and learn from them.
“7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”Hebrews 13:7 NIV
Leaders are doing just that, leading. It’s important that they stay on target! Keep on track. People are watching their lives and those people are learning how to do life, how to live out the faith in light of their example. That’s an amazing responsibility leaders have. It’s a heavy burden. That’s why we need to pray for them.
Pray for: Guidance and Wisdom
Let’s talk about these folks called the General Superintendents. They are assigned a particular set of regions to oversee for a two year period. Their roles can also shift and change after that two year period, so not one of them is the chair or the secretary forever.
- Dr. Eugénio R. Duarte
- Africa Region
- Dr. David W. Graves
- Asia – Pacific Region
- Dr. David A. Busic – Board Secretary
- Eurasia Region
- Dr. Gustavo A. Crocker
- Mesoamerica Region
- Dr. Filimão M. Chambo
- South America Region
- Dr. Carla D. Sunberg – Board Chair
- As Chair, she oversees many ministries, boards that are based here in the U.S./Canada Region
Instead of reading off their bio’s, I’ve included the link to eat person’s bio above. At the conclusion of the post, I’ll be asking you to “adopt” one of these folks to pray for this week. Before you click away from this post and go about your day, I’d like you to comment below with who you are praying for this week. Pray at least one time for that person you choose.
By mentioning them and their areas of responsibility, I hope that you get “prayer triggered.” Things that spark in you when you hear of something like “War” on the brink in the Eurasia region (Hello, Russia and Ukraine) and pray for Dr. Busic and all the District leaders he helps guide. When you hear of civil rights being violated in Australia, you can turn your prayers to those Nazarenes in the Australia – New Zealand field and Wisdom for Dr. Graves to know what to share with believers in a state of Marshal Law. When you learn of an underwater volcano eruption and tsunami that decimated the coastline of Tongo and cut off communications to the outside world, think of the Asia-Pacific Region and pray for the leaders to know the best way to help the needy in such a situation.
There are more areas around the world that our GS’s oversee and give leadership to the works within them and between them. They need Wisdom to know what to do and Guidance to know when and how to do it.
A few years ago, you might remember we had some special guests here for a weekend. It was the Youth group from The Nazarene church in Marseilles, IL. My folks brought them up to help us with some projects and in the meantime, strengthen their mission muscles. You know, if you don’t work a muscle enough it will atrophy…The same goes for the church. If we don’t work our mission and live out the purposes of God in this life on a regular basis, those muscles get weak. When we try to spring on them they’ll cramp up and someone might get hurt.
My mom had t-shirts made for all us involved in that mission trip weekend. On the shirt it says “Mission Possible.” There is nothing too big or too great for our God to do, and he chooses who he uses. And He’s using you and he’s using me.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it?
Pray for the Board of General Superintendents this week. This is in addition to anyone else, anything else you regularly pray for. Additional to whatever God lays on your heart. Pray according to his leading, but specifically I want you to join me this week and pray for our Leaders in the Church of the Nazarene.
We mentioned Dr. Kevin Donley, our District Superintendent. He’s a man of faith, compassion, vision, hope, and I know all that and I’ve only known him for just over 3 years now. But what he is dealing with right now is cancer. Stage 2 Esophageal cancer. Pray that his numerous weeks of treatments greatly reduce the size of the affected area. Pray that the surgery he is scheduled for will be successful as well as his recovery. During all this time, he continues to lead our district, raising up others to share the work and blessing our whole state through the ministry of it’s churches.
As this is the end of the blog post, I want to thank you for taking the time to read it. It means a lot to me. I post this just here for you readers, people who’d rather read than list to the message. If you could do one more thing as a response to this post today, please stop and pray right now. Pray for who God is putting on your heart. Pray for the BGS and Dr. Donley, the District Superintendent of Wisconsin District. Thanks.