Usually when we pray, we talk with God about our family, our work, and other needs in our lives – which is important, and we should bring all our concerns to God. But what if we as the Parkway family prayed together?
“Imagine 500 people praying the same prayer requests,” Pastor Derek Futrell said.
It sounds powerful, but what would we all pray about? Futrell and other Parkway leaders met last summer to talk about where Parkway had been and where the church will go, especially in the next five years. They asked God what we should be praying about because “we need to be praying together in one direction,” Futrell said.
Out of that meeting came nine prayer points on which this church body will focus through the next five years. Some are more specific than others, but all provide “the vision of where we’re going as a church body,” Futrell said.
Goals for the 1st Year:
1. 100% of Parkway Members Sharing Their Faith At least Three Times a Week
The loftiest goal is probably this first one. It’s intimidating and requires regular effort from everyone. But “prayer is going to be the thing that makes the difference,” Futrell said.
Ask God to provide three opportunities throughout your week to engage people around you with stories and statements, testifying to the goodness of God in your life. Pray this for yourself and for others in the Parkway family. Ask God to help us all be faithful and joyful in obedience.
2. 100% of Parkway Members Actively Participating in a Small Group
It’s easy to sneak in and out of the sanctuary for a Sunday sermon without having a conversation with anyone. This is understandable every once in a while — we all get sick or busy. But if this describes most of your Sundays, you’re settling for much less than what the church is supposed to be in your life.
If you’re not connected with a small group, pray for God’s help. If you are, pray for those who aren’t. Pray that Parkway members would not be content with minimal interactions but crave honest relationships with believers in this church body. Pray that God will guide them to a small group and embolden them to share in true community.
3. A Gathering Space for Children and Students
On a typical Sunday, Parkway babies and preschoolers are in one building, older kids are in another, and teens are bussed down the street to Grange Hall Elementary. This arrangement has been difficult to navigate for families with children that span multiple age groups. Pray that God will give Parkway a vision and a plan for a second gathering space for children and students on campus. Pray for Parkway leadership to exercise faith and wisdom in managing the resources we have now.
Goals for the 3rd Year:
4. 100% of Members Trained in our Core Ministry Curriculum
Parkway has developed a three-year discipleship curriculum called “Core Classes” that meet in the fall and spring on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday evenings. Some train people on teaching the Bible to others, impacting the community, or biblical ethics in everyday life. Pray for time and strength in people’s lives to be able to learn in these classes.
You can take a total of 15 classes, but we’re praying for each Parkway member to have walked through 12 of them within three years. These are different from small groups for a few reasons.
“The primary focus for our small groups is good theology lived out in relationships and accountability,” Futrell said. “The primary focus for our Core Classes is good theology in learning.”
5. 100% of Members Mobilized and Actively Serving in Parkway’s Ministries
Lots of people attend Parkway. Around 500 people typically attend the two Sunday services, and around 350 attend a small group.
Parkway’s vision statement is: “Real people walking with Christ, inviting others, and serving together to reach our neighbors and the nations.” Sometimes “serving” means arranging games and grilling hot dogs for a community fall festival. Sometimes that means setting up chairs in the sanctuary, welcoming people into the building with a smile, or leading the congregation into worship with a song. Such an active church needs active members to make these things happen.
There are so many ways to serve. If you haven’t already, tell us about how God’s gifted you to serve in this survey. Trust us, we’ll be in touch. Pray for each Parkway member to be active in serving.
6. The Equivalent of 10% of Current Membership Coming to Christ Each Year
If there are 500 members this year, pray that God would use us to lead at least 50 new people to Christ. If next year we have 600 members, pray that God would use us to lead at least 60 new people to Christ.
Pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will be done. Ask him to soften hearts in our families, neighborhoods, and workplaces so that many would be drawn to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for Parkway to be faithful with the gospel entrusted to us.
Goals for the 5th Year:
7. Plant 20 New Churches Over the Next 5 Years
Richmond is home to many people groups who have not been engaged with the gospel. Parkway is praying to impact these local groups: Bengali, Indian, Mixteca, and Hispanic. Pray for God to provide people and avenues to reach these groups and that he will bring fruit.
Ask God to raise up leaders, specifically in the Indian church. Many Indian believers attend English-speaking churches. When one man was approached to begin work on a Hindu-speaking church, he refused because that would require them to evangelize outside their caste. Pray for local Indian believers to repent from this prejudice and obey God as he leads them.
The pastor of Connexion, Fernando Mangieri, has been actively ministering to local Hispanics and has been praying for a leader to reach the Mixteca community in the area. He recently discovered that one man he’s discipling is from that people group! Pray for God to use Fernando and this man in reaching the Mixteca with the gospel.
8. Send 20 New Missionaries Over the Next 5 Years
Pray for God to raise up 20 new missionaries out of our members. Parkway wants to send out local and international missionaries to go long term and short term.
“This is insane,” Futrell said. “Only God can do this.”
We believe God called us to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. This call is going to look differently for different people. Some will give support and money, and some will pack up and move. Pray for discernment and quick, joyful obedience in our church family. Pray that we would not embrace fear and complacency but embrace the wild calling of the Holy Spirit.
9. 100% Debt Free
Parkway built the sanctuary in 2006, taking on $2.8 million in debt. Ten years later, we still have $1.8 million to pay back. Leadership has taken aggressive steps to increase payments, so this goal is possible, but still needs fervent prayer. Ask God to help us pay off this remaining balance within the next five years.
This is where God is leading us to go in the next five years. You may have noticed that these prayer points often mention “100%” or “all” of Parkway members. This unity in pursuing a common vision is important because “if we’re going to run down this road together, we want everyone to contribute,” Futrell said.
He said he does not want prayer to be “just a tack-on, but a driver” for the church to accomplish these goals. Join us in praying together towards this vision.
UPDATE: May 5, 2019 - Click here for an update.
Written by Emily Hall.
A member of Parkway Baptist Church