Several years ago, when I was still pastoring, Promise Keepers held a major gathering in Washington DC. I was there with my son, three of my deacons, and a group of men from our community. That event sparked a desire on the part of my deacons to begin a time of weekly prayer for me, my family, and the church. Each Sunday evening, a half-hour before our service began, I met with a group of people in a Sunday school classroom, and they would each pray specifically for me and my wife as well as concerns for the church. This prayer time, more than anything else we did, changed our church. If I ever returned to pastoral ministry one of the first things I would do is to ask people to serve on my prayer team.
Bivocational pastors of smaller churches often get frustrated because of all the things their church can't do, but prayer is something that every believer can do. Our group each week varied between three and eight people, but the prayers of those people impacted my ministry and that of the church. I would want to meet with my prayer team on a weekly basis to share with them some of my challenges and to ask for specific prayers for my wife and me as well as for the church. I would want to meet with them quarterly for a meal together and to express my appreciation for their faithfulness and to share with them any vision I might have for future ministry in the church. I would not look at these people as advisors but as prayer warriors.
John Maxwell has a great book on how to develop such a prayer team. If you are serious about wanting such a team in your church I would recommend you read that book to help get you started.
I know the difference a prayer team made in our church and the difference it made in my personal ministry. I believe it can make a difference in your life and ministry as well.