LIBERTY – It was a Saturday morning, and some of the people from Pleasant Valley Baptist Church were a little scared. Knocking on the front doors of homes in the area was taking them out of their comfort zones.
That morning they went outside the walls of their church to several neighborhoods in the Kansas City Northland region to attempt to engage residents in a front doorstep conversation about God’s activity in their lives.
The initiative, called “Multiply-Groundwork” is intended to support efforts to start a new church in the area. They decided to use the model Jesus used in Luke 10:2 and give it a 2015 expression. Believing Jesus as He said to “…pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest,” Jerry Connor, associate pastor for global missions, explained, “We prayed and sent teams out to the streets.”
He added, “It all started with prayer months before the event. Teams of volunteers prayer walked every Thursday night for 2 months in 7 different locations (mostly schools) in the area we plan to start a new church.”
“We asked God to give us eyes to see the community the way he sees it and for Him to open doors and open hearts so we could share the gospel as it says in Colossians 4:3, ‘And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ….”
The volunteers were preceded by several months of prayer-walking by volunteers who asked the Lord for signs of His movement in those communities. On Aug. 22, the church called for a large group to go door to door and survey the neighborhoods.
Conner reported: We trained 36 people for an hour and then sent them out looking for houses where God was already at work.
“We told people we were starting a new church, using three survey questions to begin conversations. We asked, ‘What do you most love about your neighborhood?’ We said, ‘We are people of prayer…. How should a church pray for this community?’ Then we asked, ‘If God were to do something significant in your life, what would you ask him to do?’ And, ‘Can we pray with you about that?’”
The volunteers recorded responses on an app on smart phones to collect the attitudes and needs of the residents.
The teams knocked on 230 doors, which were answered by 104 people. 73 households gave the teams a prayer request and 43 allowed them to pray for them and that they could come back and visit further.
A few weeks later in September, groups went back to follow up. They found answers to prayer. People had experienced healing and improvement in health, new jobs. A lady had left employment at a bar. Relationships were improving in marriages. They were able to share the gospel in six homes. Several are interested in more information about the new church plant.
“We wanted to help people connect their need, prayer and God’s activity. People are being very responsive due to our praying and caring for them and it is all because of a lot of prayer walking and a Saturday of being bold for the sake of the gospel,” said Connor.