The Great Commission
“18 Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 18:18-20).
Tucked into the hills just about seven miles north of downtown Leesburg is a 50 year-old diamond in the rough property that is being cleaned and polished in an effort to prepare it for the next 50 years. The Freedom Center (http://www.freedomcenter.us) is a 100-acre school, camp and retreat facility near Taylorstown Road and two miles west of the village of Lucketts. On Saturday, October 15, as the early fall colors were breaking out in the Loudoun woods, the center was again host to a number of pastors, ministry leaders and worship teams who gathered there to participate in a day of prayer.
Community Prayer Watch, in association with Intercessors for America, held the third Pastors’ Prayer Retreat from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The pastors attending represented various church denominations and came from all four corners of the county to join in united prayer for God’s blessings on all the churches and all 312,000 citizens of Loudoun. The Prayer Watch coordinators are praying to realize an increase in the number of such gatherings and in pastoral participation across Loudoun County and Northern Virginia. For more information on other community-wide prayer opportunities go to http://www.communityprayerwatch.net.
The Community Prayer Watch advisors and coordinators welcomed everyone for setting aside this time to enhance prayer, unity and fellowship among the Christian pastors of Loudoun County! They commended all participants for making this a prayer retreat a priority which is most advantageous for God’s blessing on His work through the various churches of the county and beyond.
All agreed to experience the active presence of God and find strategic direction and empowerment for accomplishing the goals of gospel ministry together in and through our Churches. Our hearts are prepared to intercede and to receive from heaven a personal vision for worship that will enhance unity and please our Lord.
Bill LaRock of Community Prayer Watch facilitated the meeting. Two prayer themes were addressed. The first was Corporate Responsibility, of church leaders in particular, as it relates to maintaining a regional spiritual climate acceptable to God. The second was Corporate Mandates from Jesus to the church and our responsibility to have constant primary reference to them in determining our ministry and life priorities such that we will not be ashamed when we one day face Jesus as the Judge of our stewardship.
Pastors were invited to break into groups of four or five and discuss corporate responsibility and corporate mandates as they pertain to their church community. My group discussed John 17:20-23, “20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Did Jesus intend for us to share in the eternal unity of the Father and Son? We do share in the life of God and strive for the divine nature as 2 Peter 1:3-4 instructed us. We become fully human by the Spirit’s transforming power making us more and more like Jesus.
We do not believe that Jesus desires us to all join the same church or that we will all agree on every point of doctrine. Jesus wants us to become more and more like the relational Trinity, loving each other in a way that embraces our human relationships, by the Spirit, in Christ. Did Apostle Paul give his life for this unity? Do church leaders mandate this in their labors in our local churches or do they seek large congregations, bigger infrastructures and huge worship services on Sunday? Our group prayed that a movement of the Spirit, a movement that seeks for this relational unity to grow all over the world. We prayed that many will see this simple and profound truth and join us in this movement of God for the visible unity of His whole church. Jesus desires us to come to “complete unity.”
Bo Cook, Missionary with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) attended and led the time of worship. Bo stated, “God is doing an amazing work in Loudoun County as Pastors from different denominations are coming together united in one purpose to seek God’s face and pray for a sustained move of His Spirit in this region. Our hearts were united as we lifted our voices in worship to God. We talked about corporate responsibility and corporate repentance. There is a corporate responsibility for sin that happens on our watch. We repented for the sins of materialism, spiritual poverty and pride in our county. We repented for disunity in the churches of our county. God’s mandate is for the Church to be one. I personally was touched by seeing humble hearts come together willing to acknowledge our sin and repent and ask God to forgive and heal our land. Psalm 133 says, ‘When brothers come together in unity [...] there the Lord bestows His blessing.’ What great blessing it is when Pastors come together as one to worship and pray together. It is this kind of unity that pleases the heart of the Father, draws His attention and helps prepare the way for God to come move in our communities, county and region. Prayer and worship stir the heart of the Father!”
Adriel Henriquez and Iglesia Cristiana Nuevo Renacer’s (which roughly translates to New Revival Church) praise team provided the worship music. The band’s name is Re7ma. They use the prefix “Re” because it is the prefix for many words that describe parts of God’s redemptive work for mankind (REsurrection, REvival, REbirth, REnew, etc.). “7” is used because it is associated with God’s work and completeness. Without pronouncing the “7,” the band’s name reads Rema: when the Word becomes alive inside you and on your surroundings.
The worship team members were Wilson Ramirez on piano, Adonay Henriquez on guitar, Pablo Henriquez on soprano sax, Moises Henriquez on djembe, and Adriel Henriquez on lead vocals and bass. The band played “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” and “Open the Eyes of My Heart.”
The pastors and laymen that attended the prayer retreat are as follows: Reverend Dean Schultz, Church of the Holy Spirit, Leesburg; Pastor Darryl Gilbert, Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Leesburg; Reverend Jack Stagman, Transformation Forum, Purcellville; Rector Clancy Nixon, Church of the Holy Spirit; Pastor Lyman Eddy, Elijah Gate, North Leesburg; Pastor Lee Crosby, Mt. Olivet United Methodist, Lovettsville; Wendell Libby, Elijah Gate; Reverend Paul Campbell, Abundant Life Ministries, Hamilton; Bo Cook, Missionary with YWAM (Youth with a Mission), Leesburg; Bishop Kevin Treadwell, The Living Word Church of Jesus Christ, Leesburg; Bob Royce, missionary recently moved to Leesburg from Toronto; Sapir Adil, Rivers of Living Water, Israel; Pastor Ken Grenfell, Free Life Church, Leesburg; Bill LaRock, Free Life Church; Pastor Salvador Henriquez, Iglesia Christiana Nuevo Renacer, Leesburg; Mark Gunderman, Good Shepherd Alliance, Ashburn; Pastor Mike Mattar, Hope Fellowship Church, Sterling; Claude Kikoni, Hope Fellowship; and Pastor Bill Lee, Purcellville Christ Fellowship. A special thanks for the service of two intercessors; Beth LaRock and Odessa Criales-Smith of Free Life Church for attending in support efforts.
PASTORS PRAYER RETREAT AGENDA
OCTOBER 15, 2011
9:00 Welcome & Coffee
10:10 Prayer Point #1 Intro: Corporate Responsibility & Corporate Repentance
Lamentations 5:7, Deuteronomy 21:1-9, 2 Samuel 21:1-14, Revelations 2:14-16 and Judges 9.
11:20 Thoughts on Regional Transformation: Bob Royce
11:30 Prayer Point # 2 Intro: Corporate Mandates from the Master
Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-18, John 17:20-23, Matthew 6:9-10 and Matthew 9:37-38.
“Righteousness goes before Him, and prepares the way for His steps” (Psalm 85:13).