Week of Prayer: September 11 - 18

Day 1: Small Town Churches

Ninety percent of Illinois communities are under 20,000. Hundreds of IBSA churches in small-town and rural settings were founded as missionaries to their communities. Faithful older church members often play a key role in turning the direction of a church and reaching the next generation for Christ. As Illinois’ culture changes, it’s vital for churches to recapture their missionary identity, reaching the lost next door and planting new churches.

Pray for IBSA’s Scott Harris as he leads evangelism trainings and consultations in small-town churches. Pray that a missionary spirit to reach lost neighbors would reignite in each small-town church in Illinois.

Day 2: Underreached rural counties  

Ten Illinois counties and many small communities have no evangelistic Baptist church. Numerous counties currently have only one IBSA church. Low population density and isolation make these areas challenging mission fields, but rural central and northern Illinois need new churches. IBSA and the Sinnissippi Baptist Association are ready to plant in the rural town of Polo but need a church planter.

Pray that God will provide the right church planter for Sinnissippi Association Mission Strategist, Chris Nolin, as he works to start a new church plant to take the gospel to a rural part of Illinois where no IBSA church exists.

Day 3:  Replants in blue-collar cities

Economic changes have been hard on Illinois’ blue-collar cities. Churches have also struggled to adapt to these changing neighborhoods. Planters like Tom Gensler and Logos church are giving new missionary life to properties that once housed faithful churches. 

Pray for those replanting new congregations where existing churches faithfully stood in Illinois’ working-class cities like Decatur.

Day 4: IBSA evangelism and missions

Evangelism and missions trainings provide encouragement, skills, and a spark. When pastor Jay Loucks attended an evangelism event it encouraged him as he helped Wayne City Baptist members engage their lost neighbors.  

Pray for IBSA’s Scott Harris and Shannon Ford as they lead missions and evangelism trainings to help existing churches serve their neighborhoods and reach the lost in their communities.

Day 5: Campus ministers 

Almost 400,000 students study on the campuses of Illinois universities. Living away from home for the first time and confronted with new ideas and freedoms, many experience emotional, spiritual, and moral challenges.

Pray for campus ministers like Mike Klunke, who serves at Illinois State University. They offer the hope of Jesus to students and disciple young believers during a critical life season.

Day 6: Ethnic church planters 

The nations have come to Illinois seeking opportunity and education. Immersed in a different culture and a new language, they often face loneliness and isolation. Ethnic churches can reach immigrants and students through their heart language and culture. 

Pray for ethnic church planters like Thomas Li, from China, and Jacob Lee, from South Korea, as they lead churches reaching immigrants and foreign students. 

Day 7: Chicagoland churches

With over 8 million people and a wide diversity of ethnicities, languages, and cultures, Chicago and its suburbs need more laborers for the harvest and more partners for the laborers.  

Pray for church planters like Jon Kelly (Austin neighborhood) and Sean Stevenson (Elmwood Park) as they grow life-changing gospel communities in their urban and suburban neighborhoods of Chicago.

Day 8: IBSA Church Planting

IBSA has helped plant 188 new churches over the past decade, with 18 more planned by year-end. To see an increase in the number of missionary churches in Illinois, IBSA Church Planting recruits sending churches, prepares planters, and supports existing church plants.

Pray for IBSA’s Kevin Jones, Paul Westbrook, and John Yi as they recruit, train, and support new churches and planters.