By Anthony Passante from New Creation Church
Do you remember when you encountered God and you felt so close to Him?
Do you still feel that way?
We wonder if we can grab your attention long enough without a catchy opening hook, Gen Z slang, or a tweetable quote. Our hope is this blog would convict, compel, and change your perspective of ministry. You’ve been entrusted to lead and pastor people, not just young people, but people, period.
We’ve asked ourselves hundreds of times, “What do students need?” We’ve pondered, prayed, and believed for a generation to experience God and His life-changing love. It doesn’t matter the size of the meeting; what matters is the tangibility of His presence. If God wins one heart, saves one soul, heals one person, it’s all worth it! Our methods of ministry will never be successful if God’s not in it.
Before we focus on what our students need, how’s your heart doing? Have you waited on God lately? Do you delight in the Lord because you just want to spend more time with Him? When’s the last time you cried out in prayer for your heart to be set ablaze for Jesus? How about the last time you were brought to tears or your knees passionately praying for your students, schools, and families?
Ministry will not be successful unless prayer is essential. Not just within the four walls when you gather but you as a leader carrying a heart that genuinely cares about your people and their family and friends. Leonard Ravenhill, a Christian evangelist and author said, “No man is greater than his prayer life” and “most Christians pray to be blessed. Few pray to be broken.” We were created to abide in Christ, the true vine (see John 15). To stay, remain, and dwell when our to-do list is growing and needs are all around us. To keep the main thing the main thing and minister out of an overflow from our times spent communing with God.
To give one more quote by Ravenhill, “The world out there is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity; it’s waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity.” Our students are on the front lines of possibly the greatest communication shift any generation has ever experienced. How we navigate as leaders will give direction for a generation that is pastoring itself in a lot of ways. As we adapt and use the means available to share Jesus with the world, may we never substitute clever ideas and clout for a culture of prayer that the church was created to be—“My house will be called a house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13 NIV).
“God’s plan is to make much of the man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God’s method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men,” E. M. Bounds said. Instead of contending to win the popularity contest of Christianity in the world’s eyes, can we demonstrate what true Christianity looks like? True Christianity looks like Jesus, the exact representation of the Father (see Hebrews 1:3). As Jesus often withdrew to spend time with His Father in prayer, may we find ourselves often in the secret place of prayer, meeting with our heavenly Father (see Matthew 6:6). He is the best instructor, teacher, comforter, and encourager. Fellow leaders, may we pray with faith that believes our God is alive and anything is possible! As you long to make a difference, find significance in the unseen. Jesus gained ground in the private before going public. Follow Him in doing the same.
Bounds also said, “A prepared heart is much better than a prepared sermon. A prepared heart will make a prepared sermon.” Don’t let a platform steal your love for prayer. If God opened the door for you to minister to people and lead within His church, He’s expecting you to rely on Him. We cannot just know God’s will; we must also know His ways! Spending time listening, waiting on Him, taking care of your soul, and becoming healthier will minister to your students more than putting together the next fire sermon detached from living in the Spirit. A good place to start is asking, “Holy Spirit, what do you want me to do?” There’s always more “ministry” to do, but find your significance in first ministering unto the Lord as your first love and then move in power and authority ministering to others from the place of prayer.
What legacy are you aiming to leave for your students?
What memory will they have when they think of you in the decades to come?
- Establish a rhythm of healthy habits to live a secret place lifestyle.
- Set a daily reminder to pray for your students.
- Pray and encourage at least one student personally every time your ministry gathers.
- Attend or create a prayer meeting where students can see you praying.
- Find and meditate on the Scriptures showing Jesus and others praying.
The Big Takeaway
- Your ministry will not be successful unless prayer is essential.
- Spend quality time delighting in the Lord and waiting on Him to speak to your heart.
- Create a plan to intentionally grow in prayer and help others to do so.
- Download Feed’s FREE eight-week small-group series Belief and Practice, and three-week small-group series Prayer and Worship, to dive deeper into this topic.