Category Archives: Gold Nugget Advice

Your Church Building: A Blessing or Curse?

It was almost 5 years ago I walked into the Crosspoint Center at Scott’s Hill Baptist Church.  I had been offered an internship there, and felt lead to take it.  These were all blind decisions and completely in trust of what God had before me.  But the whole thing was just confirmed as I walked into this building.  I knew I wanted to be a part of a community that valued its youth and would raise money to build such a feat.  You walk into a gorgeous welcome area, then look to the right and a fully functional Cafe is reaming with snacks.  In the back right corner are five pool tables decked out in the thematic bright orange dawned on Detour’s logo.  The back wall is full of bright television screens, and a large circular stage that dawns 10 or so big screen TV’s.  XBox 360s and Playstation 3s accompany the tube sets, with the most recent sports games available.  There is a space that has since been filled with a very popular Inflatable Velcro Wall.  Finally the back left corner houses a single ping-pong table, for the elite of paddlers.  Walking back to the front there are bright red couches where many conversations seem to be held, if only they could tell me what I was getting into.  There is a “spot” separated by glass panels that house stations for listening to music.  But the big show happens in the caged basketball court that fits right in the middle of the room.  Sound is being racked out from an upper level DJ booth that towers of the cage.

I was blown away.

Five years later and I still love giving the occasional tour around the place to Youth Pastors or friends in the ministry that come by.  But there is this idea or phrase that has started to haunt me and only recently surfaced into my heart.  As I walk the guest around, or as there have been others that have visited or heard of the building’s resources, there seems to be an equivalent expectation that with a building like this comes numbers.  Like because we have a building like this, then this is why we have as many students.  The building is the reason we have such great staff.  The building is what brings students to church every week and in “church” terminology, the building would be the backbone to our “successful Youth Ministry.”

But you see, it’s just a building.

Last week we held our weekly Student Outreach service on Wednesday night.  We had around 300 students show up as we finished a series of messages talking about Heroes from the Bible.  We finished the night off talking about the greatest Hero of all time, of course, Jesus.  I got a front-row seat at seeing God do amazing work that night as 23 students committed their life to His will, and to following Jesus.  There were four times that much that stood for accountability in their faith as they desire to continue to grow closer to God in the relationship they already had.

But was it because of the building?

This little rant is more of an encouragement to those who are a part of churches or ministries where it seems you don’t have all the resources you need to get accomplished what you feel you need to be getting accomplished.  This little rant is more of an encouragement to those who are doing great and mighty things for God’s Kingdom, while working one or two other jobs.  This is an encouragement to those who I have personally shown around this building I sit in right now and type this out.  It has nothing to do with the building.  God is great and can move in mighty ways no matter where you are, how big your building is, or how much “cool” factor there is!  If you have a calling and you put your all into it; if you pray without ceasing and obey as God works in Your life, they will come.

Now I know this building we have helps us out a lot.  It plays to our advantage, and don’t get me wrong, we as a team and staff are thankful for it day after day!  But we also know the Truth, that God does the work, not the building.  The students come for a few weeks maybe for “the building,” but they continue to come because they want to grow and learn more about Jesus.  For it was He who did a mighty work in them, and they want to grow in that.  God is the reason behind “our numbers.”  God is the success of our ministry.

If there was one thing to take away from this, here it is be:  Be thankful for the resources God has given you, but never use them as an excuse as to why or how God is working, or is NOT working.

Much love.

Advertisements

Healthy. Wealthy. Wise.

i’m getting old. let’s face it. 25 is a milestone. HAHAHA! just messin’ arounds but seriously, it is a milestone. i really can’t do the all-nighters like i used. albeit i don’t feel a ton of aches and pains, i definitely feel more than i used to. but i’ve realized its an ok thing. let me back up a bit on my thought process.

i have been given the awesome opportunity to lead worship on Sunday mornings in our extra service at Scotts Hill. my usual job is leading students in worship at Detour on Wednesday nights. so this brings something fresh and anew (which i love) as well as getting to work and lead other/different people (which i also love!). i have also began to journal my Sunday afternoon specifically in the mindset of the services. i wanted to record the experience, as well as look back on things i need to work on, and finally, keep a prayer list for the band, the people, and the Church. my heart is to remove myself from these times and allow God to change hearts. but i am human and i do mess up on silly things like prayers for Offering, skipping opening videos, etc.

as i began the entry for this last week, it was hard to pick out things within myself that “went wrong”. not saying i’m perfect by any means, but i definitely worked on my mishaps from the previous week. the band gel’d together like crazy! the engagement and environment were awesome. the way we did the service set up for an amazing time of worship and after the Message was spoken, it wasn’t hard to get into the presence of God and worship Him. seriously all-in-all it was an amazing Sunday.

except i was tired.

the one big thing that killed me is that i was tired. i realized not that i’m lazy, but on the weekends i sleep late and stay up late and come Sundays it kicks my rear end! that’s when i came to the epiphany i’ve been trying to avoid for some months now. i’m “getting old” and i need to start doing the whole “go to bed and get up early thing”.

but for now in my life, it makes sense to do so. i take the quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” it’s so true right now in my life. the earlier i get to bed, the better i feel the next day. i’m not sure yet about the wealthy part, but it does help me start my day off in God’s Word, which is about the wisest thing i know i can do.

i’m about to start back up in school to finish my degree and i know this principle has to begin in my life. i am lucky man in that i don’t have to be at work at the crack of dawn. but i’ve been wasting it away on sleep. i commit to working on this whole “old people” thing and get up early and go to bed early. filling my awake time with pursuit of dreams and desires God has laid on my heart. to write songs. to make music. to read books. to exercise. to live.

i hate getting old. but man i love it. and the ideas of the future look amazing.

much love.

Cleaning Out Your Closet

so i’m spending the day cleaning the house, again. after destroying as i painted the walls, i have to repair it back to where it was. but i began to notice that as the mess got cleaner on the outside, the closet space was getting slimmer and slimmer. my house might be spic and span, but don’t open the closet doors, in every closet!

what about our lives? do i do the same thing in my life? try to clean up myself so as to look nice and neat for everyone. but when a closet is opened, disaster.

God desires us to pure not on the outside, but clean on the inside! if you’re not clean on the inside, stop everything right now and get at it. or take notice and diligently work at it each day to clean out the closets. it might temporarily make the room or house or you dirty, but in the end every thing will settle back, and the room and the closet will be clean.

i realize we have more junk than we need, so i will continue to take the time and empty those closets. though my house appears to be clean, the truth is it’s not. unless you open a closet, you wouldn’t know it otherwise. we all struggle at this, but the truth is we all know if we are clean or have too much junk on the inside.

clean out your closet.

Always Charge Phone

so i learned another quick lesson tonight among many lessons learned throughout my engagement.  the lesson: always keep my phone charged.  i have to try to keep it charged no matter what.

i have to admit sometimes i love to just turn the thing off and let it go.  i love to just let it be silent from email updates, Twitter posts, and text messages.  but never make such a decision to do that without first telling that significant other.

it was last night and the phone was running low.  i was two streets away from my house and on the phone with Elizabeth.  we had just had an awesome time of American football and kickball with some crazy college students.  upon driving home we both decided we were tired and decided to post our “movie date night” to tonight to allow rest from a busy weekend and preparation for the week to come.  that’s when it died.  mid-sentence it died.  it had done that before i guess, but most likely she knew it was fading.  this time i guess not.

i didn’t think too much of it and came home to put it on the charger.  i was swamped from the craziness of the weekend and to top it off a great workout at the park.  i ordered a pizza online, then stretched back out the muscles that were screaming at me.  i then crashed hard on the couch and drifted into Lord of the Rings on the tube, and various Facebook meanderings.  time flew faster than i thought, then i suddenly heard a faint knock on the door.  i grabbed my wallet expecting to open the door to mr. dominos.

there she was.  wide-eyed and cute as a button.  she tried to smile through her frustration and fear.  i looked at her for two quick seconds before she grabbed me and the tears flowed.  she thought something had happened to me and was worried.  she drove all the way to my house the whole time expecting to see fire trucks and ambulances.

you see usually when my phone dies it goes straight to voicemail if you call it.  but for some reason it didn’t this time.  that little change in the norm triggered her heart for the worse.  as i held her there on my porch assuring her i was there and not going anywhere, i realized how much this gal cares for me and loves me.

i hope and pray God keeps me here on this Earth a long time, if not for anything but just to spend it with her.  she’s amazing and i can’t wait to marry this gal.

The Hollands

our life. our ideas. our struggles. our thoughts. our dreams. in words. for you.