The following is a recap of Agree ’19, a prayer convocation which took place January 7-9, 2019.
For three nights, Church of God members, and others, tuned in from around the world watching the broadcast from the studio at the International Offices via the church’s website. Most watched on social media while tens of thousands viewed and engaged the unique nightly prayer experiences.
During Agree ’19, Pastor Roy Tucker, Evangelists Bill Lee and Rhonda Holland spoke to the daily standing-room only gatherings. A national conference for evangelists was also taking place in Cleveland led by Dr. J. David Stephens, second assistant general overseer for the Church of God. The international FIND coalition for Unreached People Groups, led by Ken Anderson and North American State Prayer Leaders, led by P. Douglas Small, International Prayer Coordinator, were also gathered.
Dr. Tim Hill and members of the Church of God International Executive Committee dialoged and prayed with guests at the interview table. Prayer leaders huddled over the globe to pray multiple times each night, as did children and youth. Challenges were offered at the podium by leaders and evangelists. Musical guests led in worship. Video clips added to the fast-paced event and artfully offered ministry reports with challenges and opportunities for prayer and mission, care and compassion engagement around the world.
In no other setting are the various ministries of the church showcased in such a compelling and striking manner coupled with a call for prayer and dependence on God. From a review of Operation Compassion’s incredible international outreach to plans for a global day of evangelism in 2020, from the fiery prayers of the leading evangelists of the denomination to tender prayers by children and youth – one powerful moment followed another.
The audience overflowed, too large for the studio, and were often on their feet in prayer and praise. During the day, a national evangelists conference, led by Dr. Stephens and Dr. Hill, cast vision for a national spiritual awakening. Each morning, members of the staff at the Church of God General Headquarters, participated in a campus revival – listening to three of the movement’s outstanding preachers and praying that the international headquarters would bathed in a spirit of deep dependence on God.
Across town, at the North Cleveland Church of God, state prayer leaders gathered for their annual training and mobilization event. For the second year in a row, Ken Anderson, and members of the FIND coalition, focused on Unreached People Groups, joined with state prayer leaders with the view of wrapping more tightly, the strands of prayer and mission.
On Wednesday afternoon, a special order of the day brought Dr. Tim Hill, along with Dr. David Griffis, Church of God World Missions Director; Dr. Stephens, liaison to the World Evangelization division; Dr. Dwayne Pyeatt, International Coordinator for the Division of Education, along with Ken Anderson, Unreached People Groups Coordinator and Dr. P. Douglas Small, Prayer Coordinator, together to consider a global prayer initiative – a prayer leader for every nation, and a prayer-trainer-mobilizer for every international region.
After a time of considering this vision, the Holy Spirit broke in on the gathering. For 30 minutes or more, weeping and waiting before God became the order of the day. The Holy Spirit seemed to say, “I am racing ahead of you … Run! The way is prepared.”
Ken Anderson and Doug Small, have directed similar meetings of their leaders in past years. However, both reported that had never had such a profound spiritual moment in which God seemed to intervene and speak so directly to the task of evangelism and mission bathed in prayer. The clear sense, following these multiple meetings, according to Small, is that we were on the edge of an incredible open door of ministry around the world, and here in the nation.
Each night, just outside the doors of the studio, what was unseen, was a bank of prayer partners at computers. They were capturing and responding to comments by those who were watching Agree ’19, not only from North America, but also from all over the earth. Facebook Live and Twitter, as well as those catching the livestream from churchofgod.org, became a virtual audience approaching a hundred-thousand over the course of the three nights. The event was also shared on dozens of other personal, ministry and church social media platforms. In some cases, hundreds, if not thousands, were watching by means of these subsidiary streams.
Prayers were exchanged. Hundreds of prayer requests were submitted. At the end of each nightly broadcast, those requests were spread out across the interview table and members of the International Executive Committee, their wives, as well as evangelists and state prayer leaders, tearfully prayed and wept over the needs. Most poignant, were the numbers of names submitted for lost sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, family and friends. Answers and praise reports came through as well – salvations, healing, and reports of provision and direction. A perpetual theme was the cry, by pastors and leaders, not for something material, but for revival and spiritual renewal in the congregations that they lead. The denomination’s HOPE line, a national crisis and referral telephone prayer line, was at times overwhelmed with callers.
State Prayer Leaders served as prayer partners to those reaching out for prayer from around the world. “We’re writing down prayer requests and praise reports as fast as we can,” prayer partners reported. Calls came in from across the nation and social media connections encircled the globe. Engagement reports came from every continent – Asia, South America, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and of course, the United States.
“Agree 19, as a telecast was powerful,” Dr. Small, the prayer coordinator noted, “but unseen, the spontaneous, off-the-record engagement of members one with another, was touching.” One couple in Europe discovered the feed, and asked, “Where can we find a church like this in Germany?” As people posted their needs, others spontaneously responded from some other place across the nation or around the world with a note of prayer or encouragement. “It was like being in virtual zone that was not limited by geography – we were together, in prayer, with new and old friends, family and fellow ministers,” one of the prayer partners declared.
The most powerful impact, in fact, may have been the sense, that one could watch the live-stream from International Offices, see the international leaders of the movement, and be more than a passive viewer. They could dial the HOPE line and receive personal attention and prayer, and post to social medial and find themselves chatting with new and old friends. It wasn’t a program, it was a happening! A global prayer experience.