Every Text is a Story: Celebrating and Praying for New Christians

Jeff Graf, the Divisional Director for Northeast College Ministries at the Navigators, was sitting at the dinner table with his family when he heard the ding of a phone notification. Conversation at the table paused as he turned on the phone he carried to see a single, yet powerful, text.

A student’s life had just changed forever — she dedicated her life to Christ!

After reading out the student’s name to his family, Jeff and his family stopped what they were doing, bowed their heads, and prayed over their new sister in Christ.

Two college-aged women smiling at a camera in a campground with trees and rocks.
Sara Merrill staff at University of Connecticut and Lauren Christie who came to Christ in April

The Glory Phone — the name for the unique cell phone Jeff carried — was created in August 2022 by Jeff and fellow Navigator collegiate staff members Adam Sperling and Beckie Wiegel to track and celebrate new student believers within The Navigators collegiate ministry.

“We wanted to find a way to reinvigorate a culture of evangelism on college campuses and celebrate the names of our new brothers and sisters in Christ,” Jeff says. “So we thought, ‘What if we got a phone that someone in the field could text when a student gives their life to Christ?”’

The way the phone works is simple. Any time a student confesses Jesus as their Savior for the first time, a Navigator can text the student’s name and campus to the Glory Phone. On the other end is a “keeper of the phone,” a Navigator at headquarters who holds it for a time before passing the phone along. The instant the phone rings, anyone nearby will pray over the new believer.

The Glory Phone has only two rules. You can’t silence the phone, and when it rings, you must stop whatever you are doing — no matter how important — to pray. “I don’t care if you’re in the middle of the most important decision in the history of The Navigators,” Jeff says. “When the phone goes off, we are going to stop what we’re doing, read the name, and pray over our new brother or sister.”

When the Glory Phone was first created, Beckie, Adam, and Jeff sat down to text every collegiate staff member across the country about how it was going to be used. Before they had worked their way through the list of staff, they already received their first name back — Anna.

Since then, 207 student names have been texted to the Glory Phone and intentionally prayed over. Each of these students have a story of coming to faith, much like a student named Ian*.

A map of the United States with hundreds of names of new believers from Navigators ministries.
Since the Glory Phones creation 207 names have been texted in each representing a student who gave their life to Christ

How Someone Who Is Resistant to Faith Becomes Open To Following Jesus 

Ian, a student at Rowan University, gave his life to Christ on a Navigators spring break service trip this past year. However, it took several months for him to get to that point. 

First connecting with The Navigators during the fall 2022 semester, Ian was skeptical about faith. He started to meet up weekly with Navigator staff Dan Mulley, consuming large amounts of Scripture to try to understand God and Christianity.

“He would come to meetings and share his opinions, I think sometimes just to get a rise out of people,” Dan says. “But I sensed a growing openness in him to what the Bible said and who Jesus was. By second semester, he started calling himself a ‘closet Christian.’”

It wasn’t until a spot opened up for Ian to go on a service trip to New York that the Lord flipped the final switch in his heart. Cameron Jones, another Navigator staff, watched as he saw Ian’s transformation over the span of a few days. At the beginning of the trip, Ian was resistant to worship, standing in the back of the room with his arms crossed.

However, later in the week, something had clearly changed. During the worship service that night, Ian was in tears.

As Cameron drove Ian home at the end of the trip, he asked Ian if he now fully believed in Jesus. Ian responded that he did, but he didn’t know how to make it official. Cameron explained the importance of verbal confession and believing with your head and heart.

“When I looked in the rearview mirror, I saw the eyes of our believing students open wide as Ian began saying out loud, ‘Well, I do. I do confess Jesus as Lord. I do believe that God raised Him from the dead for our sins,’” Cameron says.

Ways You Can Pray for New Believers

Ian’s testimony is just one of the 207 names of students — and many more to come — that have given their lives to Christ over the past year.

Through the Glory Phone, we have the opportunity to not only identify and praise the Lord for each of these student’s individual testimonies, but also to cover them in prayer as they continue to walk with the Lord.

Join us in praying over Ian, as well as the other 207 new believers that are entering their new life in Christ. Pray that the Lord would continue to surround them with a community of believers that can encourage them in their faith through Life-to-Life® discipleship.

Pray for the names of students not on the list yet, that God is calling them to know Him in a personal relationship in the next school year.

“These are our new brothers and sisters in Christ,” Jeff says. “We are going to celebrate and pray over every single name.” To God be the glory.

*name has been changed

Discipleship Tip:  
Think about a new believer in your life who you could celebrate today. Send them an encouraging text and ask how you could pray for them.

Share the Gospel With One-Verse Evangelism

Are you looking for a simple way to share the gospel?  The “One-Verse Evangelism” resource is a great way to share the gospel wherever you might be–even on a napkin—giving both a verbal and visual explanation of Romans 6:23. Be equipped for your next unexpected conversation with someone who has yet to hear the powerful message of the gospel!


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