Hundreds intercede for friends in new statewide evangelism strategy
By Meredith Flynn
Channahon, IL | “You can’t deny the power of prayer.”
Karen Blan is prayer coordinator at First Baptist Church in Channahon, 50 miles southwest of Chicago. Since the beginning of this month, the church has seen 15 people make professions of faith in Christ, and several of those are the direct result of a church-wide prayer movement.
FBC Channahon has integrated Choose2, IBSA’s new evangelism strategy, into its overall prayer ministry. Choose2 asks church members to choose two family members or friends who don’t know Christ and pray for their salvation twice a day. Of the 15 people who have professed faith in Christ in April at the church, four told Blan they were prayed for through Choose2.
Along with daily prayer, Choose2 also asks participants to build relationships with the people they’re praying for, and commit to invite them to at least two church events this year.
Quoting her husband Randy, who also is the church’s pastor, Blan says, “Prayer creates ownership ... When you’re praying for somebody, you’re more likely to go talk to them, and invite them to church.”
Emmanuel Baptist Church in Carlinville saw nearly 200 people in its Easter services after 150 committed to Choose2 on Palm Sunday. Church members lined up in the aisle to go to the altar, pick up a reminder wristband and prayer card, and pray then and there for the people God put on their hearts.
Interim pastor Tim Cotler, who also serves on IBSA’s church planting team, called it “a renewed commitment to praying and sharing the gospel.”
The two go hand-in-hand, said IBSA Evangelism Director Tim Sadler, who created the prayer strategy. Since Choose2 launched at the beginning of this year, more than 100 churches in Illinois have accepted the challenge. And it’s not too late for more churches to Choose2, he said.
“Every believer needs to be building intentional, prayerful relationships with lost people … We build a relationship intending for them to meet Christ.”
At Pleasant Grove Baptist in Iuka, a young mother came to Christ after she was prayed for by Vicki Hayes, wife of Pastor Randy Hayes. It was the church’s Choose2 commitment Sunday, but Vicki had already been praying for a young woman named Mindy.
“You could see God was moving in the service and during the invitation time,” Randy Hayes said. When Mindy said she wanted to know more about being saved, the couple led her to Christ.
“What I like about Choose2 is it’s not complex. It’s just a simple, back to the basics thing,” Pastor Hayes said.
A simple thing based on a profound calling, Sadler said.
“God has chosen to use redeemed humanity to reach those who haven’t yet been saved by grace. He’s chosen to use you and me. There’s no greater reason why we should do it than because He has entrusted this into jars of clay.”
For more information about implementing Choose2 at your church, see pages 6-7 of this issue of the Illinois Baptist, or go to IBSA.org/Choose2.