Central California Conference
by Sue Schramm
Over the past two decades, the Central California Conference (CCC) has developed an intentional approach to and emphasis on prayer. The emphasis developed as Pastor Jerry and Janet Page accepted administrative leadership roles in Central and began sharing their testimony of how prayer had made a tremendous difference in their lives. Both conference and local church leaders caught the vision and prayer was embraced with vigor throughout the conference.
From there, CCC began to promote intentional corporate and individual prayer. Committee meetings were restructured to include sharing of testimonies and seasons of unified prayer. In addition, ministry and training events throughout the conference were bathed in prayer from infancy to fruition, prayer conferences were expanded and Central’s annual camp meeting was preceded by a prayer-walk weekend.
Central continues to be noticed for its emphasis on prayer. Under the direction of Joyce Mulligan, prayer ministries director, multiple prayer partners meet every Wednesday at the CCC Headquarters to pray for conference personnel and specific issues. Among others, CCC President Ramiro Cano provides a list of conference as well as personal prayer requests for the team to lift up in prayer. Prayer is also offered up by name for all administrators, each pastor and his/her spouse, each conference office employee, each church, each school, and many other ministries throughout Central. In addition, approximately 450 email prayer partners faithfully lift up these requests.
In addition to annual prayer leaders training events, prayer ministries hosts multiple prayer conferences, one designed specifically for teens. Prayer weekends are spread throughout the conference, led by Mulligan with assistance from husband Keith, along with Ed and Lisa Walker, lay prayer ministries assistant leaders. Weekends include testimonies, worship, seminars on various approaches to prayer and, of course, much prayer.
CCC’s well-known Soquel camp meeting has also been transformed by the power of prayer. The noticeable prayer emphasis during camp meeting builds with a prayer walk event, which takes place the weekend preceding camp meeting. Over 100 Central prayer partners come together for prayer and worship, organize into various prayer teams and walk throughout the Soquel campus and surrounding community, bathing the entire event and community in prayer. “Throughout the year and during camp meeting, our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will speak to each person individually and that they make a new or refreshed commitment to their intimate relationship with God,” explains Joyce Mulligan, CCC prayer ministries coordinator.
Once camp meeting begins, guests who register are greeted immediately by members of the prayer team, offering personalized prayers, inviting the Spirit of God to bless the attendees. There is a prayer box for silent requests, roving prayer teams that circulate throughout the 97-acre campus and a special anointing service. Throughout the ten-day event, an Upper Room Prayer Experience is offered in a second-floor room set aside for prayer and anointing. During this year’s camp meeting, prayer requests varied from family, financial and spirituals issues, to health-related concerns. One man approached prayer partners with significant pain in his arm, which he indicated was due to a fracture. After spending time with him in prayer, he reported that he felt immediate comfort and later that his pain had subsided.
During camp meeting, Central prayer partners are also an integral part of the annual evangelism offering, taken up during the ten-day event. Prayer leaders spend significant amounts of time interceding on behalf of the offering, which is used to fund many and diverse evangelism and outreach projects throughout the conference. Over the last few years, the offering has been around $1 million, an amount that was suggested in prior years by Central’s prayer team. Though it was considered outlandish at the time, faith and much prayer have proven that anything is possible for God.
Prayer continues to be an intentional part of the life and ministry of the Central California Conference, fueled by passionate prayer warriors and by many Biblical promises such as that found in 1 John 5:14: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.