Week of Prayer: September 13 - 20

Day 1: Reaching Neighbors

Brad Lovin has made his family home a welcome place in their neighborhood. With his military background and missionary experience, Brad hoped to share the gospel with underreached people, even here in Illinois. When the Lovins and their five children relocated from the country to the city, they desired to meet their neighbors and share the gospel. They host frequent community dinners where faith is discussed, encountering 11 people groups so far. As IBSA’s Missions Director, Brad facilitates the work of Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief. And he encourages making the neighborhood a focal point for outreach.
Pray for the salvation of 3.2 million international people in Illinois. Pray for strong mission networks to be established in our churches, advancing the kingdom among least reached peoples right on our doorstep.

Watch Vital Plan

Day 2: Spirit-led evangelism

When Scott Harris came to his new position with IBSA, he had one aim in mind: “We are praying for a Holy Spirit-directed gospel movement to sweep across our state.” And he urges everyone involved with IBSA to join him. As Administrative Director of the Missions Team, Scott leads evangelism, including the new Ignite conference, to spur sharing Christ in and through our churches. With more than 8-million lost people in Illinois, the need for believers who share their faith is great. Pray for a fresh move of the Spirit, starting in IBSA churches and spreading across Illinois. Pray for recovery from effects of the pandemic on baptism rates in most churches.

Day 3: Statewide network

Bryan Price is “our guy nearby”—one of IBSA’s representatives in 10 zones across Illinois. Along with Nathan Carter, Bryan serves pastors in Chicagoland, even while pastoring a congregation in suburban Romeoville. Zone consultants offer best practices for ministries, solutions for problems, current strategies, and insight. For some pastors, the challenge may involve sheer numbers. Metro East St. Louis has almost one million residents, and the Chicago region tops 8 million. Or for pastors in rural areas, the issue may be distance. Four million Illinoisans live in non-urban areas. Pastors in the IBSA network of almost 1,000 churches welcome statewide connections, mission partnership, and friendship.

Pray for Bryan and all zone consultants to develop fruitful relationships with pastors and church leaders. Pray for strengthening of the IBSA church network to grow our mission partnership.

Watch Vital Partners

Day 4: Rebuilding churches

When churches closed because of the pandemic, Scott Foshie found open doors. Pastors needed ministry insight and online resources for serving their churches and communities, even in quarantine. Scott and the IBSA Church Health Team quickly turned to meeting those needs through webinar and downloadable instruction. Now, the lessons learned are proving beneficial as churches recognize the ongoing need for revitalization. Across the nation, 80% of churches are plateaued or declining—including our Southern Baptist churches. Revitalization is a very necessary process for all churches, and IBSA is partnering for fresh ministry vision and development.

Pray for pastors leading through revitalization to have the strength, resources, and encouragement they need as they seek God to bring turnaround in the churches they serve.

Day 5: Effective Women

Carmen Halsey has a passion for growing leaders. She especially desires to raise up young women as leaders in their churches and in mission work across Illinois. For Carmen, every meeting, mission trip, and relationship is opportunity to learn from other women, and to share the platform for the cause of Christ. Carmen wears two hats. She serves as one of IBSA’s Leadership Development Directors, and she guides the mission ministry of Illinois Baptist Women. This growing and vital ministry mobilizes women through their local churches to all corners of the state and the globe.

Pray for women leaders in all our churches. Ask for wisdom in stewarding the resources that have been provided for equipping and developing the next generation of women in missions and ministry.

Watch Vital Patchwork

Day 6: Young Adults

Many Illinois Baptists can trace a period of personal spiritual growth to their years in college, and the influence of Baptist campus ministry at their schools. Today, the campus setting is more challenging than ever, and the need for the gospel there grows with each passing year. So does the opportunity. Church Planting Director Kevin Jones leads IBSA’s ministry to college campuses. He resources and encourages campus ministries. He also helps nearby churches establish vision to reach their young neighbors.

Pray that we will continue to see multiplication of ministry that spreads to other campuses. Pray that God will continue to raise up planters from our IBSA churches, and for pastors to embrace the calling to send out leaders to start new works.

Day 7: People Groups

As a church planting partner with IBSA, John Yi focuses on new ethnic congregations and second-gen church plants. In Illinois, 3 million people speak English as their second language. Of those, 1.8 million are Hispanic. IBSA aids church starts among many people groups. As the founding pastor of a Korean congregation, John also started a community ministry in Maywood, and has assisted new Asian congregations in Mt. Prospect and elsewhere in Chicagoland. Like all the IBSA church planting team, John’s heart cry is for revival among Illinois Baptist churches, and for the birth of new churches in all people groups and languages.

Pray that God will unite our churches around his mission for Illinois and for our large urban mission fields. Pray for more partnering churches and planters.

Watch Vital Planting