BLAND – The churches in Gasconade Valley Baptist Association receive prayers from their association leadership on a regular basis. Director of Missions (DOM) Phil Rector leads small groups of people to come together and pray for all the churches in the association. They call the effort a “Prayer Journey,” and they often take drives out to the church buildings for prayer times in the three-county region of the association.
Rector said they generally schedule three churches in a day to visit one in the morning and two after lunch. They spend about 30 minutes at each church. Sometimes the pastors are working at another job and cannot be there to pray with them, but often lay leaders will meet with the group for the prayer time. They try to get to every church in the association every six months.
In recent months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those prayer journeys had to be conducted virtually with photos of the churches sent out to the association members for prayer
Rector said he has a faithful partner in the journeys, Pastor Leo Roberson, a retired minister in the association. Sometimes other people from the association churches go along on the prayer journeys.
“Most of the time someone from the church is there to pray with us in the building,” Rector said. “We send out a letter in advance, asking for prayer needs. This stimulates their thinking. It gets them to ask themselves, ‘What are we doing? What do we need to be praying about?”
He said the prayers center on issues of challenge for the congregations. Sometimes the prayer requests are e-mailed to the DOM in advance and he prints off copies for the prayer teams. He said, “It helps me know the churches better as we pray for the churches.”
Rector added, “I have done this for several years, and I find it to be the most rewarding ministry I do with and for my churches.”
He got started doing this intentional prayer effort a few years ago after he and another DOM, Calvin Brown, who served in Concord Association at the time, traveled to Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina. The speaker for the meeting for directors of missions talked about “a bolstering spirit of strengthening of churches through prayer.” It left a life-long impression upon the two DOMs. They returned to Missouri to implement prayer as a key part of their associational missions strategies.
Rector believes, “There is no greater ministry in the DOM’s ministry to the churches than to pray for and with them.”
The association has 25 churches. As a part of the association’s ministry to the churches, they operate a campground called Gasconade Valley Baptist Camp. This year they have decided to postpone their usual summer camps due to concerns about operating the camp during the pandemic.
Churches in Gasconade Valley Baptist Association have one thing they can count on—they are being prayed for regularly.