We were a part of an amazing time of ministry while we were in Tomball. It was a perfect ministry storm. No man could have orchestrated it, but God’s ways are higher than ours. (Is 55:9)
Here are some of the pieces I’ve been able to assemble:
- He used Pastor Mike Mathews to begin a process of teaching and training/opening up the eyes of leaders (including myself) in the church. Mike was also the man God used to safeguard the work He was doing with the students.
- Through Mike, God exposed me to a few different ministry models which resonated within me. (Experiencing God, Saddleback’s Baseball Diamond model, and the Navigators leadership training) He also began to reveal a specific group of students that He wanted to reach. He was birthing a vision within me. God was inviting me to join Him in His work.
- He worked within the community to place a longing for real spirituality within a group of students – some of them were skaters.
- He assembled a group of adult volunteers who would connect with students and have a real heart for reaching these “tough” kids. They would also eventually rise up to defend the ministry against all kinds of critics. God worked to make these adults into a real family – they shared more than ministry but their very lives together.
- He gave a special group of students a passion for doing ministry to their peers.
- He used a few fringe students to invite their skater friends and spark a movement of students to become a part of “The Wave.”
- He moved the right people into financial positions within the church who got behind a vision for reaching these students and tripled the youth budget – eventually even adding another part-time youth position.
- He used the week-in/week-out efforts of preparing for this program to help raise up students who would develop into servant-minded leaders. Most are very involved in ministry even now. A few of the current roles that these students are involved in are: Pastor, Worship leading, church planting, small group leaders, missions, Christian artists, Sound/Video/Photography tech, etc.
- He used the program to reach some of the toughest students in the community. We saw the fruit of some of these efforts during those days, but many have tracked me down and contacted me since that time to express their thanks and tell how “The Wave” impacted them. Some who were lost have been found and are following Jesus now.
I recently attended a wedding for one of the students who came to Christ through this ministry. The wedding was full of students who were a part this special time. The pastor, the worship leader, the wedding party, etc were all familiar with this ministry storm I’ve described. Each one of them was another piece of the “Perfect Storm” that God created. Many expressed their gratitude to me that day so I wanted to paint more realistic picture of what really happened. Yes, I was a part of the storm, but it was truly God’s work. I’m grateful to God for inviting me into His work and feel like I’ve been able to see some of the fruit of my labor – however, my labors were only worthwhile ’cause they were joined with His labors. In reality, it’s the fruit of His labors that I’ve been able to witness and because I joined Him, it feels like my labors were fruitful. Truth is: They were.
Because of Him, they were.
And I am grateful.
Whoa!! I came home from a rough day @ church last night and found the most amazing e-mail awaiting me.
Simon was a “hard headed punk kid that had it all figured out.” Those are his words but I’d say they’re pretty accurate. I was the leader for a youth ministry skating outreach program called “The Wave.” In those days, we typically had between 70 and 150 youth, but every one of my volunteers knew Simon. He was loud. He was disrespectful. He did whatever he could to be the center of attention – even if the attention was negative. The volunteers and I prayed for Simon pretty regularly and discussed how we could keep being witnesses to him without letting him railroad us. He was tough. We didn’t have very many answers – just prayers.
I think it’s been about 7 years. Anyway, here are some pieces of what he wrote to me:
It’s Simon Holloway from Tomball. How are you doing brother?
Wait. . . .Did he just call me “brother?”
I was thinking about you today and the influence you had in my life, when I was younger. . . I sincerely want to thank you for showing me grace and spreading the word with me. . . About 2 months ago I was saved and for the first time had a better understanding about Him and Jesus. After that happened I thought about you many times and you inspired me. I knew it was all real because I had proof from another source, and that was you. It’s all because I think of an old time at The Wave when I was cussin at you and just being a pain in the rear for everyone up there, I was thinking you were coming to rip me a new one when you came and talked to me and gave me grace. It’s almost like in the Bible when they bring the woman who is caught for adultery and they’re expecting Jesus to get mad. Instead Jesus gives grace like he always does and I now see that in you, today.
Whoa! I sure don’t remember that incident. All I really remember is wondering how I could try to be Jesus to him when I really wanted to “rip him a new one” – Had I done it, I would have done exactly what he expected and I would have lost any influence I had with him. Wow! Only by God’s grace did I do the right thing – the thing that he remembered and that made the difference in his life. Had I reacted on my own emotional influences, I would have played right into his misconceptions of God. I guess in some ways, this whole thing sounds sort of like I’m bragging, but what I’m trying to say is that I know how close I was to doing the wrong thing and that God’s power. . . His Spirit is the only thing that made a difference. I want to brag for sure, but on God, not on me. God is amazing!!
Well Steve, I just wanted to thank you a lot and let it be known what you did for me when I was younger and now. . . . I will definitely be praying for you bro and I know God will show you grace in the situation!
Talk to you soon.
God got a hold of Simon!!!!! Whoa. That’s an e-mail I would have never imagined receiving. If Saul could become Paul, I guess Simon could become a Christian too, but. . .well, sometimes those ministry days seemed unfruitful. They were hard. We kept trying, but it just didn’t seem like we were getting anywhere. I can look back now and see that’s true. We weren’t getting anywhere – BUT GOD WAS!! He used those times and used us in spite of our ignorance. In spite of ourselves.
Man, I love these kinds of stories. We serve an incredible God!!! He is amazing! His power is ultimate and intimate and infinite! He can and does move people’s hearts. (Both Simon’s and mine that day.) He gives us the strength to follow Him even when we don’t feel like it. He can take a hard headed punk and turn him into a humble servant. He is over all and above all and through all. He is God. He is Yahweh! He is our strength, our redeemer, our salvation, our joy, our light, our love. He is love! He gives love! His character is love!
Prayer:Lord, thank you for Simon. Guide him deeper into your presence. Hold him close to You and draw him close to other believers who will truly disciple him. Use him for Your eternal works and for Your glory! Thank you God for sending this message to me. As You know, it was perfect timing. I needed it. Thank You for choosing me for that time and place in ministry. It was an honor to have been a part of such amazing blessings and to have worked with so many incredible volunteers and students. Lord, hold me close and guide me deeper into your presence. I love You and truly can’t imagine this life without You. I need You.You’re are amazing and it’s not just me that thinks so. . . “Simon says” too! AMEN!
PS – Simon gave me permission to repost his e-mail. He even said, “Never know, it could make an impact on someone else life.”