Objectives, Tools, & Recommendations
Has God’s heart for the nations become your heart? Wishing you could do something significant in behalf of one of the 6700 unreached people groups in the world? You can. Start a prayer network to intercede in behalf of a people group. Prayer will soon result in vision and collaboration!
To start the network you'll need to answer some questions. The Pray4Tunisia partnership is used an example of how you might answer the questions.
1. What is the objective of the prayer network?
- Example: The Pray4Tunisia network promotes “strategic prayer for a church multiplication movement”
2. What prayer will help accomplish those objectives?
- Example: The Pray4Tunisia network prays about issues that David Garrison's research indicates have been extremely strategic in past church multiplication movements. The prayer network doesn’t promote prayer for other stuff, even if it’s “good,” too. Click here to download (and adjust for your purposes!) over 365 samples of past Pray4Tunisia prayer requests.
3. What’s a short, descriptive, memorable name for the network?
- Example: Pray4Tunisia
4. What tools will help our network?
At the very least you’ll need an email address
- An option for a free email address is to sign up for an account at www.gmail.com
You’ll also want create an account at www.MailChimp.com
- Cost = free up to 1000 subscribers
- Allows subscribers to add/remove themselves from mailing lists
- Permits you to schedule when emails will be sent
- Can be configured to automatically post the content of your emails to Facebook and/or Twitter once you have all those accounts made
- Has great/free customer service
- Has some great templates to let you customize the looks of your emails
Additionally you might want to make a Facebook Fan Page.
- Fan Pages are like interactive websites where you and/or fans can share prayers, videos, or whatever digital content is desired.
- Cost = free
- Recommendations: Upload some pictures to your Fan Page. Understand that the Administrator’s name may be accessible to others (which for some networks may create a security concern).
- Example: Facebook.com/Pray4Tunisia
You may also want to create a Twitter account.
- Twitter accounts let you share your prayer information in the form of “micro blogs” that Twitter calls “Tweets”
- Cost = free
- Recommendations: Choose a short, descriptive, memorable name
- Example: Twitter.com/Pray4Tunisia
You may eventually want to create a blog
If you are tech savvy (or a bit tenacious in learning) you might want to make a website
- Cost = +/- $100/year
- Will let you choose your domain name
- Will let you make as many email accounts with your domain name as you want
- Recommendation: Hostmoster.com has good service and competitive prices
- Example: Pray4Tunisia.com
5. Will you need to control content?
- Example: Pray4Tunisia.com promotes prayer for an Islamic nation where Christians have been persecuted for years. Because it’s virtually impossible to make sure that a large network will uniformly apply good security protocol, we decided to allow open access to the network but to rigorously control what information is shared. Details that would endanger believers are left out.
- Choose good passwords for your accounts
- Empower people to not only read the prayers you share, but to share their own via social media like Facebook and Twitter
- Vary content (pictures, maps, stats, testimonies, videos, praises, petitions)
- Seek ideas for your content and network by studying what other networks are doing
- Be concise (1-3 lines is probably ideal)
- Don’t fill inboxes (1 email per day at the very, very maximum)
- Consider letting people subscribe to emails without having to share their names if there is a security issue (for example in prayer networks for Islamic people groups)
- Get a simple/clean logo/image
- Consider using prayerguard.net which allows you to create an account for your people group and will automatically generate three short prayer points for each session that your website is visited or for those who sign-up for your emails.
- Empower people who join to see themselves as prayer mobilizers, too. If you use MailChimp schedule automated emails for them to get a week, 2 weeks, a month, etc. after signing up to give them ideas about how they could engage others.
- In terms of boosting #s of people who are engaged, it seems strategic to engage groups w/ the vision (church camps, churches, Sunday school classes, conferences, etc.)
- Determine what search words you want to point to your network, do that search, then contact the websites that appear and ask them to add a link to your website/blog.
- Some videos, compelling pics, rubber bracelets, attractive prayer cards, etc. along the way would be a great idea, too. Don’t let what you can’t do (now) stop what you can, though!
- Get someone who is gifted to write and record prayer songs that churches could use.
EXAMPLES OF USEFUL ONLINE SERVICES FOR PRAYER NETWORKS
The website promotes strategic prayer for a church multiplication movement in Tunisia. It offers prayer resources, news, testimonies, and a way for partners to sign up for daily updates.
Pray4Tunisia.com is made on a Joomla 1.5 platform and uses a free component called JoomFish that allows partners to translate the site into other languages. Video, the website/domain name itself, and external links are problematic, though.
Twitter users follow 140-or-less character micro-blogs that can range from prayer requests to testimonies to media. Twitter followers can then share (ReTweet) them to their followers.
Facebook is a great way to let everyone in a prayer network share related videos, pictures, testimonies, prayer requests.
Wordpress is a free and surprisingly robust option for a prayer network. Pray4Tunisia already had its website, but still made a free account and linked it to the others via Posterous, just to help increase awareness of the partnership.
Doesn't seem quite as powerful as Wordpress, but has its followers, too. Again, Pray4Tunisia made it because it could integrate seamlessly with the Posterous account and ultimately that should help people who Google "pray" or "Tunisia".