Prayer leaders across Southern Baptist life have a new opportunity to connect through "Pray SBC." Launched March 18, Pray SBC is a Facebook group for members to share expertise, ask questions and offer ideas to "foster a culture of Kingdom-focused prayer toward revival and spiritual awakening," according to the group's description. The "C" represents a Southern Baptist Community of churches praying in concert with one another.
The page will be maintained by SBC PrayerLink, a network of prayer leaders from Southern Baptist Convention entities, state conventions, associations, ethnic fellowships and local churches.
"The idea for Pray SBC came about as members of SBC and PrayerLink leadership discussed the amazing platform social media provides for mobilizing prayer," said Ronda Davenport, prayer ministry coordinator at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., and a Pray SBC administrator.
"We want to make ideas, resources and personal connections with other prayer leaders available in a Facebook community because it is an easy and effective avenue to reach many who influence prayer," Davenport told Baptist Press.
Eight original members spent some time populating the page before it opened to new members. Some of the topics already shared include the upcoming National Day of Prayer; resources available through "In All Things Pray," an SBC prayer resource; prayer movements that are springing up around the country; and recommended books about prayer.
Church-recognized prayer leaders, both lay leaders and staff, can join by searching for Pray SBC on Facebook. They will need to identify themselves and the church they represent and enter their church's seven-digit SBC ID number, which is used by the church clerk or pastor to submit an Annual Church Profile.
All group members are encouraged to introduce themselves, ask questions, share ideas and dive into discussions, Davenport said.
Chris Schofield, director of the prayer office at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, told BP that PrayerLink's goal with the Pray SBC Facebook group is to move the convention toward a culture of prayer focused on Kingdom activity.
"We need the Lord desperately in revival and spiritual awakening, and this group is very committed and devoted to doing whatever it is we can to help fan those flames of God's activity in calling His people to return to Him in godliness and holiness and to seek Him with all their heart," said Schofield, who serves in a volunteer capacity as executive director of PrayerLink.
Lorna Bius, a North American Mission Board worker and PrayerLink leader who helped brainstorm the idea for Pray SBC, described it as "an online gathering of individuals in the SBC who desire to pray and seek a movement of God across our nation and the world."
"The group focuses on prayer influencers," Bius said, "whether they are staff or non-staff. Our hope is through interaction and awareness of resources, individual and corporate prayer will be strengthened."
A main impetus for the development of Pray SBC was an article published in SBC LIFE last fall about the War Room prayer ministry at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. The article mentioned that the church uses a specific plan to lead people in praying through the Word, and the church received numerous requests for a copy of the plan.
Phyllis Ingram, a prayer ministry leader at First Baptist Montgomery and a member of the SBC Executive Committee, told Baptist Press that since the topic of sexual abuse gained traction in the SBC early this year she has been "grieved and praying for repentance" among churches and among their members.
"But now I see that another sin is prayerlessness among the church," Ingram said. "... God is calling His people to repentance and prayer so He can bring revival and spiritual awakening. From the SBC LIFE article, the prayer leaders and pastors that have reached out to FBC for a copy of the prayer plan has been amazing."
Now the SBC LIFE article and a PDF of the War Room prayer plan are posted on the Pray SBC Facebook page for broader dissemination.
Pray SBC is meant "to provide prayer resources to churches who want to start a prayer ministry, or they have a prayer ministry but want to expand to include more people and more prayer times," Ingram said.
Schofield is hopeful about the eternal implications of the Facebook group.
"I'm excited about the possibilities of prayer leaders being encouraged, about seeing the activity of God online -- what He's doing here, what He's doing there -- and how that might encourage them to adopt an approach or a method, or an idea might be shared that will encourage and will result in more and more people seeking the Lord," Schofield said.
Aside from Facebook, more information about prayer ministry in the convention is available at www.sbcprayerlink.org.
Erin Roach is a writer in Nashville. This story originally appeared in Baptist Press: http://bpnews.net/52601/pray-sbc-on-facebook-connects-prayer-leaders