This past Wednesday night we held our annual business meeting. I actually look forward to them. You probably think I’m a little weird right about now and I suppose I can’t blame you. For most church going folk the annual business meeting is one of the most dreaded events on a church calendar; as in, I’d rather go to the dentist and have a tooth filled then go to one of those!
Not at Grace. We enjoy them as celebrations of God’s goodness. I do not say this as boasting but it just is what it is. Why are these meetings worth looking forward to? Because we pray together (see picture above from Wednesday night).
Church business meetings are not really about business; they are about ministry. They are about snapshots of God’s grace in the life of Christ’s Bride. They about entreating the Lord to be with us in the coming year. They are about pressing on with the gospel against the gates of hell. They are about prayer.
Really, prayer? Yes, really. Consider the first business meeting held after Christ’s ascension. The disciples gathered, probably a little shell-shocked that Jesus vanished into thin air, left them here to wait for some sort of Helper to come and to carry out some sort of mission until He comes. Whoa, talk about a daunting backdrop to a business meeting! There is no financial plan, no programs to discuss and debate, and no Robert’s Rules of Order for goodness sakes! No, there is only a mission; spread the good news of Jesus. So what did they do? They prayed. In fact, they prayed with one accord or one mind.
“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…and in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples …” Acts 1:14-15
They needed to get organized and sort out what to do so they prayed with one mind. They were unified. Oh, I’m sure they didn’t agree on everything; Acts, after all, lays out disagreements the apostles had about theology as it was forming in the early years and methodology. But they were on the same team! They had each other’s back. A church that prays together stays together!
Here are four brief reasons why a church that prays together stays together even during business meetings:
1. Prayer sets the heart agenda. You cannot in good conscience do and say the opposite of what you pray. You know to do so makes you a hypocrite. It is really hard for a person of genuine prayer to be selfish and mean-spirited.
2. Prayer is a sort of supernatural glue for a church. It binds us spiritually together. Try praying this; “God please decimate this body, tear it apart.” You can’t pray that can you? Why? You know it would be sin to do so. You know God’s will is for a united body. But if you skip the whole praying thing you can easily carry a divisive spirit with you.
3. Prayer causes us to go to God for the spiritual betterment of each other. Try praying this; “God please curse Chuck with struggles and temptations so he will fail and spare me from such so I will not.” Puh-lease. If you are regularly praying for others you will strongly desire their spiritual progress and victories. Which “BTW” will lead to a growing church and celebratory business meetings!
4. It forces us to agree with God’s plan and purpose not ours. Try praying this; “God, I know your Word says (fill in the blank) but I want…” Yeah, not expecting that one to get past the ceiling are you? Prayer has this nasty little way of making us think biblically and that is awfully good for us.
A church that prays together moves forward together and business meetings are about how we will move forward. It seemed all those early disciples knew to do was pray. But that season of prayer drew them together, set their hearts agenda, strengthened their friendship and gave them thinking that aligned with the Word of God (Acts 1:16-20). That is a great place for any church to be as they meet for their annual business meeting.