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Praying for the Denomination

March 8, 2023
Participants at the Prayer Catalyst Gathering
Participants at the Prayer Catalyst Gathering

Approximately 40 people gathered at All Nations Church in Lake View Terrace, Calif., in February for the first Prayer Catalyst Gathering of the CRCNA.

“There was no agenda for our time other than spending time in prayer,” explained Jon Hoekema, denominational prayer shepherd and one of the organizers of the event. “There were no speakers, no workshops — rather, it was a time devoted to prayer and listening to the Spirit.”

“There was a threefold purpose to this event — prayer, connection, and discernment,” added Moses Chung, director of mission innovation for Resonate Global Mission and another of the event’s organizers. “We wanted to discern the will of the Lord for our own lives, our families, our churches, and God’s world.”

While the CRCNA has had prayer summits in the past, often planned and organized by Korean Ministry leaders of the denomination, this prayer catalyst event had a slightly different approach. Rather than being a large conference open to anyone who wanted to attend, this was an intentionally small gathering of men and women who have a role — formally or informally — in leading prayer in their congregation or classis.

“Four people in attendance serve as prayer coordinators for their classis,” explained Hoekema. “This is a position that I’m so excited to see take off within our denomination. When we pray and allow the Holy Spirit to lead, the Holy Spirit meets us where we are and works in us how we need. Our churches and classes need this, especially in today’s challenging times.”

Other attendees, while not having a formal role in their classis, were selected by their classis to attend because they are known to be spiritually discerning and prayerful individuals who care deeply about the church.

“These are the prayer leaders of congregations, classes, regions, and the denomination. We want them to get to know one another and be connected so that we can support more grassroots prayer movements in the CRCNA,” said Chung.

Each day began with extended praise. The facilitators (Jon Hoekema, Moses Chung, and Kyle Haack) then guided additional prayer as they felt the Spirit's leading.

“Being together with no other agenda than to seek the face of God allowed God to work in us and build us in community together,” reflected Hoekema. “The value of being together and praying focused us on God.”

Participants agreed.

“I confess that I have sometimes felt quite isolated in my role as a classis prayer coordinator,” said Katy Spengler from Classis Grand Rapids North. “This event gave me a greater sense of connection to others and will help me move forward powerfully, coming together with others on our knees, seeking to follow our most worthy Lord.”

“I’m a pastor, and you can get so busy in the work of ministry that you forget what really matters. This was a good way for me to take two days to be in prayer and have other people hold me accountable to be in prayer,” added Fred Harvey II, pastor at Spirit and Truth Fellowship CRC in Philadelphia, Pa. “We can’t pretend that the church doesn’t have some critical issues right now. I hope that God will be pleased to make use of this time to shape his church.”

In addition, the experience had a profound impact on those who participated.

“The Lord encouraged and empowered me through a season of darkness. As a whole, I believe we shared an experience that we would take throughout our lives. It cannot be erased from my mind,” said Erick Rodriguez, pastor at Sovereign Grace Community CRC in Moreno Valley, Calif.

“The Spirit led the participants to acknowledge their brokenness and emptiness before the majesty of the eternal God,” said Zachary King, general secretary of the CRCNA. “Only when his people are in a state of brokenness and emptiness will God fill them up with power, joy, energy, and revival for mission and ministry. Our deep prayer is that God will allow this experience to catalyze a movement of emptying among CRC leaders and members so that God can fill us with his Spirit.”