A Vibrant Prayer Ministry Grows in Brooklyn
By Ann Saigeon
It was March 2007. Noreen Williams-Gibbs--a member of Grace Reformed Church in Brooklyn for a few years, but uninvolved and barely acquainted with anyone in the congregation--sensed God calling her to revitalize Grace Reformed's prayer ministry.
"The mission was clear and the details were specific," she says. She was to call together a group of people to meet after church every Sunday to pray for the pastor, other church leaders, and the congregation. Gibbs prayed for more direction and God gave her the names of five women to assist with the ministry.
"Four of the women I had never conversed with before," she says. "I gave each of them a letter explaining the call and inviting them to join me in ministry. I then wrote to the consistory advising them that I was called to revitalize the prayer ministry."
Williams-Gibbs's background had prepared her to take on the task God had given her. She has worked in Christian teaching and equipping for 23 years and is the founder of Christ Centered Coaching and Equipping Ministries.
The consistory blessed her call, and the following Sunday an announcement was made about the ministry, asking people who were interested to meet at the back of the sanctuary after worship. Twenty women, ranging in age from 30 to 80, responded.
Three and a half years later, the ministry is now led by Jillan Deallie. Williams-Gibbs serves as an elder at Grace and the prayer ministry continues to meet every Sunday after church, and twice more during the week. "Our Friday meetings are laced with prayer, grounded in studying and applying the Word of God to our lives," says Williams-Gibbs. The prayer ministry members also have prayer partners with whom they pray daily at different times of the day. "We hold each other accountable and we challenge each other to live what we learn."
The ministry is comprised of teams or small groups, each with a team leader. For seven months the leaders met with Williams-Gibbs every Saturday morning for two hours of small-group leadership training.
The visitation team visits people from the church community and the larger community who are sick or unable to leave their places of residence, including people in hospitals and nursing homes. There is also an evangelism team, an intercessory team, an encouragement team, and an event planning team that has planned huge Christmas and Easter celebrations that are open to and well attended by the wider community.
The prayer ministry has grown to 32 members. "We are involved in each other's lives," says Williams-Gibbs. "We are comfortable in each other's homes and with each other's families. We eat together, laugh together, and braid each other's hair. We are living the Christian life in community as God intended it to be."
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