- August 4, 2020
WINDERMERE When the movie “War Room” released in theaters this year, it raked in $67 million, a success for a movie with a budget of $3 million.
The movie, directed and produced by a team led by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, is the story of a family who appears to have a great life on the outside but is on the brink of falling apart when one of the family members discovers how powerful prayer really is.
The movie was accompanied by a series of books that provided additional teaching on prayer, and a Windermere pastor played a key role in writing one of the books.
Troy Schmidt, the downtown campus pastor for First Baptist Church Windermere, wrote “This Means War: A Strategic Prayer Journal,” the book in the series geared toward teenagers.
It was a new kind of book for Schmidt, who typically writes children’s books and daily devotionals.
“What excited me was it was something different and challenging, and I wanted to go for it,” he said.
His background and knowledge of the Bible through his writing for the American Bible Challenge helped him to get the job. Schmidt had to take the Kendricks’ idea and make it work for them.
Schmidt was initially connected through his agents, Bill Reeves and Brian Mitchell, of the Working Title Agency, and he went through a two-hour phone interview to get the gig.
Schmidt got writing instructions at the beginning, and he wrote the first draft in about one-and-one-half months.
“This Means War” is a prayer journal with Bible teaching sprinkled throughout. The project goal was to get teenagers thinking as they went through the book.
“Prayer isn’t a ritual; it’s a relationship. I think too often we don’t treat prayer as a dialogue with God, meaning I’m talking, he’s talking. We think that we have to say all the right words in the right sequence, at the right time. It’s supposed to be more natural.”
— Troy Schmidt
While working on the book, Schmidt was also in Los Angeles working on the show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”
Each morning, he would wake up at 5 a.m. and work on “This Means War.” At 9:30 a.m., he would head out to work on the show.
Along the way, Schmidt learned important lessons about prayer.
He was writing “This Means War” and a book of his own — “The 100 Best Bible Verses on Prayer,” which comes out in early 2016.
“Prayer isn’t a ritual; it’s a relationship,” Schmidt said. “I think too often we don’t treat prayer as a dialogue with God, meaning I’m talking, He’s talking. We think that we have to say all the right words in the right sequence, at the right time. It’s supposed to be more natural.”
Schmidt’s journey to being involved in the Kendricks’ project started years ago.
In 1984, Schmidt moved to Los Angeles and began to work as a writer in television and film. He began writing for animation, including the popular series “Dennis the Menace.”
It was everything he dreamed, but he found life to be unfulfilling. It led him to turn to a church, pick up a Bible and discover God’s love for him.
“It completely changed my life — my perspective on things,” he said.
He and his family moved in 1992 to Florida so Schmidt could take a job writing for “Mickey Mouse Club.” He came on the church staff at First Baptist Church Windermere in 1997 and worked in several different roles before becoming campus pastor of the downtown campus. He has worked on game shows such as “The American Bible Challenge” and “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”
He started working on the Hermie series with Max Lucado in 2002 and saw his work begin to get published. Since then, he has written about 30 books, some self-published.
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected]