The day has finally come where we get to share with you, our friends, about the exciting adventure God has been planning for our lives over the course of the last season (but really, perhaps, the last 3 years). But before I tell you, there’s an incredible back story in which God deserves the credit for writing.
Just 3 months ago, after great prayer, consideration and counsel, I choose to resign from my position at FBCJAX. Kisha and I simply waned to be obedient to God’s leading, wherever that calling led us. The journey to that decision had not been easy. But, with confidence, I knew it was the right decision for the passions God had placed in my heart. Trusting God, I stepped away from a community of people that we had done life with and invested in for almost ten years.
It was over the course of those 10 years at FBCJAX that God began stirring and forming a path that I still can’t quite believe I’m on. You see, almost every trip that our family would take to Wilmington or Myrtle Beach would take us right through Hampstead on hwy 17. For almost three years Kisha and I would talk about the amazing work that God is doing through Renovation Church and the friends we have who have been a part of that young church plant. We would often talk about the future impact of Renovation Church on Hampstead and surrounding communities. At that time we were simply champions for Renovation, never imagining that God would allow us to be apart of that very movement we watched take shape and prayed for often.
God is good! As we stepped away from FBCJAX, we decided to attend to Renovation Church for worship and to just recharge. During this season God began opening a door to a new possibility.  Every phone call, meeting, conversation and worship gathering affirmed God’s leading in our lives. And so, after much prayer and conversations (and simply, God moving in ways I can’t explain), we are excited to let you know that on Jan 1, I will be joining the team at Renovation Church (Hampstead, NC) as their Executive Pastor. Kisha, the boys and I could not be more excited about the next season of ministry for our family. I look forward to being a small part of a greater story for the glory of God. We are more confident than ever that this was God’s purpose in stirring our hearts and leading us to Renovation Church.  I can’t thank Pastor Jonathan and the leadership of Renovation Church enough in how you have loved my family and me during this process.
I’m forever thankful for my time at FBCJAX and the friendships that we built as they helped prepare me for the next chapter in which God had been working on in many ways and for many years. Throughout this entire process, Kisha and I have been overwhelmed with God’s goodness to our family. He has been far greater than we deserve.
To our friends and family, we want to say thank you for how you have supported and encouraged our family over the past several months. Continue to keep the prayers coming as the fun is just now beginning!
Anxiety on the Rise and Our Response

Anxiety on the Rise and Our Response

Over the years, I have met with and counseled more teens than I can remember on depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. The weight of those counseling sessions was always heavier for me than others. Most sessions left me with my head in my hands trying to figure out how we got in this place. How did we get here?

I will never forget the night. It was the night before we tore down a back wall of our student facility for renovation needs. That night we were talking about a phrase called, Stockholm Syndrom. At the end of the service, we encouraged students to write on the wall the things that were holding them captive. The things that they kept running to but wanted to be set free from. Little did I know, the weight of the words that would be written.

I remember sitting there with my head in my hands wondering how we got here. It seemed that every third note was about suicide, anxiety, depression or despair. The troublesome fact was, most parents had little to no idea. From my experience, most teens don’t tell their parents about their feelings or thoughts as it pertains to this topic until they are much older or it’s too late.

Teen anxiety has been on the rise since 2012. In 2015, about 3 million teens ages 12 to 17 had had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 2 million reports experiencing depression that impairs their daily function. About 30% of girls and 20% of boys–totaling 6.3 million teens–have had an anxiety disorder, according to data from the National Institute of Mental Health (times magazine). These stats are more than likely on the low end as most teens don’t express their need for help. A 2015 report from the Child Mind Institute found that only about 20% of young people with a diagnosable anxiety disorder get treatment.

The reality is that our kids are growing up in a world that is very different than the world that we grew up in. They will never know a time where terrorist attacks, church shoots, school shootings are not the unfortunate norm. They are growing up in a digital world where they are constantly comparing themselves to everyone around the world in the blink of an eye. Not to mention the unrealistic pressures and standards that are placed on our kids by the educational system. To be successful you must do x, y and z.

So what’s the solution? What can we do as a generation to give hope to the next generation? I don’t have the complete answer yet, but I believe it begins with teaching our children when they are young about the sovereignty of God. Showing them that there is a God that loves them beyond their wildest imagination (John 3:16) and that He can be trusted no matter what happens in life

Isn’t it strange that our kids have no trouble believing that a fat man in a red suit can slide down a small chimney and give all kids in the world gifts in one night? What would happen if we invested the same amount of energy, from childhood into showing them why they can trust God with the circumstances of their life. When their life is the easiest begin teaching them about the sovereignty and provision of our the heavenly Father.

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:31-32).

Over the next several wks, I will be posting several times about ways to fight anxiety, worry, fear with trusting God. Let me know if this is something that you struggle with and if there is a particular area that you would like for me to speak to.

5 Ways To Trust God

5 Ways To Trust God

1.Regular Family Devotions & Prayer: Regular time with God increases our dependency on God. The more kids learn about the depth and breadth of the love of Jesus, the more they will have the confidence to lean on Him. Instilling a regular routine of scripture and prayer in our children’s lives is one of the more valuable spiritual skills we can hand our children. Family devotions don’t have to be 45 min’s long around the kitchen table. They can be but don’t have to be. The goal is for our children to be excited about their time with God. So, meet your kids where they are, on their level. Don’t be afraid to change it up. There are many nights that Kisha and I ask our kids, “what are you thankful for?” This one question opens the floor for some great conversation and we close by thanking God for those things.

Options: There are many great options to choose from.

  • ParentCue App: We will sometimes use the Parent Cue App because it helps reinforce the truths that kids our children are learning in their small group’s ar church. Check it out HERE!
  • Bible App: The Bible App by Life Church has some incredible family devotions for all ages. Check it out HERE!
  • A Good Children’s Bible: Jesus the Story Book Bible is a great tool for Parents. Check it out HERE! /

2.Be Involved in a Gospel-Centered Church that Values Your Family. As parents, Kisah and I are forever grateful for our son’s small group leaders. No matter what kind of week they had at school, their small group leader’s remind them that they are loved beyond their wildest imagination. A gospel-centered church is essential in helping children rightly understand God’s love and His might.

3. Memorize Scripture Together. The more our children know about God’s word, the more they will trust Him. Here are a few verses that are helpful to memorize.

  • 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
  • Psalm 33:4: For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
  • 1Chronicles 16:11: Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
  • Isaiah 41:10:  So do not fear, for I am with you. do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

4. Model Scripture. The more our children see us as parents keep our promises, the greater their potential will be to trust God’s promises. Try making some simple promises to your children that you can easily fulfill. Promise to buy them ice cream (for no reason) or take them on a bike ride. Whatever promises you make, be sure to follow through and remind them that just like you kept your promise so does God.

5. Do Something Fun. Set aside 15-30 minutes to play a fun game or activity that encourages children to trust God. Here are a few ideas: play the Blind Walk game or Bat and Moth game. At the end of the games discuss why it’s important to listen to God. Another fun activity is to read the story of Noah (Gen. 7-9) together. Spread out a piece of butcher paper or cardboard and draw a huge rainbow. As you are drawing have someone in your family tell a story of when they saw a rainbow. Hang the picture up as a reminder that becauseGod keeps His promises we can trust Him.



By: Jake Ferguson

Coaching has as many styles as there are coaches.  If the old cliché, “There is more than one way to skin a cat,” has any truth; it has truth in coaching.  It is recognized that coaches will lead and mentor LifeGroup Leaders according to personality, life experience, and unique relationships with God.  The relationships that the coach builds over time with their Leaders and Hosts will pave a way for spiritual growth and biblical fellowship.

What is a Coach and what does a Coach do?  In short, a coach is a leader whose intentional investment in the lives of other leaders encourages them to do and be better; better not just in their leadership role…but better, period.  A Coach calls out the best in a leader.  The relationship between Coach and leader is the engine that God uses to drive the leader to reach their God given purposes.

A coaching relationship is successful when the coach invests in the leader in such a way that the leader feels cared for and able to accomplish the task.  Four things that a Coach must keep in mind when mentoring a LifeGroup Leader and Host:

  1. They EQUIP the leader and host

2. They SERVE the leader and host

3. They SHEPHERD those under their care

4. And they further RECRUIT more leaders and hosts through relational development



By: Megan Saurman

Leading, mentoring and coaching. All these words seem to carry the same similar theme… moving people in a direction, aiming to reach a goal, implementing wisdom to help another person or group be successful. How each of these words accomplish that end result though is very unique.

If you are praying about what role is right for you and if you can be more than one of these in the same season lets explore their differences and the way each one works in its own method.

You can absolutely be all of these at the same time, you can be a LifeGroup Leader and a LifeGroup Coach simultaneously  – the key is to know how much you can take on and still be highly effective, and to pray about who in your sphere of influence needs you to be which role in their life.

Leading a LifeGroup means you provide a clear vision for your LifeGroup. You are growing a certain amount of people in God’s word, towards Next Steps in their faith. Your main priority is to love them where they are at, and help them be successful in reaching new levels in their faith and relationship with God. Cover them with support, and help them stay focused while their relationship with God is becoming deeper and more consistent.

Mentoring within a LifeGroup, which is part of the LifeGroup Leader’s role, is when you identify someone within your LifeGroup who has potential and interest in being a leader and you begin raising them up by not only leading them but also sharing your wisdom, life experiences, and your personal methods of growing closer to God and in God’s word. Intentionally take them along side you and tell them how you have been taught, share with them the positives and negatives of your own life experiences, and how to start being leaders themselves by slowly allowing them to participate in co leading with you.

Coaching a LifeGroup is a separate dynamic all together. The reason you can be a Coach and a LifeGroup Leader at the same time is because you will be coaching a different LifeGroup than the one you are leading. Coaching a LifeGroup means your role will be a listening ear to other LifeGroup Leaders and you will ask them a series of questions that draw an answer from within them, which will teach them to recount their observations, be objectionable about situations and learn to problem solve using the wisdom they themselves have learned. Yes, there be occasional times that you will have to offer your own advice, opinion, and fresh ideas to the situation.The best way to effectively coach is to be a sound board for the LifeGroup Leader you have been placed with, and to draw answers out of them so they learn to be a more effective leader who raises up more effective leaders.



By: Megan Saurman

Everyone. LifeGroup Leaders included. Coaches teach, train, and encourage others towards a certain direction. If you are a Leader then why do you need someone Coaching you? Because being on top can be lonely, and because as a LifeGroup Leader who doles out constant clarity, encouragement, wisdom and vision to your LifeGroup Members, you equally need someone pouring all those strengths right back into your life. 
As a LifeGroup Leader, should a Coach be your only source of receiving instruction, training and encouragement? No, but they are one of the only sources available that are simply there for you without asking anything in return. Here are 3 ways that you can benefit as a LifeGroup Leader by having a Coach in your corner: 
  • LifeGroup Leaders need to be refreshed on the vision and calling of being a Leader. Honestly, not all days do we as Leaders wake up motivated, not weighed down by life’s circumstances, ready to enthusiastically pour into other people. Coaches are meant to be there when we feel off track to help us continue to press on towards growing others, bring to mind why we live in biblical community, and to pray for us when our lives need some encouragement. Their enthusiasm is contagious on the days we need it most. 
  • Coaches have the playbook. Sometimes even as a Leader you may run into a situation within your LifeGroup where you could use a second opinion, a fresh set of eyes, and a pipeline to church leadership. Coaches are there for you to run situations by, to be confidential and objectionable in tough situations, and to share wisdom on how to handle things that may be out of your comfort zone, they also know when it’s time for church leadership to be advised. 
  • The main priority for a Coach is you. They care about how you are spiritually growing, if you are taking enough Sabbath rest time, they care if you are successful as a LifeGroup Leader, if you have victories throughout the week, and they want to pray for you when struggles arise. Their calling as a Coach isn’t a job, its not a task, you are not on their to-do list, you are their ministry, and they want nothing less than to bless you. 

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