On the show today we are talking about prayer requests with Jeanette of text-in-church.
I have been on hundreds of church websites. I’m always so curious to poke around to see how churches offer care, and how it’s communicated.
Unfortunately, many churches have little to no information about what care is available or how to access it, but for the most part, churches are offering an opportunity to pray with people through prayer request submissions.
Even when churches don’t know what their role is in caring for people, or how to manage the many needs that people have, prayer requests are usually something they extend.
As an experiment, I chose 30 churches from those of you who signed up for my newsletter with their church email address, and I went to your church website and tried to submit a prayer request.
The goal was to do 50-100 churches but it took me hours just to do 30 because I was enjoying seeing all the different approaches to care.
But I wanted to share some feedback on what I observed.
Out of 34 church websites, 22 (64%) had an opportunity to submit a prayer request from your website. Also, out of those 34 churches, 21 had a specific page or information on how to access further care in front of the church.
I submitted prayer requests to all 22 churches and at the time of recording this episode I have only received a response from 4 churches.
I sought out prayer support from 34 churches and I heard back from only 3 (11%).
The goal isn’t to shame people and I’m sure if I called the main office I’m sure there would be a much higher response rate.
But I think it’s a good reminder to be reflective in how accessible care is for your people. Would they know who to call, what is available and what to expect?
Do you have a process to receive the information and respond back so people know they are supported?
My goal is to equip every local church to have an intentional care ministry that supports their community.
A care ministry might be out of reach right now for your church, but you can still offer care through the most basic form of prayer requests.
I’m not saying that prayer is basic, but I think it’s the baseline expectation for people. I feel that there is an assumption that your church will pray with you if you ask them.
On the show today I have invited my friend Jeanette Yates. She is a community manager for text in church, a communication tool for churches that helps you utilize text and emails to build community and engagement.
And what does this have to do with prayer requests you might ask?
Well, I’m a big fan of using all different methods and technology to meet people where they are at and offer care. And right now, people are on their phones. So utilizing texting software is a great way we can connect and care for people.
Jeanette is a church communication and community-building guru. But actually fell into the role of church communicator accidentally.
Jeanette started her career as a teacher, then a stay-at-home mom and blogger turned pilates instructor then finally filled in as a content writer for a church while her friend was on mat leave.
I think this journey is very familiar to those who serve in care ministry, as most of us never started our careers with this role in mind.
During her time at the church, the world was changing rapidly with social media, and churches were becoming more strategic in how they were showing up and engaging in their community.
Jeanette is a natural at creating a sense of belonging and her self-taught skills in communications quickly highlighted her leadership in this area and is now the community manager at Text In church.
But care is near and dear to her heart as she holds the role of caregiver for her mother. Jeanette shared that she has been caring for her mother who has chronic health conditions since she was a pre-teen.
Jeanette has seen firsthand how the church can show up and be a caring community for someone and when there have been missed opportunities and disappointments.
However, Jeannette’s perspective on how the church can care for those who are chronically ill is a lesson we all need to learn.
BEING INTENTIONAL WITH PRAYER REQUESTS
COLLECTING THE PRAYER REQUESTS
According to Jeanette, there are different ways that churches collect prayer requests these include:
- The traditional way of church members walking up to church staff and requesting for prayer for whatever they are facing
- Writing down prayer requests on prayer cards
- Requests shared via text
RESPONDING TO PRAYER REQUESTS
- Sharing prayer requests with church staff
In this case, prayer requests are shared with staff working at church and they are called upon to pray on the different situations shared
- Designating a prayer team
For some churches, prayer requests are handled by a prayer team whose sole duty is to dedicate time to pray over what is shared
Confidentiality is key when sharing prayer requests and in the above formats, church staff are keen for that to be a priority.
Above all committing to praying over the request is very important so church members do not feel left out, communicate to them about how you prayed for them and send them encouragement for what they are facing.
USING AUTOMATED WORKFLOWS
When people submit their prayer request, the Pastor will pray over it however the church member may not be certain if they received it and this is where workflows come in.
Automated workflows can look like a series of texts that reach out to that individual as it relates to their prayer request and also a reminder text to church staff to follow up on the person who shared the prayer request.
As church leaders, you may not be able to do all things for everyone however prayer requests are a great first step to becoming intentional and engaging with your community.
If you would love to take a look at a pathway for prayer requests, click here to download the Care Ministry’s Pathway.
CONNECT WITH JEANETTE YATES
CONNECT WITH HOPE MADE STRONG
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