Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Use Your Cell In Church

Dial-a-prayer goes contemporary RELIGION: Cell phone ministry puts callers in touch with live prayer serviceBY CAROLYN THOMPSONcthompson@nwitimes.com219.933.3229

This story ran on nwitimes.com on Monday, December 25, 2006 2:14 AM CST

MUNSTER In most congregations, parishioners might be encouraged to turn their cellular telephones off during service.At Family Christian Center, the word is turn them on and call someone who needs a prayer.

That's the basic concept behind the four-month-old ministry in which church members call people who need a special touch of healing over their personal cell phones at a special time of the service.The Rev. Steve Munsey, pastor at Family Christian Center, originated the idea. He calls it a "God idea.""The effect is overwhelming, " Munsey said. "We have testimonies of miracles, encouragement."Those who have been on the receiving end of those calls agree.Bernadine Lanos is the caretaker for her 98-year-old mother, Ida Mae Williams.Lanos' cousin, Sheila Carter, is a member of Family Christian Center. She calls Lanos at her Ohio home each Sunday during prayer."It's more personable than watching church on television on Sundays, which is what we do," Lanos said. "It is an honor to take care of my mom, but it can be stressful, too, and that is why the prayer ministry is very helpful."I feel so good when she calls on the phone and you can actually hear the minister say that he is reaching out to you by cell phone and you can hear him blessing people and know that he's praying for you, for everybody."Pastor David Jordan Allen, media relations director, said the cell phone prayer services are held at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and on Sundays during worship services."It's a one-on-one, a very much one-on-one," Allen said "People struggling with cancer, rebellious kids, addictions, or those who can't make it to church service, will respond to prayer through the cell phone."The church is also taking the ministry to the Internet and television."It's amazing to take this technology within the church," he said. "Usually they say to turn it off at the door, but we are asking them to turn them on and dial someone you know who needs prayer."It's not an idea about making money, but it brings so much gratification to help humanity, that's the reward."

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