Hotdog stands. Fundraising car wash events. Cell phone company employees twirling discount signs. We’ve all seen these things on a sidewalk at one time or another. But when is the last time you saw a group of people standing on the side of the road offering to pray for you?
On Gall Boulevard in Zephyrhills, Florida, across from Hungry Howie’s, you will see just that and the people behind these efforts are simply amazing examples of commitment to Christ and what it means to have the heart of a servant. In fact, that is precisely what they hope to promulgate among the masses: devotion to God.
These truly enthusiastic Christians from ReNewed Life Church of Zephyrhills have a core group who gather approximately once per week, to minister and encourage others through prayer. The church is pastored by Timothy Newcomb and his wife, Cindy. The leader of the prayer group is Allen Zifer. Mr. Zifer has erected a large Bible on the sidewalk and given out t-shirts to his team members making clear the message they are hoping to convey, “Need Prayer? Ask Me.”
When asked about the primary mission of this group, Mr. Zifer relates, “We simply hope to point people back to the Bible. We’d like to see Christians get excited about the message contained in the Bible and to make a stand for Christ. For those who are unfamiliar with God and Christianity, we hope to open doors of understanding that will lead to salvation.”
He further related, “We want to see these kind of prayer groups sprouting up on corners everywhere in America. Now, more than ever, America needs revival and faithful people who are willing to go the extra mile to pray for others.” He went on to explain that the t-shirts they wear are bright orange in color because they want to draw attention to themselves so that people will reach out to them.
When asked about the impetus behind the prayer group’s primary mission, Mr. Zifer stated that he was heartbroken about the “downfall of the nation” and that Christians should spend as much time as they can “trying to win souls”. He wants to follow the command of Christ to go out into the public and become a “fisher of men”. He correlated the many sins and apathy of the average American to the fact that a large percentage of Americans no longer even belong to a church or regularly read their Bible. “A sad fact,” in his view.
The group has a strong belief that individuals are in dire need of a deep relationship with God, and through their church, ReNewed Life Church, they see the evidence of the miraculous power of prayer. Pastor Newcomb of ReNewed Life talked a bit about his church and how it is different from many churches in the area.
“We have a view that there is nothing more important than the uncompromising Word of God. When we are gathered together ministering to people, listening to the Word, and focusing on God’s presence …the miracles, signs and wonders become a common occurrence.” He shares, “There is a strong anointing for prayer in our church and we enjoy reaching out to the community to draw others to the palpable presence of God’s love.”
Pastor Newcomb asserts that when the Word is preached in its entirety, God will back up that Word. He believes in the importance of each Christian not only coming into alignment with the promises of God but living an obedient and faithful life, a life that is guided by the Holy Scriptures. He stated emphatically, “The Lord does not back up the opinion of man, but rather it is the other way around. Man is to back up the opinion of the Lord, and to find His Divine Opinion we must consult His Word.”
These are the strong and well-founded beliefs of those who are ministering to others along the roadside in Zephyrhills and beyond. Mr. Zifer went on to explain that this prayer ministry has moved out as far as Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi.
However, doing this kind of devoted work for Christ does have its difficulties. Mr. Zifer stated, “When you are out in the public arena, it’s not always very welcoming at times. There are some negative aspects to ministering in an open area with many diverse people. Sometimes, people have a negative reaction to prayer, but I understand that this is always a possibility. It’s human nature for some to reject God and anything relating to God.”
But as he discusses the difficulties he has encountered from time to time, his face lights up when talking about the positive reactions that he and his wife, Tammie, have encountered. “There are also some really great things about the prayer ministry,” he says. “One of the greatest feelings in the world is seeing people being moved by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I see the look of wonder in their eyes as they receive relief, peace or just a general feeling of contentment as we finish praying. Prayer opens a door to a much-needed connection with God.” To Allen and Tammie Zifer, there is nothing better than that.
The group consists of Allen and Tammie Zifer, Arthur and Juanita Parent, Hunter and Amy Jordan along with their children, the Stellfos family and Sieboldt family along with other various individuals who join them from time to time and of course, Pastor Newcomb and his wife, Cindy.
If you are ever in the Zephyrhills area and see a group of individuals wearing bright orange t-shirts while standing near a large Holy Bible near the road, don’t hesitate to stop! These deeply devoted Christians are there to help you with prayer and an encouraging word.
ReNewed Life Church is a New Testament Church with a voice and a hand that encourages people to change their lives with hope, comfort, and peace. They are located at 5438 8th Street Zephyrhills, FL 33542. Service times are Sundays at 10:30 AM and 6 PM or attend a Bible Study on Wednesdays at 7 PM.