About Pray For News
Pray For News is a prayer outreach ministry designed to help churches connect with (and serve) hurting people in their local communities. This ministry unites members with various diverse gifts and passions to meet the needs of people experiencing loss or difficulty by offering them comfort and providing prayer support.
Every day, people who are going through difficult and tragic circumstances are placed in the public eye through local news sources. On a daily basis, churches offer support and encouragement to these people through handwritten cards of compassion and live prayer agents who are available 24/7. The Pray For News ministry is a direct response to the challenge of 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, where the church is commanded to comfort those who are in any affliction with the same comfort that we have received from God.
To date, thousands of hurting people have been loved, lives have been changed, and prayers have been answered through the faithful servants of this ministry.
In November of 2008, Pastor Brandon Champagne was looking through his newspaper at the tragedies and feeling helpless. Then he saw an article about a local teenager who was killed by gang violence. For some reason he was moved to contact the family of this boy. After some research online, he found their home number. The boy’s mother answered the phone crying.
After an awkward introduction, Brandon prayed with this woman and listened to her story. She was so grateful for the prayer and the concern that Brandon decided to call another family. By the end of the day, he had called every family in the obituaries and prayed with them.
When Brandon’s wife was diagnosed with cancer the very next month, he experienced firsthand how God used the prayers and compassion of others to give their family strength and encouragement during that difficult time. That confirmation was enough, and Pray For News was officially born.
Soon there was a team of committed members of a church in Northwest Arkansas reaching out every day to the grieving people in their community.
In March of 2014, the Pray For News ministry launched at Olathe Bible Church to represent the light of Christ in the Kansas City area.
This time, not only did Pray For News volunteers contact hurting people with phone calls. Now handmade cards with handwritten words of compassion were being mailed to each person/family in the news stories.
The development of a web-based Pray For News app, (the website you're on right now), has aided in assimilating volunteers, reporting the news stories, and streamlining the process of connecting church prayer agents with the people in need of prayer.
And now, hurting people in the KC community are being introduced to Christ, receiving prayer and healing, and being comforted through this compassionate ministry of prayer and love.
How It Works
The Pray For News ministry has 5 basic roles:
Reporters - Search through local online news sources for people/families that are in the midst of tragic or extremely difficult circumstances (i.e. obituaries, arrests, natural disasters, etc.) and "report" the stories and assign a prayer team to the story through the app.
Prayer Agents - Available 24/7 to pray with people over the phone. Their job is crucial on the spiritual health of the individual. Prayer agents are encouraged to reach out, support, and pray with the individuals in need. They are also in charge of reporting their progress and updates to the story within the application.
Card Builders - The creatives in the group. They can be anyone in your church with crafty skills to create custom, handmade greeting cards. The cards they make will have a distinct impact on the person being prayed for and reached out to. The idea is to keep a supply of cards available at all times.
Card Writers - Write hand written messages of encouragement in the cards and mail them directly to the hurting people in the stories. They are also in charge of reporting their progress on the story and any updates or responses.
Prayer Partners - Committed to provide silent prayer support for the prayer agents and the people in the stories that will be contacted by those prayer agents.
So how does it work?
The reporters search through the local online news sources for stories of people facing tragedy or experiencing extreme difficulty. Using other online sources (like Whitepages.com), they locate the contact information and "report" the story details and contact info by entering the info into the Pray For News app. Once the new story is created, the reporter assigns a prayer team to the story.
The Prayer Agent assigned to the same particular story receives an automatic email notification that he/she has a new story in the queue as well. The Agent knows their card has been placed in the handmade card and that they might get a call from this hurting individual. If the individual has a known phone number, the prayer agent also calls the client week or two after the card has been sent.
Card builders create handmade cards throughout the year to keep the Pray For News ministry stocked to do ministry on a daily basis. The card builders can do their work from home as individuals or in a group as a team.
The Card Writer assigned to a particular story gets an automatic email notification that he/she has a new story in the queue. The card writer writes a handwritten message of hope and comfort inside the handmade card and then inserts a contact card from the prayer agent assigned to their story. That card provides the hurting person with a number then can call any time they need prayer.
The Prayer Partner(s) assigned to the same particular story receives an automatic email notification that he/she has a new story in the queue as well. The Prayer Partner simply prays silently for the hurting person/family in the story and for the prayer agent that will be contacting them.
Many times people who have received a card and/or a call will return a call to the prayer agent or come into the church in person for further care. This is where deeper relationships are developed, a higher level of healing achieved and opportunities for the gospel are even greater.
Prayer is the backbone of the Pray For News Ministry. It is important that prayer is the first thing happening when responding to people experiencing grief. And when the marriage of prayer and love for people happens, God blesses it!
The Pray For News Web App
When web developer Kegan VanSickle heard about the profound impact of the Pray For News ministry, he began developing a web-based application to help the Pray For News ministry function at a higher level. The result was an amazing tool that serves as an online newsroom where all the "stories" are reported, assigned and updated so our prayer agents can have the best chance to connect with the people who need prayer in a discreet and timely manner.
Automatic notifications are sent daily as our reporters search for, “report” and update stories and their assigned prayer agents. Volunteers can be assigned to different roles and level of permissions on the site as well. The app is easy to use. Best of all, it really works to make it easier for churches to reach out to their community.