Building A Movement Of Praying Men In Your Church
SUMMARY: Are you looking to start a prayer movement in your church with your men? In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Pastor and leader Justin Jeppesen as they discuss the topic of prayer. Today we focus on building a movement of praying men in your church.
Vince: This is Resolute and the Resolute Leadership Podcast. I am Vince Miller, your founder, and host. And today we’re in a series on prayer. Closing off this series with the topic of how to begin a movement of prayer.
Welcome back to the program guys. If this is your very first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Our mission is to disciple and develop men to lead. And if you’re looking for content for your men’s group, or even your men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today.
At beresolute.org, we have a number of great tools for men, who are looking to lead other men. Including a number of great new small group series’ that we believe that you would enjoy. Go there today, and find out more. And now, let’s dive in.
Today I am joined one more time by my good friend Justin Jepson. He’s a local pastor at a church that has been trying to start a movement of prayer among his men. So far we’ve been through the topics – including the motive of prayer, the method of prayer, and even the mission of prayer.
But today we want to look at how to start a movement of prayer with your men in your church. Justin has learned a number of great lessons over the last couple of years on this topic, and with other men. And so Justin – again – welcome to the show today.
Justin: Thank you so much, Vince. It is so great to be back again.
Vince: So this time we’re looking at – really, the movement of prayer, right? Because we’ve been through the series already on the motive, the method, the mission. And I want to look at it from a leadership perspective, at least for one lesson. Because I know there’s Pastors and leaders out there that would love to see a movement of prayer begin in their church.
And you have taken some steps and some actions in your own church, that I think are very interesting. In fact, they’re the reason that I had you on this podcast – was because I saw you living out prayer in your church, and leading men through an experience. Why don’t you just give us an overview of what that’s currently looking like, and what your vision has been for starting a movement of prayer in your church?
Justin: Yeah, absolutely. On one hand, I think there’s a – there’s a deception that’s out there that’s That Pastors are leaders in churches, or even men that are struggling to lead their family – think they have to be some big, spiritual champion in warfare. Spiritual champion and spiritual warrior, prayer warrior in order to lead others in prayer. And that’s – that’s really not the case. I mean, on one hand the per level of a church or I think of a family will never rise above the per level of it’s leadership. But that’s something that you can engage in with people around you, so that you learn and grow together.
And for me personally, I was convicted about 3 years ago that – you know what? Whenever there’s a prayer time in our church, it’s the women that show up. Are there prayer meetings in our church? Yeah, and women have them. And I’m looking around at the guys, and I just felt so convicted of saying – feeling that – okay, we need to start praying together. It’s one thing to pray individually, but actually most of the commands of prayer in the New Testament are corporate, and they’re communal.
And I’m convinced – I’m not – I’m not a good bowler – but I do know if you hit the lead pin, you can get the whole thing. And I believe that praying men will beget praying marriages. Which will beget praying for families? Which will then fuel a praying church? And so what I did is just a simple kind of 3 steps to begin a prayer meeting.
Is I first – I picked men. I extended a personal invitation and said, “Hey I, I have a conviction that I want to begin praying with other men in our church. Would you – would you join me in that?” And then I just extended an invitation out to probably about 10 or 12 men. And then – then we picked a time. And here’s the thing. I know that has a – for me, and working on staff at a church – I have the most flexible schedule out of all the other men that I was talking with. And they’ve got to be at work at a hard time, and have to commute and that type of thing. And so I said, “I’ll let them pick.”
And here’s the thing. When picking a time, I would suggest make it a sacrifice. Because there’s a bond that happens when men sacrifice together. And so the time that they picked – 6am, Thursday mornings. And I knew that this whole idea was a work of God, because I was there. I’m not a morning guy. But I became one. And so we – we picked men, we picked a time, made it a sacrifice and then we persevered.
And we’ve been praying now together every Thursday morning from 6 to 7 am for the last 2 and a half – it’ll be 3 years this fall. And we’ve persevered together, we’ve done all the things. We’ve learned to grow what we’ve talked about in the previous podcast on prayer, and just praying the scriptures. And I have learned personally so much, and grown so much by praying with these other men.
Vince: Okay so, give me a picture now for a second. Because I think this is really important for leaders out there that are trying to guide men into prayer. There are a couple of questions that I want to ask you about the previous context. First, was it hard to get men to show up? Just, in short, was it hard to get guys to show up?
Justin: I thought that that was going to be the case. And here’s a thing. Like when it comes to prayer, you just – there can’t be gimmicks. Like I – it’s a God thing. And so really I prayed about this. And in the conversations, I just saw – and tried to notice what the Lord’s doing in another – in other guy’s lives. And I knew it was going to be a small gathering, and I was okay with that.
Justin: And I think if we start small but believe big–
Vince: Okay, so let me – let me interrupt. So tell us how many guys. ‘Cause I think it’s okay. How many guys showed up for this meeting?
Justin: Yeah, so our very first time that we met–
Justin: We actually had about a dozen men show up.
Vince: Oh that’s – that’s more than I thought.
Justin: And I was, and I was flawed. I was excited.
Justin: And you know what? Yesterday morning – today’s a Friday. Yesterday morning, we had 5 guys. And it’s probably fluctuated anywhere from 5 to a dozen for the last 2 and a half years. But one of the ways that I’ve sought to grow what happens on those, Thursday morning – is, is seeing what men were consistent. What men had a growing passion for prayer. And what men I could select to – in a more specific, intentional way – to then mentor them to lead, be leaders in prayer. So not just be men that pray, but being prayer leaders.
Vince: Okay. So here’s, here’s what I’m hearing now. Because I’ve been a Pastor for about 25 years. And I want to make sure that the leaders out there understand what they’re getting themselves into. It’s not getting them into this kinda big gimmick event thing that draws a bunch of people in. We’re trying to draw a certain kind of guy in. We’re inviting him to be a part of a process. And there may not be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people coming. And that’s okay, right?
Justin: Yeah, I think so. Of course, I would love to see that. I’d love to see every single man in our church be there on a Thursday morning. But I think the key to getting men to pray, and to pray together is – there needs to be variety. And a certain time a week’s not going to work for every guy. And so – but what we’ve sought to do is – and again, this is a principle to build prayer sidewalks along common footpaths in your– In the life of the church.
And this works in your own personal life too, is – where are people already gathering? What activity’s already happening? And how can we build the prayer into it? And I’m only one person, so I can only do so much, so–
Justin: I’ve sought then to take a smaller group of men and lead them through an experience of saying, “Here, here’s how I’ve been mentored in prayer.” You guys have actually been – experienced it first. So we actually had the experience first, then the explanation. We often go explanation then experience.
Justin: And so, we’ve been praying together for a year and a half. And then, about – almost a year ago, I cast a vision. And it came out of a – just my daily reading of scripture and talking in – into second Samuel of David and his 30 mighty men. And I thought, “What would 30 mighty men of prayer look like?”
And so we have a vision that I’m pursuing by God’s grace to have – develop 30 mighty men of prayer over the next 30 months. And to develop them, equip them, train them, empower them. Release them to be praying men and praying leaders in their families and the areas of influence of leadership of the church, in their workplace. And it has been such a blessing to see how God has used these men in those areas – various areas of influence in their lives in prayer.
Vince: Okay so now here’s how I’m hearing that as a leader. Just saying it back to you is – you just started with a very simple vision, and said, “Hey look, I want to pass this on to other men that can lead others over 30 months. 30 guys, 30 months.” And then you’ve said to yourself – and almost convinced yourself before you began that – look, this is not going to be a big gathering, but it’s going to influence – it’s going to influence all kinds of other ministries of the church.
Meaning you’re going to replicate yourself in such a way that these guys are going to influence your board meeting, your committee meetings, your youth ministry, your men’s – men’s gatherings etc etc. And these guys are going to bring prayer into the places that they infiltrate in the church, in the home, in the workplace. And you’re just going to teach them.
And you’re going to keep it exciting, and you’re going to use certain patterns. And they’re going to engage. Some of them are going to be faithful, some of them not. But you’re going to allow the strategy to infiltrate everything that happens. I think that sounds really interesting and doable by most leaders. How has – how have you seen results from this over the last couple of years?
Justin: Yeah, yeah absolutely. Well, I think – again – just starting with praying with other men and this persevering in that place of prayer. There are a lot of – a lot of mornings – myself as the leader of the prayer meeting didn’t want to show up, ’cause I was just tired.
Vince: Thank you for being honest.
Justin: I will be honest in saying that. But let me tell you what, I have never left a Thursday morning prayer time thinking, “Oh, I wish I would’ve slept in today.” Like it’s, it’s amazing to see what God has done. And the way that – I have seen men now, from that time – lead their wives in prayer. Take the passage of scripture that we prayed through out of that morning, and then bring it into their family devotions. Bring it into board meetings. And bring it into a small group.
We’ve seen God bring physical healing, provide jobs. Release and work – really do miraculous things, just from persevering in prayer. And my particular heart as a leader – I was strategic in who I picked to be part of that first group. As I picked men that were a part of the various leadership areas and leadership teams of our church.
So I picked 2 men from our leadership board, 2 men from our deacon board, and 2 men from our mission board. And that’s where I began. And it’s been so cool to see and to share with them – leading now others in prayer. And to see this – from this small beginning, in this smaller group of men – as you said earlier, Vince. Is now impacting dozens of other people throughout the church.
Vince: And see that’s – that’s small beginnings, but massive influence, right? I think that’s exactly what Jesus did. He took a few guys that changed the world. And he poured into them his passion and his discipline for prayer. Even though he didn’t have to, like you’ve said before. And I think that’s beautiful. And this makes this doable for any Pastor, any men’s leader, any leader in a church anywhere. This just makes it very, very doable. Just don’t make it gimmicky as you say.
Make it simple, invite people, identify them – and encourage them to be a part of a process for a period of time. That helps them to engage with the motive, and the method and the mission of prayer like you’ve done. Justin, this is so encouraging for me as a man, me as a leader. Thank you so much for paving the way in your church around prayer.
Because I tell you, I speak at churches all the time. I’m always filling pulpits. And on Sunday mornings – the first place I go is to the prayer gathering. And I can tell you in most situations in most churches – there’s very, very few people – if ever more than a handful there. And yet we know that prayer has the power to change us, and the power to change our churches. So thank you so much for leading the way.
Justin: Oh well, again – I’m just – one small part, and I’m struggling like all the rest of you. And I’m just – I’m grateful that I can do it together with other men and other brothers and sisters in Christ. So thank you, it’s been an honor to be a part of this podcast.
Vince: Well guys, that’s the show. Thanks so much for listening again. As we close, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s group on our website. Excellent small group videos, participant handbooks that empower the men of your church to lead. We also have men’s daily devotionals. This leadership podcast, and other tools to help you build the men around you.
Check it all out at beresolute.org. Or you can send me a direct email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you send me a personal email, I will give you a free trial membership, so that you can give some of these tools a spin with the men that you lead. And as always, I say – I want you to enjoy these podcasts, but please know that the time we spent together is worthless unless you choose to act on it. So do something today, by getting off the bench and into the game. And I will see you right back here next time on another edition of The Resolute Podcast.