Monday, March 23, 2009

Prayer Ministry Resources

Our local Vineyard Church runs a class a couple times a year which we call the "Ministry Class." We use this class to train and equip our members to participate in prayer ministry (praying for sick and needy people), both in our services and in their daily lives. I help teach the class along with our Senior Pastor.

The class requires two seasons of about 2.5 hours each, and includes "clinic time" to practice what has been taught. We cover topics like understanding the Kingdom of God and how that concept guides our ministry, how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, why use a ministry model, the Vineyard five step prayer model, practical instructions for prayer time and learning to hear God's voice while praying.

We have open times of prayer at the end of every Sunday service where anybody can get prayer for any need. The same activity takes place in all of our small groups. However, in to protect people from potential visiting "wolves," and to screen out unhealthy ministry models, we always invite only people who have been through our Ministry Class to be the prayer ministers. As an example of visiting wolves, we once had some self professed witches sit on the front row who tried to join the ministry time. Fortunately, the power of God was so heavily present they couldn't stand it and left. By unhealthy ministry models I mean things like hitting people on the forehead, shouting in other tongues, condemning people who do not get healed and other practices that do not show comparison and respect. We do not allow any of that stuff. Ministry time must be a safe place where, no matter what else does or does not happen, people leave feeling loved on and blessed.

Here are some of the books we used in developing the class, and recommend as resources for further study. Although they are all by Vineyard authors, reflecting our models, philosophy and traditions, I commend them to any and all:

Power Healing - John Wimber & Kevin Springer
Naturally Supernatural - Gary Best
Authority to Heal - Ken Blue
Breakthrough - Derek Morphew

I just got a new book which I have started reading and am very excited about. I'm sure we'll be incorporating stuff from this one in our next go round on the class. It's called Doing Healing by Alexander Venter - just published in 2008.

All of these books are available on Amazon, or through the Vineyard USA website. You can also look them up on my Shelfari Bookshelf on the side bar of my blog.