Here We Go Again

It’s official.

I’m in Bryan/College Station for another year!

This post will hopefully give a nice, quick recap of this past year and give some of my hopes for the year to come in my new position as Youth Director overseeing ministry towards 5th-12th grade students.

 

1. I’m finally beginning to be emotionally healthy.

For the past two semesters our staff has been working through Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero (a pastor in Queens, NY). Basically, EHS is a few dozen counseling sessions in one cohesive book. Scazzero talks a lot about how Christians generally do a really great job at devaluing and disregarding their feelings or emotions and how destructive this pattern is to themselves and all the people around them (family, friends, co-workers, strangers, etc.). We’ve been learning together how to break out of these destructive habits and live in a new way that isn’t slowly deteriorating our souls.

This (along with having a couple really close friends and a fantastic girlfriend) has taught me some things:

  • I am a recovering control addict.
  • I am a recovering self-abuser.
    • I do want to clarify something here. I do not mean self-abuse. I mean that I am so naturally horrible at showing grace to myself when I sin. I get really down on myself and treat my brokenness in the exact opposite way that Jesus did.
  • I am NOT busy.
    • I’m just limited. It’s okay that I can’t regularly do what Jesus did in Mark 1 and heal all the sick people in the town, go spend time with Dad, and then – without sleep – go and continue on with my ministry. And that’s okay.

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*above is a picture of our church staff and wives from our trip to NYC for the Emotionally Healthy conference in May. We’re missing a couple people due to differing flights, but I’m sure you’ll see them eventually 🙂

The actual work portion of my job has been really exciting and growing. I wound up working primarily on building out the worship/production ministry and hammering out a lot of the details for our Sunday operations. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I was afforded this year, because I fully understand that most twenty-two year olds don’t just get to walk into the position I was so graciously given. So I’m thankful for a staff and a church that believed in me to do my job well.

 

2. I now get to do my best to continue building a youth ministry.

To be completely transparent this is really scary to me. It’s really easy for me to buy into everything that the enemy tries to tell me (i.e. – you’re too young, you’re not prepared enough, you’re gonna mess kids up, blah blah blah). It is. It really is easy for me to buy into that. But my friends and my co-workers have pumped so much empowerment into me and have been so affirming that I’m not stronger than the Lord. I totally might ruin everything, but the joy is that somebody still might get saved. The Lord’s gonna do what the Lord wants to do and however he wants to do it and he has invited me to be part of his story here in B/CS for another year and so I absolutely hopped on it.

Much of the way the I follow Jesus is based in my story with Younglife. I won’t go into details on this post; but if you’re interested, then you can read more about it here. But that is the mindset into which I am praying for our leaders buy. See, DC Youth does not primarily exist for students to show up in our youth room at the church. Our role is to engage students and make them feel noticed, known, loved, cared for, and ultimately to fight for them to know who Jesus is and what he did. That’s why we exist as a ministry. I would love for our team to know the names of every student in the schools that we engage; because how many of those students may have never been known before?

 

3. In order to do all of this, I have again been given the opportunity to raise support.

This past year, I watched the Lord do crazy things by raising my entire salary. He was so faithful in the little things (like finances) and in the big things (like seeing some of my friends know and walk with Jesus for the first time in their lives). So I’m neither offended that I have to support raise again, nor am I scared to support raise again.

My salary for the next year is 50% fundraised and 50% provided by Declaration. What this means is that unless I have a group of people around me that buy in to my vision and/or the vision of Declaration Church, I do not get to work for DC full-time.

As of right now, I currently need $5,000 more in order to meet my goal. (That is $416.67/month if you’d like to think about it that way). If this is something in which you’d like to partner with me (or at least hear more about), I’d love to talk more about it with you.

I’ve attached a link at the bottom of this post that takes you to a page with more information and where you can give if you feel so inclined! Don’t feel pressured, but do know that I would absolutely love to have you on my team going forward.

 

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*above is a picture of my friend Alex and myself after he got baptized at the end of our New Mexico hiking trip with some other guys from Declaration. In December he had never heard of Jesus. By April, he was saved. By May, he was baptized.

 

In short, the Lord is continuing to blow up the cities of Bryan and College Station. It’s truly an exciting honor to get to stay for at least another year and befriend (hopefully hundreds of) middle and high schoolers and tell them why the matter so much to me.

If you’d like to hear more about what I’m doing or more about Declaration Church, please don’t hesitate to ask! My email is heyden@declarationchurch.net and I’d love to answer any question that I can. The following link goes to a page that has more information about my Residency Program.

https://www.declarationchurch.net/Heyden.aspx

When in Bryan (Month Seven)

I have to make a plan. If I can make a plan, I won’t be afraid.

I’ve been reading a lot lately. My goal for reading this year is to read 25 books of all varieties. I’m currently sitting at 4 completed; but I should be done with two more before May (hopefully). The quote above comes from one of the books that I’m currently reading.  This quote is essentially the summation of what I’ve learned about myself since my last blog post. Hopefully this post isn’t too candid; but what is a blog if it’s not honest, right?


I’m a total control freak.

As a matter of fact, I learned that it got so bad in January that I chose circumstantial control over people that loved me and wanted to fight for me. Who does that?

 

The past month or so for me has been a lot of failing and a lot of learning; just like your twenties are supposed to be, I’ve heard! So here is an incomprehensive list of the things I’ve learned in the past 50 (or so) days:

  1. I am smart; but I do not know everything. (see, @mom, I can finally admit it!)
  2. The way I do things is fantastic…for me…a lot of the time; but it’s actually way healthier for people to have their own ways of doing certain things than for people to do things like I do them.
  3. People have different life goals than me that influence their actions. (i.e. – My goal is generally to get in-and-out of the grocery store as quick as humanly possible and so I know where the things are that I need and I don’t get anything else. But someone else might have the goal to get everything they need or will need soon and they don’t want to miss anything, so they are not in any big hurry. AND BOTH WAYS ARE PERFECTLY FANTASTIC; they’re just different. And different isn’t just good; different is healthy.)
  4. Thankfulness is essential. And people should know that you’re thankful for them.
  5. I am not in control. I never have been in control. The Lord does his thing in spite of me most of the time, and for that I am wildly thankful. He sees the big picture that I don’t. He sees the full puzzle; and I’m over in the corner not even able to get past one edge piece (side note: I suck at puzzles in a literal sense AND a metaphorical sense).

 

I’ve gotten to watch grace in action over the past few weeks. There are people that I screwed over because I fought harder for control than I did for them. Yet when I apologized to them for the specific things I did to hurt them, they looked me in the face (or in a letter) and said, “I believe you…I believe in you…and I believe in grace & forgiveness — the kind that gives 2nd & 3rd & 1000s of chances until we can finally stand & proclaim the joy of getting it right.”

 

Grace.

 

I’ve gotten to read the Bible with some new friends of mine, and we talk about grace every time we sit down to read. I get to tell them week-in and week-out that we can’t make sense of grace because our logical minds can’t wrap our heads around the fact that someone could possibly forgive us and gladly move on WITH YOU in pure joy and excitement. Grace doesn’t make sense. If grace made sense, it wouldn’t be amazing. If grace made sense, then it wouldn’t really mean that much that Jesus hanged on a cross taking all of our sins on himself and gave us his righteousness so that we could be sons and daughters of the King of kings and Creator of all things.

So, in the midst of all of the trials, errors, and failures of the past couple months, I’ve seen and learned more about who the Lord is and how badly I need the him. So it makes sense now why Paul talked about boasting in his weaknesses; because it is in Paul’s weakness that he gets to experience the raw majesty, power, and authority of the Lord.

It’s in my weakness that I get to experience the raw majesty, power, and authority of the Lord. 


 

In regards to the quote at the very beginning, I’m kinda like the character that said it. We’re both starting to slowly figure out that we don’t plan to be successful; we plan to try and sidestep fear. But to sidestep fear is to be a coward.

Courage isn’t a lack of fear.

Courage is action in the face of fear.

Courage is engaging fear as it comes; not avoiding potential future fear.

I’m learning how to be courageous and not be bound by my fear. I’m still pretty bad at it. But I wouldn’t rather be learning courage around anyone else than those I’m with in life right now.

When In Bryan (Month Five)

Well, it’s been a minute since I made myself sit down and reflect on what life has been lately. Mainly because sitting down and reflecting means processing and processing means time and I’d rather not give myself time out of some pseudo-humble mindset thinking that’s the most selfless and servant-hearted thing to do. It’s funny that I perpetually think this way after so many times of realizing that the most selfish thing I could possibly do is not deal with what’s going on with me and the way I feel and what has been great and what has sucked.

 

Don’t worry, the point of this post isn’t to list out all of those things, just wanted to let you know that’s why I didn’t have a blogpost about December and why this one about January is so late!

 

Some things I learned in December/January:

  1. I can’t change who the Lord says that I am. (see this, this, and this)
  2. People really can care about you. It’s O.K to believe them.
  3. It’s O.K for goodbye’s to be hard. It’s actually really normal. So I shouldn’t act like it’s not hard.
  4. “True peacemakers love God, others, and themselves enough to disrupt false peace.” – EHS
  5. Everyone is different from me. So let them be different. Different is wonderful.

 

I’ve been chronically bad at praying for myself for the past I don’t even know how long. My most consistent prayer in the past couple weeks is for the Lord to teach me 1) to recognize my need and 2) to humble myself and just ask for help (because it’s not like I stand a fighting chance of satisfying my needs anyways, honestly.)

 

So that’s the quick and easy version of where my mind has been the past couple months.

 


 

As for work, my job has been a lot of reading, which I love.

We’ve still been going through “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” as a staff and it, of course, has continually be kicking me in the gut and making me realize that I am not nearly as put together as I would’ve said in August (or December, honestly). So I highly recommend it for anyone. Find some pals, get the book, be honest with each other, and delve up all of the fun things you didn’t even know you were suppressing! It’ll be fun, I promise, you just may have to wait until the end of the book to see how fun it is…

 

The other book I’ve been reading is specifically for “worship” leadership, and it’s called “Doxology & Theology“. I’ve been going through it with a couple of friends and am about to teach through it with some of our band members at church. It does an incredible job of teaching the whys and the hows of worship leadership, and it’s also incredibly readable.

 

My team is still incredible. We’re excited to have Blake back from Sabbatical tomorrow and to finally be a full team again. I couldn’t have asked for a better team and family in this season of life. (The people’s faces that are covered are like so because I am not about to potentially compromise their ability to get into certain countries because they are linked to a church).IMG_5093.JPG

When In Bryan (Month Three)

If you know me in any capacity, you know that I love kids. As a matter of fact, kids aged      1½ to about 8 years old may be my favorite demographic of human being on the face of the planet. They teach me so much about living life to the full and having fun and laughing a lot and being an adventurer.

One of the highlights of November was going to watch my pal Jett at his first soccer skills showcase (try saying that 10 times fast…). While it obviously wasn’t the best soccer I had ever seen, it was unbelievably incredible to see how much he lit up when Drew, Marissa, and myself all showed up just to watch him! (It was also incredible to watch his mom play goalie against his dad and hope that he didn’t kick her in the face and also hope that she didn’t beat him up for kicking her in the face).

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There were a few other things that happened in November, as well:

-The Aggies’ football program spontaneously combusted.

-I’ve begun to practice the art of task delegation. Which means I get to actually equip and train people in areas instead of doing jobs myself.

-I turned 22.

-My niece, Zoey (check out the #zoeywatch on Instagram, if you’d like) who is three years old will finally snuggle with me for more than ten seconds.

 

This month has been far lighter than the last couple months and I am so incredible thankful for that. In my last blog, I wrote about how the Lord was growing me in emotional health and that has absolutely continued. But it has been wonderful to live in the kind of freedom that is offered by living in the light. I’m learning how to communicate with my co-workers, friends, and girlfriend better and better. I’m learning that I don’t have to hold in my emotions or how I’m feeling and that it is OK to externally process the good and the bad with my people. However, this month has not been quite as much of a punch in the face as last month was (praise the Lord).

 

The Lord has also been growing me in thankfulness. Maybe it’s just the season, or maybe I’m just growing up, but I wake up most mornings more thankful than the day before. Thankful for my breath, thankful for the ability to move and walk and run and lift things, thankful for people that care, thankful for means of transportation, and ultimately thankful for the fact that Jesus came and took my place, lived a life I had no shot at living and died a death I absolutely deserved. And Jesus did all of this so that I could live with the Father forever? Dang. That thought breeds thankfulness.

 

It’s been a good month and I’m thankful for the breath of fresh-air with which the Lord has gifted me in this season. BRING ON THE HOLIDAYS!

When In Bryan (Month Two)

I can’t even believe it is already November. I feel like October would’ve been nearly non-existent had the LORD not totally began to demolish a bunch of the walls I’ve been building up in my heart and soul for the past five years. This past month has been a lot more emotionally taxing than physically taxing (as September was).

We as a church staff have started reading a book together and spending a good chunk of our staff meeting processing through it together. The book is called “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero. This book has been a consistent kick in the teeth for the past few weeks. Here’s a few things the Lord has been revealing to me about myself (some of which I may write about as the month goes on, but this isn’t the time to go in to detail about all of this).

 

  • I am not good at submitting to leadership.
  • I am not even close to as humble as I thought.
  • I am afraid of being known because really anyone who has truly known me in the past has pretty much dropped me at some point (with a few exceptions).
    • This has led to me choosing to live in the dark on a lot of stuff and let me tell you, I wish everyone would live in the light. It is far healthier and far more bearable and joyful of a life. It far more closely reflects the life Jesus describes in John 10:10.
  • I have an inherent lack of trust for people within the Church.
    • I also generally have unrealistic expectations of people in the church, I think.
  • Love doesn’t hinge on clarity and clarity doesn’t bring forgiveness.
    • Love breeds forgiveness regardless of clarity.

 

And in the midst of all of this demolition of my synthetic inner walls, I’ve realized this as well: I am far less important than I thought I was, but I am far more loved and cared for than I could ever imagine.

I’ve had so many conversations in the past two weeks of repentance and forgiveness. Not because I am fully healed from things that have happened or the lies people have fed me or the abandonment that I’ve faced from people who have used me. No. Those things still hurt. But what’s different now is that I’m not pouring the salt of bitterness and resentment into those wounds while the Lord is trying to bind up my broken heart and heal my wounds. Now I get to sit and be taken care of by the Lord and by my friends and I don’t feel resentment anymore. I can sit and be bandaged and not rip the bandage off to pour in more dirt and salt. My wounds aren’t infected anymore and that is the first step of being emotionally and spiritually healthy.

Please don’t get me wrong, it has been really terrible and exhausting for the Lord to come in like a bull in a china shop and demolish all of my walls. But it has also been so good because I’ve gotten to taste, see, and feel the goodness of God the Father because while he’s come in swinging, he sits there with me while HE builds everything back up and speaks life and speaks identity over me.

“You’re my son.” He says. “Of course I’d fight off all of these lies that have surrounded you.”

October was crazy and tiring, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

When In Bryan (Month One)

Well. I’m officially one month into my Residency program at Declaration Church in Bryan, Texas. And let me just say, it was nothing short of exciting! I want to just highlight a few of things to give you the gist of my first month.

 

 

  • Not only did I reach my financial goal for my year of residency, but the Lord exceeded my goal and He did it through the most unexpected of means!! A HUGE thank you to all of you that are supporting me financially. I obviously could not be doing it had you not been obedient to where the Lord was asking you to give. I so appreciate you.

 

  • We had an overflow room! (kinda…). The first three weeks were absolutely crazy and our seating capacity was beyond maxed out. So, to counteract this so people could come and sit and hear and respond to the Gospel, we worked our tails off to create an overflow space in the back of the building.

 

  • We have interns and they are freaking stellar at their jobs! One of them is specifically our worship intern and he has been an unbelievable asset by helping me shepherd our band members and auditioning new instruments and singers and helping me cast our vision for our worship ministry. It has allowed me to breath a little more. And then our other intern is specifically focused on production. He has been so key in helping me drive up the quality of our worship services so that our excellence will point people to the excellence that is the person of Jesus.

 

  • We had baptism service on the 25th and it was SO INCREDIBLE. Kids were getting baptized, students were getting baptized, adults were getting baptized. The Gospel is advancing in Bryan/College Station and the trajectories of people’s lives and their family’s lives are beginning to radically change!

 

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The bulk of the past month has involved learning that I can’t do everything. And even if I somehow could do everything, I shouldn’t; because then others can’t have a stake in the kingdom advancing.

I’ve learned a lot about delegation and leadership of leaders.

I’ve been starting to learn again that I don’t always have the most important thing to say and that my opinion isn’t always the best one.

I’ve gotten to have incredible Gospel-centric conversations with kids and with students and with adults.

The Lord has been super gracious and kind as He always is and I’ve been growing more and more thankful for all of the gifts He’s lavished on me.