Author, One Great Truth: Finding Your Answers to Life (2008)
Son of Jerry Falwell
Senior Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church (Lynchburg, VA)
BS, Liberty University
MA in Religion, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
JD, William Howard Taft University in Santa Ana, California;
Married, 4 Children
Jonathan Falwell: Know The Truth of Following Christ
The 700 Club
THE YEAR OF OUTREACH
This year marks the 56th year of Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC), which will be “The Year of Outreach.” The congregation is continuing their goals and vision for the church since founder Jerry Falwell died in May 2007.
Pastor Jonathan became the senior pastor two weeks after his father died. They set a few goals for the next five years: that there would be 5,000 local salvations in the Lynchburg area; 5,000 baptisms; 5,000 new members at TRBC; plant 500 churches in the U.S.; send 500 full-time missionaries; and send 500 church members on short-term missions each year.
The church continues to work on these goals and is focusing on outreach. Pastor Jonathan says the goal they would still like to reach is sending out 500 full-term missionaries. Currently TRBC has planted 1,000 churches around the world. In Kenya, TRBC is planting 553 churches – one church already with almost 50 new believers. There are also church plants in India and Haiti. In the U.S. there are 178 church plants.
Some of these church plants are in Kansas City; Charlottesville, VA; and Roanoke, VA. Pastor Jonathan says all of this couldn’t have been accomplished without prayer. When Pastor Jonathan took the position of senior pastor, his prayer was, “God, please do it (whatever God wanted to accomplish) today.”
Pastor Jonathan didn’t know what he was doing or what to pray for. He was totally dependent on God. Today, he still prays that prayer with the knowledge that he can’t do it, but God can. He says the simple prayer, “God I can’t do it, you can,” is a prayer that can be said in good times and bad. It is good to never lose the feeling of being dependent on God.
CULTURE OF PRAYER
For the past year, Pastor Jonathan challenged the TRBC congregation with six values. They are:
1) Commitment to scripture
2) Culture of prayer
3) Lifestyle of worship
4) Connection to community
5) Heart for serving
6) Passion for excellence.
The second value is a culture of prayer. A culture of prayer is a lifestyle of prayer that is ingrained in us. It is who we are and what we do. We are talking to God continually in prayer. God wants a constant line of communication with Him and us and He wants His Church to be a place that is focused on Him. In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus repeats what is found in the Old Testament, that God’s House shall be called a house of prayer. Jesus understood the value and importance of having the House of God being a place that prayed.
Recently, TRBC started a campaign “Need Prayer?” which is like the “Got Milk?” campaign. The church will have billboards with a website and phone number for people to contact if they need prayer. TRBC is training a prayer team that will be available 24/7 to pray for these requests. Also, over the last few weeks in TRBC’s fourteen Sunday services they have had people come to the altar with 3x5 index cards.
Pastor Jonathan asked the question, “What keeps you from sharing your faith?” Individuals were told to write the name of a person they can pray for to come to Christ. If they didn’t know anyone, they could put a question mark and just ask God to send them people they could lead to Christ/share their faith with. The challenge was for the congregation to be a part of the prayer process and to be a part of the celebration for answers to prayer. The church has thousands of cards with names and question marks and the church is already getting feedback. For example, a man prayed for his brother and three days later he visited his brother and led him to Christ.
WHAT TO PRAY FOR
Pastor Jonathan says people find it difficult and uncomfortable to pray. Some of the reasons are that they don’t know what to pray, they are uncomfortable praying with strangers, or think that prayers have to be complicated. Many times people look at prayer as something that is lofty or something to do over a meal or an offering. Pastor Jonathan says prayer is who we are as Christians. Even simple prayers are good. Also, sometimes we pray but we don’t pray about specific issues and there are no measurable results. If prayers are general, we won’t see any tangible effects of prayer in our lives. We need something tangible that we can look back on and “see” answers to prayer. In other areas of our lives, we have “to do” lists about what we would like to accomplish. The same principle can apply to our prayers. We should have “lists” and journals to keep and look back on to see how God answers our prayers. God should guide us in putting together our “checklists.”
Pastor Jonathan also says that personally, we don’t always pray specifically for the things in our lives. We need to pray for our family members by name, our jobs, homes, and thank God for them. We need to thank God for His provision and pray for specific needs. If people would become specific about prayers, we would see significant changes. Nothing of significance ever happens without prayer. Pastor Jonathan encourages people to take a forward step in prayer. Just that one step can make a difference.
Some things Pastor Jonathan says we can pray for specifically are our country and our leaders. We are in turbulent times and we should be lifting up our economy in prayer. Pastor Jonathan cites 2 Chronicles 7:14 “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
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