In each section, there is a "ACTIVATE MOMENT" for you to complete on your own that your group will discuss together.

ACG's Mission

-To help people feel Welcomed, Valued, & Cared For. As we do this, they will…

The Three C’s

    • Connect with God

    • Connect with Each Other

    • Connect with Those Separated from God

Vision: Work together to accomplish Ephesians 4:11-16; for people to be... Saved, Healed, Set Free, Discipled, Equipped, Empowered, Serving.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)

The enemy’s plan, is the opposite of the Three C’s, which are the Four D’s according to scripture:

The Four D’s

    • Distract

    • Deceive

    • Dislocate

    • Destroy

“I will come upon him while he is weary and discouraged and throw him into a panic, and all the people who are with him will flee. I will strike down only the king.” 2 Samuel 17:2 (ESV)

Four Core Values

    • Unity

    • Excellence

    • Submission to Authority

    • Truth & Spirit Centered

Pray the Father's heart

-Respect and Protect the Person Receiving Ministry

 What is the most important thing to know about ACG's Altar Ministry?

-Altar Ministry must focus on God!

ACTIVATE MOMENT “God is always ....” (List several attributes of God’s unchanging nature.)

How do we focus on God?

Pray the Father’s heart!

Altar ministers who focus on praying the Father’s heart will avoid ministering out of their own strength, opinion, or experience.

When we pray the Father’s heart for people, we keep the focus on God.

EXAMPLE: Man requests prayer: “I need a financial breakthrough.”

    • Focus is NOT on God: “Lord please help this man to work harder so he can make more money.”

    • Focus IS ON God: “Thank you, Lord, that You are the source of this man’s provision. You are faithful and good.”

Why do we focus on God?

*This is how we care for people and glorify God!

    1. Hurting people need to connect with God. The people coming for prayer feel scared, desperate, and lost. Life’s problems often keep           people distracted or blind from God’s presence, His love, and His blessings. Our goal is to help people connect with God so they can         freely receive His restoration and hope.

    2. God is the source of healing. The biggest obstacle to ministry is us. We are often tempted to think people need to receive from our            personal experience, spiritual knowledge, or ministry ability. When we submit to God in true humility, He can fully minister to His                people.

How do we relate to people during ACG Altar Ministry?

Respect and protect the person receiving ministry!

In a loving environment, we create a safe place for vulnerability by offering the utmost respect to the person receiving care.

Respect and Protect Principle #1: Maintain Healthy Boundaries

ACTIVATE MOMENT

    1. Draw a picture of a house

    2. Now draw a picture of yourself standing outside the house.

    3. Above the image of you, write your name.

    4. Above the image of the house, write the word “others”.

    See the person you are ministering to as a house. When people come to you for prayer, they’re inviting you into their personal space: family, finances, failures. Leave your shoes at the door and walk into the house when invited. The ministry is on their terms. This image will help you maintain healthy boundaries.

EXAMPLE: A respectful perspective: “The person receiving ministry is inviting me the (altar minister) into their hurt, wound, or trauma. God, give me the grace to be compassionate and sensitive as I intercede for this person.” • When we stand in front of the altar at church, it feels like a spotlight. Were visible to all. We must turn our attention away from self and honor the person who is coming to us for prayer

Respect and Protect Principal #2: Always Pray, Never Counsel

People have different levels of comfort. They will address you at their particular comfort level. God will work through you to meet a person’s need – it is not necessary to know intimate details.

     1. Ask questions when you need clarity to understand the person’s request.

     2. Do not ask questions about their story’s details. It’s not necessary.

     3. Do not transition into counseling or giving an opinion.

Bottom line: pray the Father’s heart!

When we’re giving our opinion for counseling people, let it serve as a warning sign that we’ve moved away from praying the Father’s heart!

How can I guard myself against the temptation to move into council or advice?

Always assume the best in others!

It’s human nature to make assumptions about other people’s problems based on our own experiences, theological persuasion, etc. These assumptions are typically motivated to address the “why” question. We instinctively ask ourselves, “Why is this person in this predicament?” The root cause of the problem is an exploration reserved for a setting more intimate than altar ministry.

ACTIVATE MOMENT

Woman requests prayer: “I need a physical healing.”

    • List three reasons people might assume she’s ill.

Man request prayer: “My marriage is on the rocks. “

    • List three reasons people might assume his marriage is in trouble.

-Draw a giant “X” through the reasons you listed above. Learn to cancel out your assumptions about people’s problems! Life is too complex for generalities.

When we minister for our assumption’s, we will begin to counsel. Counseling based on our assumption hurts people! Challenge yourself to reject your assumptions about people and their problems.

When we minister for our assumption’s, we will begin to counsel. Counseling based on our assumption hurts people! Challenge yourself to reject your assumptions about people and their problems.

Respect and Protect Principal #3: Help Others Be Responsible for Their Relationship with God

Hurting people gain hope when they believe that they too can hear God! Altar ministry is a wonderful time to encourage people to experience God’s presence.

Encourage people to hear God: Ask them, “What is God saying to you?” Discerning altar ministers may easily identify area of a person’s life in need of ministry. Learn to be patient with each person’s spiritual growth process. Rather than attempting to meet every perceived need, ask the person, “What is God saying to you?”

Example=

Petitioner: "Please pray for my marriage. We're separated, but I want to get back together. She's angry and stubborn. It gets me all upset. I'm dating a woman at work, so at least I have someone to talk to about these things. That's temporary, though, I really want to get back with my wife.”

Alter Minister: “What is God saying to you about your relationship with this woman at work? Before we pray, let’s ask Him what he wants to say to you about your marriage?”

When people hear God, agree with them in prayer.

ACTIVATE MOMENT- How does the altar minister’s response place responsibility on the man?

 

TRUE STORY

A woman asked for a financial breakthrough. She described her situation in detail. At one point, she briefly said, “I feel like God is telling me that I am enduring a trial. “ My ministry partner prayed, “Lord, please help this woman learn how to manage her resources. Help her to learn skills for being a better financial steward.” I prayed, “Lord, Your Word says when we go through tough times, You will build in us the character and nature of Christ. Please help this woman become more like You. “ When I finished praying, the woman was in tears. She looked at me and testified, “When you prayed, I had a vision of my heart. It burst open with a piercing light and Jesus was standing there. I know that He is with me.”

Bottom Line: Pray the Father’s Heart!

People hear God. Let them answer the question, “What is God’s heart in this situation? “He might already be speaking to them.

ACTIVATE MOMENT= How does the story illustrate ways you can encourage people to experience God?

MINISTRY GUIDELINES

Preparation

We minister to others out of the fullness of our relationship with God, and within the limits of our personal level of spiritual emotional wellness:

    1. Please maintain personal intimacy with the Father.

    2. Please pursue spiritual – emotional health and wellness. When needed, please see help from a pastor, mentor, or friend.

Delivery

1. The Basics

        • Dress modestly and well – groomed. Invest in breath mints!

        • Wear your Servant Leader lanyard.

        • Respond immediately to the call to prayer.

        • Disperse evenly across the front starting in the center, in front of the podium and then moving along the sides.

        • When possible pray in teams of two.

        • Avoid unnatural public behavior (spitting, screaming, blowing on people)

        • Maintain an open and excepting posture.

2. Pray With Your Eyes Open

Be alert to signals that the Holy Spirit is moving upon a person. While concentrating on the individual, also be aware of your surroundings.

3. Remain Conservative With Touch

Ensure that you are not distracting or intrusive:

    • Ask permission before laying hands on someone.

    • Hold hands or lay hands gently on the shoulder or head. Do not push.

    • Keep your hand(s) still. Avoid rubbing or patting people.

4. Use a Comforting Tone

Those who receive prayer need nurture and comfort. Maintain a calm, steady voice. Be aware that an aggressive tone may make a person feel nervous and unreceptive. Allow God’s Spirit to flow through you in the natural, calming way.

5. Maintain Strict Confidentiality

Confidentiality builds trust. Personal information shared during Altar Ministry must be handled with discretion. Please do not share this information with others.

6. Prioritize Follow Up and Referral

Be aware of the potential need for ongoing pastoral care and Christian community. Familiarize yourself with the various ministries of GSCC where people can receive help. Give the individual the appropriate resource (CG Booklet, website, office ph#). Remember the person must contact the ministry themselves for follow up and further help.

Emergency and Crisis Situations

An emergency or crisis situation is one in which there is a threat of harm to self or another, such as:

    1. Threat of Suicide

    2. Spousal Abuse

    3. Child Abuse

    4. Elderly Abuse

    5. Sexual Assault

    6. Physical Assault

    7. Criminal Activity

If you encounter any of these areas, or another area indicating a threat of harm to self or others, immediately contact Pastor George. While acting immediately, please use calm demeanor and maintain discretion.

Referral and Follow-Up Procedures

1. Altar Ministry Response Card Always have the individual complete a card for:

    • Salvation

    • Recommitment

  Write your name and service time on the Altar Ministry Card Stay with the individual until the card is completed. Hand-deliver the card       to your leader. Never use this card for counseling, benevolence, or other personal requests.

2. Safety For your safety and well-being, please adhere to the following:

    • Never take a person’s personal information home with you.

    • Never give a person your personal information.

*Exceptions apply to Group Hosts who invite individuals to attend their group.

Types Of Prayer

Salvation

When Jesus commands, “You must be born again, “He’s referring to our response to God’s redemptive plan to give us a new nature in Christ. We receive this new birth by believing in Jesus Christ and surrendering our will to Him.

    1. Ask people if they have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

    2. Pray with the person to receive Christ. 3. Have the individual complete a Response Card

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit empowers people to receive the gifts of the spirit, the fruit of the spirit, and the ability to witness the Gospel. In altar ministry, we guard against any prayer and that would coerce or manipulate an individual in their experience of the Holy Spirit’s presence. We do freely welcome and encouraged people to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

    1. Ensure that the person has received salvation. This is a requirement before receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

    2. Clarify the person’s expectations and assumptions regarding baptism. Talk with individual if there is a need for further understanding.

    3. Luke 11:13 reads, “how much more will your father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! “Instruct the person to ask              the Father for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Explain that you will agree with them while they pray.

    4. Ask the person for feedback on what the experience during the prayer.

    5. Together, ask the Lord, “Is there anything else You want to do for me? “and “Is there anything else you want to do for this person?“

    6. Respond to God’s direction through prayer.

    7. Encourage the person that they will now grow in the Spirit’s fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) and gifts (1 CORINTHIANS 12:8-11).

    8. Invite the person to attend a Connect Group.

Praying in Tongues

Please refrain from speaking in tongues if you cannot identify whether praying in tongues would confuse, distract, or offend the person receiving ministry. When praying in tongues is appropriate, maintain an inconspicuous tone.

Prayers of Confession and Repentance

The Holy Spirit may convict people to repent of a specific or general sin. When God convicts people, He does so lovingly and with great compassion. If people confess this sin, please show great compassion as you lead them and prayers of repentance and renewal.

Prophetic Prayers

If you believe you have a prophetic prayer for someone (not a prophetic word), please remember prophecy is intended to exhort and encourage. In altar ministry, we don’t use prophetic ministry as a means for counseling or giving directive advice for the future. The following guidelines will help. To prophecy is exhort, edify, comfort!

    1. Avoid the following phrases:

        • Thus saith the Lord

        • God says

        • The Lord wants you to know

        • I believe the Lord wants you to…

    2. Practice the following phrases:

        • I feel impressed to tell you…

        • I sense that God is saying…

        • It seems like…

        • I believe you are about to…

Physical Healing

Prayer for healing is a prayer of faith and trust in God’s good character and nature. Assume the following when praying for healing.

    1. Assume the pain or sickness is not a result of sin. Never address the situation as such; never “investigate “further.

    2. Assume healing will occur in God’s perfect timing. If the results are not immediate, encourage the person to trust in God.

    3. If the person desires extended ministry, refer them to schedule an appointment with a pastor.

Marriage and Family

Families carry many complex dimensions. In prayer, it’s important to be sensitive to the various dimensions within a family structure. For instance, family members may have differing expectations and desires for one another. Many of these desires are based on opinion rather than scripture.

Be sure to pray the will of the Father, rather than the will of a person. This is most easily identified when one member of the family has a desire for another family member that involves decision making, i.e., decisions about whom to marry, where to move, or what job to take.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is God’s provision for releasing us from the power and pain of sins committed against us.

EXAMPLE:

Prayer: “Dear Lord, I choose to forgive [name of the person] for [name of the offense]. But Father, when they did these things it made me feel [describe the effects of the sins]. Please take these emotions and effects from me and place them on a cross. Thank You for healing the effects of these sins in my soul.”

Finances

People experience financial strain for various reasons. For some, the situation is a result of bad habits and lack of education. Others are well educated, highly proficient individuals who are experiencing a financial struggle due to uncontrollable circumstances. Please consider the following when praying for financial healing.

    1. Never ask people if they are tithing. This is the diagnostic question, and we’re not equipped to offer financial advice. This question             also presumes that those who tithe are automatically free from financial hardship – true life is much more complex.

    2. Pray God’s blessing, and ask for financial breakthrough. 3. Encourage the people with God’s love and faithful provision for life.