How Pastors and Intercessors Can Work Powerfully Together as a Team
The partnering together of pastors and intercessors is an issue of vital importance in the church today. When these two gifts are joined together, I believe the power of God is unleashed in remarkable ways. An important understanding of the interdependency of each of these gifts is vital for team building. My purpose in this article is to seek to convey how the offices of pastor and intercessor best work together, and how they are called to serve one another. What follows are some observations on how the roles might serve and compliment one another.
PASTOR TO INTERCESSOR:
The role of the pastor is to bring a God-ordained covering of protection, wisdom, and direction to the intercessor. Pastors are vitally important in their partnering with intercessors, without their influence, intercessors can get deceived or off course and without gentle correction can lead to major isolation of the intercessor.
As a pastor, one of the greatest ways you can encourage an intercessor is to remain connected with them, valuing their gifts and bringing direction when there is a need. Intercessors need to know that their pastor is supporting them in the work of prayer. They need to know that their pastor will love them enough to share with them if they are being misled. The intercessor needs to know that the pastor is willing to listen and hear what they are receiving in prayer, even if it does not make much sense. As a pastor, one of the best ways to accomplish this is to have the intercessors write down their impressions they receive in prayer and to give them to you. This serves many purposes:
1) it helps the intercessor become more succinct in communicating all they receive in prayer to a bottom line summary
2) the written report serves as a journal of remembrance for the pastor to refer to later as the Lord directs
3) it helps to establish trust and a way to judge the impressions being received by the intercessor
4) it honors the intercessor’s time spent in prayer.
Another way that the pastor can help the intercessor is to bring ongoing encouragement and honor to those interceding. This can be done through spoken words, written notes and maybe a once-a-year luncheon that honors those praying for you or the work you are involved in. Intercessors are very loyal to the assignments that the Lord gives them but they also need much encouragement along the way. Because many intercessors tend to be very sensitive and also because intercession is often a hidden work, intercessors can get easily discouraged in their gifting of prayer and need to be valued for their work (I Cor 12).
Also, no matter how spiritual they would appear to be, always know that the intercessors need to be connected to the other parts of the body and that is what the pastor does best. Value their gifts but also help them stay connected and grounded. Help support their work by sending them to various conferences and equipping areas and provide the financial means to do this. Intercessors will fight until the end but need to know they are valued. Many have left assignments because they never felt affirmed in their calling. Affirmation is one of the greatest areas you can bless the intercessor in. Shepherding intercessors can sometimes be a very labor-intensive work, but as the intercessors grow more in maturity, you will reap a great harvest and have a very loyal team.
INTERCESSOR TO PASTOR:
As an intercessor, you are called to support the work of the pastor and be a helper to the vision that the Lord has granted to the pastor. The intercessor must recognize that the vision carrier for the church is the pastor and the intercessor must work as part of the pastors’s team to see the vision come forth. Two visions spell di-vision and the intercessor must protect their heart from creating separate vision from that of the pastor/leadership. Intercessors have a gifting to be able to see areas of potential conflict or upcoming conflict and stand in the gap so the plans of the enemy do not come to pass. Because of their gifts, they frequently see things from a different vantage point and pray accordingly. Many are the stories of how intercessors were alerted by the Lord (without ever receiving a phone call) and have prayed with intensity and changed the outcome of the situation. This gift/role is so very needed in the body and specifically within a leadership team of a congregation and or city-reaching team. The danger for the intercessor is in the development of pride. Due to the nature of the gift and what the Lord allows the intercessor to see, the enemy would try to make the intercessor to think more highly of themselves than they ought. A humble attitude is vitally needed to serve the purposes of God and to serve the other leaders on the team. The intercessor must recognize (as well as the other team members) that the gifts they have received are a gracing from God and so they must take on the form of a servant and serve where their gifts allow. Another area that the intercessor must walk in is PRACTICALITY. Don’t allow the gift to make you so heavenly-minded that you become no earthly good.
Some of the areas that you can best serve the pastors of your congregation or in your city are:
1) Seek first and foremost to be a servant and meet the present need. Don’t assume that you know what is needed, ask and serve in the areas requested.
2) Don’t share all that you receive in prayer. Narrow it down and share only that which the Lord releases you to share. Then you must allow the leaders to do with it what is needed. Your job is only to be the messenger, you are not responsible for their response. This is an area that stumbles many intercessors. Frequently, when intercessors receive something from the Lord, they also have a sense of what the outcome might look like. Most of the time though, they are not the ones deciding the outcome, and so they must understand that they are only to be the messenger and must leave the message with the hands of those they were called to give it to and then be released from it. Don’t try and make it happen, trust the Lord to impart how it fits to the Leaders. You can continue to pray but don’t try and make something happen. Be at peace knowing you did your part and trust the Lord for the rest.
3) Another way to serve the leadership team is to pray frequently for them and to speak words that edify and build up! This gives a pastor much needed encouragement and fuel to keep going. Don’t expand on what you are praying unless the pastor seeks it out. Many times pastors are watching for the fruit of faithfulness and kindness to be represented in your life before they want to know what you are receiving from the Lord. Sometimes there is distrust in the heart of the pastors from having gotten "burned" previously from others who said they were intercessors and it takes them awhile to trust again. Be patient in this process and just seek to serve them by praying for them and helping out in tangible ways. If the Lord desires you to work more closely on the team, trust must come first so be patient with the process.
A note to intercessors:
1) Journal your prayer times with the Lord. This serves as a "book of remembrance" that will encourage you later in the lean times.
2) Link up with other intercessors to learn from one another and for the building of community. Make sure that the group you connect with is one that is grounded and honors others in various positions of leadership and other areas in the body of Christ.
The role of the pastor and intercessor working together is likened to two police partners working on a "beat" together. When they are called to go in to a situation to restore order and occupy, one partner is the one who busts the door down while the other partner is in a strategic position to cover their partner as they go in. In most congregations, the pastor is usually the one called to go in and the intercessor needs to be in a position to allow the entry to happen and to take out the enemy who would try and stop the entry from occurring. It is a team effort and it would be extremely unwise for either partner to do it alone. When working together, it provides a teammanship that goes in to take possession, route out the enemy, and occupy with the kingdom. Because of the valuing of partnering, it would behoove us to learn from one another as to how we might be the best partner we can be to the other so we can work more effectively for the Lord’s kingdom. I hope that these small nuggets will impart more understanding of the value of the team of pastor to intercessor and intercessor to pastor. Thanks for listening, may the Lord give you further application and wisdom.
Source: National Pastors’ Prayer network , www.nppn.org