Locating, Growing and Incorporating Intercessors for Your Ministry

Locating, Growing and Incorporating Intercessors for Your Ministry


Incorporating those who pray over you and your vision for church planting seems like a no brainer. But how do you identify these persons and better yet, how do you keep them praying?

When asking someone to pray for you concerning a specific mission, often the response is to receive a yawn, then a look in another direction and finally a nonchalant response like, “Uh, yeah, ok.”


But it doesn’t have to be that way. My wife and I were on the lookout for a small band of persons who loved us, loved what we were called to and wanted to know more about that call. It was also advantageous for them to have a heart to pray for us. We watched and waited and soon discovered there were such persons in our lives. We approached them with the question, “Hey, we really appreciate your personal interest, your questions about what we’re doing and your heart to even mention praying for us, would you be interested in joining a team of intercessors?”


You have identified them and you approach them. Rarely have we had someone approach us. Most persons do not even think in those terms, but when you define the prayer ministry description and how you will not inundate them with daily email, they normally respond with a resounding yes. We ask for a one-year commitment only. At the end of each year, we approach them and ask if they would like to continue to serve in the intercessory role for another year.


Obviously this person loves to pray as well. You know they have a committed relationship to God and are mature enough to not be seeking information about your personal life, but rather long for you and your vision to succeed. These are persons whom you have not just met at a first time gathering, but are persons who you have a track record with and you’re aware of their faithful heart.


We will email prayer requests that are both personal and ministry oriented. We have that level of confidence in our team. Speaking of confidence, we ask that everything we share remain confidential – between them and their heavenly Father only. Normally we email them twice a month with a brief as possible prayer update. Please note, these email prayer requests, updates and praises need to be consistent from you to them or you will send the message that the intercessors are an afterthought.


We tell our intercessors that we are not looking for return email unless Holy Sprit speaks something to them and they are compelled to respond with a scripture, a prophetic word or an encouragement. Otherwise we have no expectation of ongoing email conversation.


Some persons we know meet face-to-face with their team, but our team is spread all over the USA and that simply is not possible. When we can, we will meet individually with members. We also pray for them and regularly thank them for voluntarily being a part of the ministry. And, at Christmas time we’ll remember them with a card of thanks and sometimes a gift.


All in all, we take confidence in the Father calling these persons to us, having developed a heart for prayer and we find reassurance through the protection in offensive and defensive personal prayer for our travel, our speaking and our oversight ministry. You can enjoy this same reassurance in the Spirit with a team of intercessors. Start with one committed person and grow a team from there. You’ll immediately be aware of the benefits.

  • Steve Prokopchak


Steve serves full-time as a pastoral overseer at DOVE Christian Fellowship International, a ministry which takes him all over the globe teaching, training, and supporting church leaders.

Don’t Stop Pouring

Don’t Stop Pouring

In Steve Backlund’s book “Help I’m a Pastor” he talks about pastors not trying to grow big churches but rather growing “Big People”. Many leaders spend a lot of time developing the best strategies, systems or programs. As leaders, we are called to the development of people. 

When we put our time and effort into building “big people” their skills and talents can shine in turn to also build others. This is the most powerful way to build the church. It is the model of spiritual parenting that we speak about in DOVE. It is the model that Paul describes in 2 Timothy 2:2


2 Timothy 2:2

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”


It is the picture of a cup pouring into other cups which pour into other cups which allows for exponential growth, eventually turning into a rushing river of God’s kingdom flowing into lives. Investing our time energy and effort into people will not be lost. There may be some who disappoint, this even happened to Jesus. But don’t stop pouring!


Jesus tells the parable of the farmer sowing seed in Luke chapter 8. What would have happened if the farmer stopped sowing when he discovered his seed was falling on the path or the rocks or the thorns? He would not have received the harvest from the good soil!


Many times when dealing with the lives of people, you cannot determine the condition of the soil of their lives. But one thing that you can determine is how much seed you will sow. You cannot control whether or not someone will receive from you, but you can decide if you are going to continue to sow. That is something that you can control!


I heard someone say, “in business, you have to control what is controllable”. Meaning there are things that you have control over and there are things you don’t. By the way, never allow something that you don’t have control over to convince you that you are a failure. But do take responsibility for those things that you do have control over. You have control over if and how much you will continue to pour into other people. Let us decide now to never stop being one who sows.

Galatians 6:9

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

  • Merle Shenk

Merle Shenk serves on the DOVE International apostolic council and is the associate pastor at Newport Church.


A Work in Progress

Church planting, like any other future vision, is a work in progress. For those who think the process is taking entirely too long, I invite you to look at the prophet Habakkuk where he talks about vision.

Hab 2:3

 “This vision is for a future time.

It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.

If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,

for it will surely take place.

It will not be delayed.” (NLT)

Full Term

Vision is for a future time and in the end it will come to pass but the nature of vision is that it takes time to be fulfilled and that is something that we need to come to grips with. Especially for those who have trouble waiting on things to come full term. A baby takes nine months to be fully developed in it mother’s womb and if it comes too early there can be complications that develop with it. The same can be true of vision. A vison birthed too soon often carries complications and challenges that wouldn’t necessarily be there if the proper time of development would have been allotted.

The Place you are going…

There is the development of the vision that takes time and then there is also the development of the individual. Make no mistake, God is using today’s circumstances to develop you for the future plans He has for you. I was going through a very challenging season of my life in business one time and I was spending time with the Lord asking Him questions about my future, the future of the business, while trying to discern His will for my life. I will never forget the words He quietly spoke to my heart. “The place where you are going, the pressure is much greater than you are experiencing here, this is training ground for you!” From that time forward I looked at challenging situations in a totally different light. What is He trying to teach me? What can I learn from this life situation? It was totally freeing for me and caused me to embrace challenges vs. run from them.

Looking Back

It was almost seven years later that I woke up one morning and the first thought on my mind was, “hard pressed but not destroyed”. I was pastoring a local church at the time while also providing leadership on a larger scale. I was encountering significant challenges on a number of fronts hence the initial wake up thought. All of a sudden I realized that I was trained for this very moment many years earlier. Had I not gone through that period of challenging circumstances in business, I would not have been as prepared to handle the current situation I found myself in.

Learning in Waiting

Is your vision seemingly slow in coming? Like the prophet says, “…Wait patiently, for it will surely take place.” And I would also add, while you wait, learn all you can because when it comes, you personally being ready will make all the difference to its success!

Ron Myer

DOVE  USA Apostolic Team Leader


Phases of Church-Planting

Phases of church-planting:


Around 4 years into planting our church I met a well-known minister from Texas who was involved in planting several hundred churches. He told me about the 3 phases of church planting. I adapted some of that insight with my own perspective here. Understand that this is not set in stone but I found it as a helpful guide in managing expectations. I truly also believe that coaching and mentoring can cut the time frame of these phases significantly. These phases only start after the church plant is already initiated.

Phase 1

The first phase of church planting is a period of time where God develops the primary leader. The first several years of planting a church, the primary leader learns a lot about themselves. They learn about their call, how their strengths and weaknesses function in a ministry where they are the primary leader. They learn about how the gifting that God has given them actually works and interacts with others. New ideas are tried and some work and stick.


Many people can come and go in the new church plant. Some are drawn by the fact that many times a new church plant is smaller and there is more specialized attention and focus on their needs being met.


Phase 2

The next phase can range from a couple months to a couple year period where the ministry team begins to really develop and solidify around the primary leader’s vision and way of working. The ministry team, even if they were present from the beginning, can go through a development process as initial expectations are clarified and adjusted. New team members may also come on board in this phase.


Many times how the team functions together is clarified and refined in this process. New and clearer ways of communication are developed. The vision of the primary leader is sharpened and refined by the gifting, focus, and commitment of other team members. Communication, preferences and ways of functioning together are further defined and developed. Unmet expectations, inter-personal challenges and frustrations are brought to light and resolved. This creates a more empowered team and team environment.

This phase is where the team members also discover how their strengths and weaknesses work together with one another as well as with the primary leader. The team begins to function as a well-oiled mechanism as everyone begins to work in his or her strengths and calling. Everyone is not only “on the bus” but they are in the “right seats”. The church begins to really benefit from a cohesive team working together in their callings.


Phase 3

The next phase is really where the church itself begins to develop and grow. The vision begins to be accomplished through the buy-in of church members. Members receive safety from observing a well-functioning team that honors each other and works well together. Members receive wisdom and vision from what God is speaking to and through the leaders. New members are added and stay. More teams are developed that are focused on accomplishing new vision and God-given specific objectives.


These 3 phases are not comprehensive but more representative of what a church-plant and leaders go through in the process. Knowing them can help manage expectations and serve as a guide to understanding what is transpiring in a church plant environment. It is good to note that many times phases can overlap. I heard about these 3 phases when I was 4 years into planting our church. I was told that church planting takes 10 years. However, I believe that the learning curves for each phase can be shortened by training and good mentorship. Good external relationships are imperative to stay healthy as a church planter and to have a healthy church plant. Having others help to identify and walk with your through these phases can be a huge blessing.

  • Merle Shenk

– Merle Shenk serves on the DOVE International apostolic council and is the associate pastor at Newport Church

Do we need more churches?

Do we need more churches?

I have heard it said hundreds of times: “We do not need more churches in our community. We have enough churches already.” I disagree.

We cannot fulfill the Great Commission without planting churches. We need new churches! Jesus, when He ascended into heaven two thousand years ago, left a spiritual family of 120 believers in an upper room. That number multiplied into millions of believers who planted churches throughout the world. By planting new churches, we continue what Jesus started. And just as every person is created unique and special to God, new churches are needed to provide new spiritual families for those who do not fit into our present churches.


Here is second reason why we need new churches: A research study by Fuller Theological Seminary found that if a church is ten or more years old, only one person will be led to Christ for every 85 people in the congregation. If the church is between four and seven years old, one person is led to Christ for every seven members, but if a church is less than three years old, one person is led to Christ for every three members! That is why I concur with the late Dr. C. Peter Wagner, who has said again and again, “the single most effective way to evangelize is to plant new churches.”


Larry Kreider

 – Larry Kreider serves as International Director of DOVE International


Weekly Church Planting Resource

churchplantusa.com – a resource for the expansion of the Kingdom of God!

Providing weekly Leadership insight, wisdom, guidance, strategic content and resources for planting new churches in the USA. Church plant USA is a resource of DOVE USA to help stir a passion for the expansion of the Kingdom of God through prayer, evangelism, discipleship and new churches planted. 

If you have a passion to see the Kingdom of God to grow this resource is for you. If you desire to be involved in helping others step into church planting the resources contained within this blog and corresponding web-pages and written material is for you.

Like and Follow our Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/DOVEUSAChurchplanting/

DOVE USA will host an online Facebook community group for those specifically within the DOVE family who are planting churches in the United States. This community serves to connect like minded and like hearted church-planters, coaches and mentors. This Facebook group is a closed group for those who are planting churches, or who will launch a church-plant in the very near future. 

We will be sharing wisdom and insight from multiple seasoned leaders in the body of Christ. Also from time to time we will highlight material from printed resources that are available for purchase in their entirety from House to House Publications

We are excited that you have chosen to step out in one of the most amazing journey’s of a Lifetime! Welcome!


Blessings, Merle Shenk – Dove USA Church Planting Resource Director