When NHIM President Roy Lauter had the idea to create prayer bands for Eastern Kentucky, he knew it was not a new concept. He had experience with prayer bands going back to his time as Chairman of the Board for World Gospel Mission, and the tradition extends even further back. It is a concept that is particularly important to the history of ministry in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.
In the early days of Asbury College, a group of students formed the Mountain Mission Society, which was a prayer group that met regularly to pray for the people of Eastern Kentucky. Members of the society also ministered in the mountains during school breaks. In the 1923-24 school year, the senior class chaplain, a 40-year-old student named Lela McConnell, challenged her classmates and society members to pray that God would call Asbury students to go as missionaries to Eastern Kentucky.
McConnell’s schoolmates soon convinced her that she was the one God was calling, and she went on to establish the Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association, an extensive ministry that includes Mt. Carmel High School and Elementary, Kentucky Mountain Bible College, WMTC radio, Mt. Carmel Holiness Campmeeting, a farm, and churches scattered across the mountain counties. One of those churches founded under McConnell’s ministry happened to be Bear Pen Community Church, which has become the launching point for New Hope’s partnership in church planting, evangelism, and humanitarian outreach in Eastern Kentucky. (Read more about Lela McConnell here.)
So, you see, the prayer band has been an integral part of ministry in Eastern Kentucky, and it continues to be an important opportunity for those who want to be a part of what God is doing in this region. You can read about how to be a part of an Eastern Kentucky Prayer Band here, and who knows – maybe this will be the start of a new level of involvement in ministry that God has for you in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. Please join us!
Matt Kinnell, NHIM Board Chairman