Quit Nodding Your Head

Tony Myles —  November 13, 2013 — 4 Comments

In ministry? Take part in a church?

Think about what that means.

Really, really think about it.

To help, lean into this wild observation and dare from the late preacher and author, Leonard Ravenhill:

revival“We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”

- from Why Revival Tarries

There is a prayerlessness in the church that you and I nod our heads at but often do nothing about. Derwin Gray calls this ministry pornography – you’re trying to meet a need artificially that only Jesus can grow.

So your success in ministry today it’s not about how many followers you have to your idea or vision statement, but about how many prayer warriors you develop who depend on Jesus and follow Him.

Now… quit nodding your head, and go bend your knees.

(Have a thought on how we could pray more effectively? Share it here.)

If all goes well, by the time you read this I’ll be on my way to Rwanda with about 15 students and some incredible leaders. On the blog this week we’ll have all sorts of guest posts and guest editor-in-chief Geoff Stewart will be posting regularly as well. If you would, please take a second and pray for health, strength, and safe travel for our students. Excited!

Day ONE & TWO: Travel to Kigali, Rwanda
Pray for a smooth airport check-in. Pray for safe travel to Rwanda. Pray for rest and the preparation of our hearts for ministry. Pray that all goes smoothly with the logistics of travelling with a group our size.

Day THREE: Genocide Memorial and travel to our main ministry site
Pray that our students would be excited on their first full day of ministry, loving the people whom they are serving.  Pray that the team has a heart of compassion and understanding as we learn about Rwanda’s history today at the memorial.  Pray for safe travels to this rural city.

Day FOUR & FIVE: Church and meeting with pastors. PEACE activities
Pray for the people of Rwanda, that their hearts would be open to the Word of God as it is preached today in churches. Pray for great conversations as we meet with the pastors of local churches. Pray that we would be able to accomplish much with them in preparation for the week of ministry ahead. Pray for your student today.

Day SIX – NINE: PEACE activities with Churches
Pray for endurance for long days of ministry. Pray that our team connects with the Rwandan community, making them feel loved and cared for. Pray for friendships to be built among Rwandan and Saddleback students. Pray that the team continues to shine the light of Christ even if we are exhausted.

Day TEN: Travel back to Kigali
Pray for safe travels and rest as we return to Kigali. Pray for your students as they begin to process and debrief the trip. Pray that, as we conclude our time in Rwanda, we would be able to reflect on what God has taught us and encourage one another with stories of God’s work.

Day ELEVEN & TWELVE: Pray for safe travel back to America.
Pray that we adjust well spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Pray that God would continue to work in our hearts after we return. Pray that we would continue to remember and reflect on our journey in Rwanda. Pray for protection from sickness and fatigue.

Follow us on Twitter or Instagram for updates: @hsmrwanda

Was digging through some old files on our student ministry archives, and found this simple gem on how to pray for your small group leaders. Not sure who to credit (probably Matt McGill or Doug Fields). Good stuff here:

  • Put a couple calendar reminders for each day of your week as a reminder to pray for your small group leaders. (i.e. I pray for Bob and Jim on Tuesdays, Sue and Sammy on Wednesdays, etc,)
  • Look up the list of students in their small group and pray for each of them by name.
  • Pray for something very specific to happen with their small group. Send them an email letting them know about your prayer.
  • Put a post-it on your dashboard with one leader’s name and every time you get in your car to drive to work or small group…pray for that leader. Change it each week.
  • Write a letter to God on a postcard that is a prayer for that small group leader and send it to them in the mail.


Thomas Strock is the 16-year-old student who designed and built a new app in the iPhone App Store called Share Prayer. Love it when students step out and do something big like this? Super cool, here’s 5 questions with the man:

Tell us about the app!
SharePrayer is an app that helps people put God first, even in a world full of distractions. SharePrayer has two main features – the ability to set alerts to remind you to stop what you’re doing and pray, and the ability to share and receive prayer requests from friends and family.

Where did your inspiration for it come from?
When I was 12, I published a children’s book called Tomato Turtle, and since them I’ve been involved in a Christian author Facebook group where we share ideas and tips about promoting your book.  Since it was a Christian authors group though, lots of people would also post prayer requests there.  That’s what gave me the original idea for the app.  I see prayer requests not only in that group, but also on my main Facebook feed, Twitter, and also through email.  I’d love to be able to pray for everybody, but it’s hard to keep track of all the different places you see prayer requests.  So I wanted a place where I could have a list of everything I wanted to pray for plus keep everyone else’s prayer requests in one location so I can remember everything.

16 years old! Amazing … what’s next for you from here?
Honestly, who knows?  Maybe more apps, maybe more books, maybe something completely different – it all depends.  I love doing things that are fun and challenge me.  So in the future, whatever meets those two criteria, that’s what I’ll be doing!

What would you say to other teenagers with a dream to do something like this?
If you have a passion for something, the only way you’re going to achieve it is through action.  Whether your passion is becoming the next great baseball player or making mobile apps, unless you take action, you’re never going to get any closer to your goals.  Before making SharePrayer I knew nothing about making mobile apps.  It would’ve been easy for me to use that as an excuse to wait until I’ve taken classes on app development, learned more about the business, etc. to actually take action.  Instead, I dove in head-first and took action, learned from my mistakes, and eventually found success.  The same holds true no matter what your passion is – Albert Pujols didn’t becoming an All-Star baseball player by reading books about how to play baseball.  He became one by taking action everyday and practicing.

Prove your not a robot. Tell us an embarrassing moment from your childhood!
When I was around six, I didn’t really like playing soccer, but my parents would sign me up anyway to make sure I was running around and getting exercise.  I normally did OK, but one game a bunch of my family was there to watch me but I was particularly bored.  I found a big red leaf in the middle of the field that was apparently more exciting than the actual game.  I don’t remember the game too well now, but it turns out my mom was videotaping me, and for around 10 minutes I was standing in the middle of the field walking in a small circle around this big leaf.  Meanwhile, the game is continuing and everyone is running back and forth across the field while I’m still just standing there doing my own thing, walking in a circle around this leaf.  Wasn’t too embarrassing at the time, as I was so fascinated with this leaf and had no idea what was going on around me – but it’s really funny to go back and watch it now.

Thanks for sharing, Thomas! Student leaders rule! Get the app and more info here.


I was a film major in college, which means a few things: I’ve seen a ton of movies, I’m totally pretentious, and I think Orson Wells is a genius. One of the things I studied in film school is the art of a sequel.  Some sequels can stand alone, meaning you don’t need to know anything about the series in order to enjoy it (i.e., The Phantom Menace).  Other sequels are completely dependent on the first film (i.e., The Empire Strikes Back).  Think of this blog as The Empire Strikes Back.  Confrontation is useless unless you first prepare yourself and your heart.  Because of this, make sure you ask yourself the three questions covered in PART ONE.

Confrontation can either lead to reconciliation or destruction, and anyone who has ever dealt with conflict knows that there is a thin line that separates the two.  We need to make sure we take every step we can to approach our conflict in a way that honors the Lord, and that starts with discerning the condition of your heart and the purpose of the conversation.  If, after prayer and consideration, you decide that confrontation is the best option, keep these things in mind:

1. Pray.  Prepare yourself for the conversation you are about to walk into.  Pray that the Lord provides you with effective words.  Pray that hearts are humble and ready for what’s to come.  Pray for peace and reconciliation.  Overall, pray that your confrontation will be God-glorifying!

2. Balance truth and love.  I feel like most of us are really good at half of this.  If you’re like me, you are REALLY good at being truthful (maybe too much so).  Unfortunately, we often attack others with our words, making it impossible for others to embrace our “truth.”  Others are great at being loving, but their fear of hurting feelings prevents them from providing helpful criticism.  We need to balance both truth and love if we want our conversation to be fruitful.

3. Be quick to listen, slow to speak.  The purpose of confrontation is to voice your feelings and frustrations and work towards reconciliation.  It is important to keep in mind that the person you are confronting wants to be heard and understood just as much as you do.  Even if you think you’re right or know you’ve done nothing wrong, make sure you allow the other person the opportunity to give their side of the story.  Remember that you are there to seek understanding, not to voice your opinions.

These are just a few ways to make the most of your confrontation.  What would you add to this?

Colton Harker is the Student Leadership Coordinator at Saddleback HSM.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact him at coltonharker@gmail.com or on twitter at @ColtonHarker.

I’m excited to be travelling with our youth group on a mission trip to Costa Rica. The team put together this little prayer guide for the trip – thought it might be a good example of something you may want to do for an upcoming mission trip of your own. Would appreciate your prayers of course, too!

HSM Costa Rica Prayer Guide

Students: Please pray that the Lord will work in their hearts and minds as they learn how to do ministry on the Mission Field. Pray that they will grow in their faith as they minister to others in Costa Rica; that they will have open hearts and open minds to however the Lord might want to use them there. Please pray for good attitudes, energy, peace, and a gentle spirit. Pray for relationships with their peers and leaders. Pray that the students will rely on the Lord to help them know what to say and how to act when they may feel uncomfortable.

Leaders: Please pray that the Lord will guide us as we lead our students. Pray for energy and enthusiasm, wisdom, discernment, strength, peace, and patience. Pray that we would have open hearts and minds to all the ways the Lord will want to use us in the lives of our students and those we’ll be ministering to in Costa Rica. Please pray for our relationships with the students and people of Costa Rica.

The People of Costa Rica: We will be working with a number of people in Costa Rica (Pastors, teenagers, children, etc.). Pray that the Lord will give them open and hearts and minds to the message of Jesus we are bringing to them. Please pray that we would be able to help and love on them in whatever way possible.

Churches: Please pray for the churches we will be partnering with in Costa Rica. Pray that the help we give would be sustainable so that they can continue to grow in health and outreach even after we leave.

Events: Please pray that all will go according to plan, and when it doesn’t, that we would be flexible and ready for anything. Pray that the people of these events would see Jesus working through them and understand His love.