Kristan always jumps.


Kristan ALWAYS jumps!  The woman has no fear.

Not me.  I’m a coward.

It didn’t start out this way – long before we arrived at our hotel in Negril I had already heard about their “famous” jumping bridge.  I had already pictured myself jumping off countless times.  Then I saw it…and it was HIGH!  It was so high that I was suddenly perfectly calm and relaxed.  Not a bit of fear…

Because I knew right then that I wouldn’t ever step off that bridge!  That anxious feeling one gets when they prepare to jump is avoided entirely when you know you’re not going to take the step.

You don’t actually feel fear until you think about doing something risky.

I’m terrified of church planting.

Can I be honest and admit that?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m excited and convinced it’s the BEST thing we can do. I believe with all my heart that God is moving and Proximity Church is already doing big things for the Kingdom.

But I live with that anxious feeling in my stomach like I’m about to jump off that bridge.

I never did go off the bridge in Jamaica, but I did jump off some slightly lower cliffs.  Kristan never made fun of me (though she did push me to go a little higher than I wanted to) and she always wanted to jump together.  That made it a lot easier.

Our team is getting ready to jump.

We are excited and anxious and a little bit nervous.

It’s ok to be nervous.  If your faith isn’t calling you into something a little bit uncomfortable and risky then you are probably missing something.  The pattern of Jesus and the disciples, the Holy Spirit, and the teachings of Scripture tell us we aren’t supposed to play it safe.  We are supposed to jump.

Thankfully we aren’t jumping alone!





Top 3 Ways to Improve Your Reedy Fork Run

Let’s get this out of the way: I’m not a “great” runner.  My time isn’t stellar and my form probably leaves much to be desired.  When I run I look like an 18 year old overfed pug


This is not a blog about running.  If you want some great tips on running (or picking the right kind of race for you), check my friend Mike’s blog out!  He’s a Reedy Forker as well, but he looks like a gazelle when he runs.

This is a different kind of runner blog…


  1. Give HIGH FIVES to joggers going the other way

    Let’s make this happen!  Head nods, half-waves and “hey’s” aren’t any fun at all!  We can do better Reedy Fork.  Sure, its a little weird at first but I’ve done it a few times out here and I’ve got to tell you: It’ll get you pumped up!  Every runner from pug to gazelle can use a high five.

    Can we make this happen? 


  2. Enjoy the Wildlife

    I don’t wear my glasses when I run.  So, this one time I was jogging on Turner Smith and I could barely make out the silhouette of a rock a few yards ahead of me on the sidewalk.  Being the ever so wise runner that I am, I planned accordingly and moved over 2 inches to the left to avoid stepping on the rock.  However, just as I was getting ready to land the rock jumped out under my foot and made a squish sound.

    We have so much wildlife to enjoy on our runs!  More than just squishy frogs.  Each one can add so much to your run!

    Do you need a little pick-me-up when your pace is a tad slow?  We have coyotes howling

    Do you need a calorie boost when your energy wanes?  We have drone ants swarming.

    Do you need a spider web in your face?



    No.  You absolutely don’t ever want a spider web in your face.

  3. Pray/Meditate/Clear your Head

    Life can be stressful.  It’s so easy to get lost in a busyness of job stuff, chore stuff and homework stuff.  Some of us are dealing with even bigger stresses in life – marriages that are struggling, kids that are off-track, bills that are piling up, health issues, emotional struggles…the list can go on and on.

    We can’t avoid it.  We can’t ignore the difficulties of life.

    The beauty of a good run, however, is that you get a little bit of time to compartmentalize all the messy parts and just focus on the run, or on nothing, or on avoiding spider webs.

    Personally, I like to pray when I run.  If I’m not praying for me I pray for the homes along my path.  So, if you live in Reedy Fork, I’ve likely prayed for you.

    Also, and this is a bit off theme – I sometimes catch myself singing.  I listen to music and often forget that people can hear me.

    So there you have it.  Three things to make your Reedy Fork Run just a little bit more enjoyable: High Fives, Wildlife, and Prayer/Meditation.  The most important thing to do, however, if you are going to enjoy a Reedy Fork Run is to just get out there and do it!  We have an incredible neighborhood with nice trails and challenging hills.  Start slow with a couch to 5k and build from there!  You’ll be moving on up from Pug to Gazelle in no time!

Proximity Church Serve Day

I dug me a hole!


I’m not exactly skilled in the agrarian arts.  That’s an understatement.  I’ve literally never planted a plant.  Nope.  Not one.  Ever.

Then, about two weeks ago, the principal of Northeast Middle School (future meeting place of Proximity Church) shared some ways our church could bless them.  Top of the list was landscaping the front areas of the building.

And my heart sunk.

I don’t know what I expected.  Maybe I was hoping he wanted help with his fantasy football team.

Nevertheless, landscaping it was!  Our team was pretty excited.  We have some workers at Proximity Church!  I told them up front I don’t even know the difference between a shovel and a spade.  I seriously thought they were the same thing (Still do).   So I just showed up and let talented people lead the this thing.  They absolutely killed it!  Such an amazing job by such an amazing group of folks.

One of my greatest dreams for Proximity Church is that, regardless of whether a person ever comes or not, they would WANT us around because we just make their lives and community better.

Thank you Northeast Middle School!  We are so appreciative of all that you do for your students (and how great you’ve been to us already)!  We look forward to a long partnership of making Northeast Greensboro incredible!

Oh…and for the record, I dug me a hole and planted my first tree


Top 10 Things about Living In Reedy Fork Ranch

I LOVE my community!  12 years ago my wife and I moved into a small little neighborhood in Northeast Greensboro called Reedy Fork Ranch.  At the time it was us and like 5 other houses.  Now it’s grown to be a massive community and I don’t think I’ll ever leave.  Sure, the houses are cookie cutter and kind of close together, but I think that’s part of the charm.  You’ll never convince me that Reedy Fork isn’t the greatest place to live in Greensboro.  So, here are my top 10 things about living here:

10. The Pool – We have a pool!  It’s awesome.  Sure, it’s too cold in the first month (except for the questionably warm moments that happen to coincide with a passing child), but it’s such a great way to spend the summer!


9. Halloween – If you have never experienced a Reedy Fork Halloween you have seriously missed out.  It is chaotic cuteness on steroids.  Oh, you think you are going to watch Hocus Pocus and occasionally get up to greet a couple of superheroes and princesses as your door before returning to your couch?  That’s funny.  No, despite their costumes they might as well all be zombies b/c you’re about to get a taste of the apocalypse.  Pretty soon you’ll be screaming at your spouse to search the pantry for “SOMETHING! ANYTHING!” because you don’t think you can hold them off anymore.


8. The Morning Commute – At first you may be thinking, “What!?  How is this a positive?  It takes 20 minutes to get anywhere and HWY 29 is like a scene out of Mad Max!”

Exactly!  The average American spends less than 2 minutes in prayer a day.  I bet that’s not true of us Ranchers!  We have time and an urgent need!

7. Trails – Reedy Fork Ranch has a great trail behind the homes running alongside the creek.  It’s a fantastic place to walk, run or clear out spiderwebs with your face.

6. Rio Bravo – There are countless (read: 3) good restaurants in our area, but none of them have earned my patronage more often than Chilos Rio Bravo.  The waitstaff is friendly, the food is excellent, and every now and then you will get the chance to see how strong your heart is when someone get’s the ceremonial “Birthday Drum”

5. Flashback to “the good old days” – I know my neighbors.  My kids best friends have always been from in (or around) the neighborhood).  There is the smell of a grill fired up every evening and a spirit of friendliness/care in the community.  There’s not a lot of places in Greensboro that I would let my children just go out and ride their bikes.  In RFR, I can.


4. Cheap homeowners dues – $50/mo is just insane.

3. Food Lion – What?  You don’t love the LION?  C’mon!  Sure, Harris Teeter is more professional, but when I go shopping I want the adventure of not knowing.  Maybe the girl at the register will tell me all about her new boyfriend.  Maybe they will be all out of carts and I’ll be stuck with one of the kids carts (that looks like a car) despite not having my kids.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll go in and find they decided to rearrange everything just to keep me on my toes.  Sure, Harris Teeter has a better meat selection, but there’s no unpredictability.

2 Community – I LOVE Reedy Fork Ranch.  The pool, the trails, the howl of the coyotes when I’m out for an evening run (that added motivation to keep my pace up!).  Ultimately, however, Reedy Fork Ranch is just a place…and there are a lot of great places to live.  What I love most about my neighborhood is not the place, but the people.  I don’t have to drive 20 minutes to a friends house – I can walk next door…or a few doors down…or around the corner.  We have a lot of friends here!


1. The Future – Reedy Fork currently has 900 homes.  900 families that call this neighborhood “home”.  Over the next decade our community is going to jump into the thousands!  This is awesome!  With every new house being built another family is moving in to contribute to making this the greatest place to live in Greensboro.

If you are new to Reedy Fork…let me be the first to say, “Welcome Home!”

Awestruck –> Proximity Part 3

Part 1
Part 2


Coaching kids soccer is one of my favorite things.  Last season my team, the Nighthawks, went undefeated and just dominated everyone we played.  I’d like to say it was all coaching, but the truth is that I just had 4 kids who can really play.

After every game there was always two questions:

  1. What was the final score?
  2. Who had the most goals?

We knew we were going to win.  By how much exactly was up for grabs but we knew we were going to put numbers up on the board.

What they REALLY wanted to know was who on our team scored the most goals.  A few times they would ask in the middle of the game and I could see it: they started ball-hogging a little bit more.  A couple of times I saw on their faces some expressions that were “less than enthusiastic” when a teammate would score.

Because THEY wanted to be the one who scored the most.

Sometimes it’s hard to share success.

In a couple of weeks Awestruck Church will be sending out an amazing team of people to start Proximity Church in Northeast Greensboro.  We will be prayed over, loved on and encouraged.  In about 5 months we will have our first Sunday…

Then something is going to happen.  Something terrible.

There will be some, in both locations, who compare Awestruck to Proximity.  Which church was more exciting?  Which church had the most people?  Which do I like better?  No one will say it!  We know better than that…but it will be a thought that creeps into the minds of some.

I really do understand.

Here’s the thing…

One day my two children, who I have poured everything into for 2 decades, will leave home and set out to make a life on their own.  It would be a pretty selfish dream to hope that they struggle.  What kind of father wants their kids to call home saying, “Life is a lot harder than I expected…I can’t do it without you”?   Likewise, it’s a pretty dumb kid that thinks he made it on his own!

My hope is that when my children leave home they step into a success that was beyond anything I could have ever achieved myself.  I want them do accomplish more than me…and I want their children to accomplish more than them!  That’s called LEGACY.  My legacy.

Their success is my success.

In 5 months, Proximity Church is going to begin and we are going reach a lot of people!  I believe that a bright future is in store for us.  As we look forward to our bright future we can do so with great thankfulness in our heart – for a church like Awestruck who has prepared us to realize our potential.

We should be excited!

And so should everyone at Awestruck.

Our success is their success.


I’ll never buy a weed-eater.


We can afford one.  That beautiful lawn stylist above runs about 140 bucks.  That’s nothing!  I’d be the envy of every yard barber on my street!

Nope.  I’ll never buy one.

I met my next door neighbor the very day I was moving in.  He is a big dude, and I needed a hand getting my mower off the truck.  So I strolled over, introduced myself, and asked him to give me a hand.  And then…




Sometimes the best way to connect with other people is to let them do something for you

We walk through life feeling like it’s our job to tackle everything alone.  We were designed, however, for a life lived completely to the contrary.  Community is shared burden, shared experience, shared life.

I’ll never buy a weed-eater of my own because the day I do is the day I have quit living in community.


Awestruck –> Proximity Part 2

Ready to hear the story of Josh and I’s biggest disagreement?


I thought he lost his mind.

He called me and told me all about this church planter he had met.  He was excited.  That wasn’t new.  Josh is frequently excited.


The excitement is contagious.  It’s one of my favorite things about Josh.  That didn’t bother me.  Besides, I love church plants so it was cool hearing about this new guy.  Then Josh said something.  Something that just struck me as insane…

“I want to give him $1,000”

“Um…Josh, we have $1,100 in the bank.  

“This is important to me.  I want to do it”

“I can take a look at upcoming expenses and crunch some numbers and see exactly what we can do.  I don’t think $1,000 is a good idea though”

“I hear you, but I want to do $1,000”


So we hung up and I took some time to pray about it.  I called him back an hour later and said, “I wouldn’t do it, but if it’s important to you then it’s important to me.”

Church planting runs deep in the culture of Awestruck.  Over the years we have given irrationally to start new churches.  It’s not what we do.  It’s who we are.  So, as Proximity Church is sent out we are experiencing the same blessing.

Josh hadn’t lost his mind.  He just understood that Awestruck is a steward not a storehouse.  People, resources, money…these things don’t stay at Awestruck.  They are sent out to make a Kingdom difference.

And that’s worth getting excited about.



Money, Mebane and More Sound Equipment than a Trailer can Hold

You feel called to start a church.  You’re excited, you believe with all your heart you are going to reach everyone and nothing will get in your way…

Then someone on your team asks you how you are going to pay for all the stuff you need

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Ok.  That’s not true.  I knew we were going to fund this thing.  We have a generous team. Several families at Proximity are currently giving 20% of their income because they believe and are passionate about the vision!  20%!!  Come on man!  Also, we have a tremendous support team that has likewise been investing into Proximity.  If you have a great vision and a great team then you will always have people who believe enough to give.

I wasn’t stressing the money, but I knew we needed to bring in quite a bit more to hit our pre-launch goals

Then, two days I received a text asking if we would like some sound/projection equipment.  In an hour I was connected to my new best friends at Crosslink Community Church in Mebane NC who just showed up big time out of a love for the Gospel and church planting.


So today Michael Calvert and I rode on out.  We thought for sure a truck and trailer would take care of the job…


Nope.  Not even close.


That’s as much as we could get on and we had to leave the biggest piece (and a couple of other things) behind!  You know what, I’m glad!  It gives me another excuse to go visit my new friends.

After walking through their amazing facility and hearing their story Michael and I were able to ride back together and dream of the future of Proximity.  That actually might have been more valuable than the equipment!  Seriously.

Their present is our future.  I want our people…and our support team dreaming BIG for Proximity!  We are COMING SOON and COMING CLOSE to Northeast Greensboro because there are a LOT of people out here looking for a church like what we are bringing.

And we are a lot closer now than we were yesterday thanks to Crosslink!


Awestruck –> Proximity Part 1


I’ve always wanted to be cool.

Zach Morris, Ferris Bueller, and Stefan Urquelle (not Steve Urkel) were my role models of choice.

Needless to say, I was not cool!

Then, in 2007, I tagged along with a cool pastor and his cool team to a conference for cool pastors and cool teams.  We had a blast learning from some of the greatest leaders out there, walking around the Atlanta Mall, and making fun of other pastors.  We had a lot in common!  I was sure I was destined to be cool like him.  Then, on the last day there we were once again at the mall and he tried to talk me into getting these $150 shoes.

$150!  FOR SHOES!?  For my feet?


Ok…we rebuilt.

In time, after years of fantasy sports and plates of turkey bacon at Tex and Shirley’s I looked up and Josh had become my closest pastor friend in Greensboro.

In October 2010 my small house church joined up with Awestruck to reach Northeast Greensboro.  That was the beginning of a 7 year attempt by Josh to make me cool.

He failed.


I still don’t have the awesome shoes, I can’t grow the beard, and I’ll never be near the social juggernaut of Josh Parrish…

But I did pick up one big thing:

The Gospel requires big risk and big sacrifice.

So, here we go.  I could stay at Awestruck for the rest of my life.  Anyone who thinks that I (or anyone on our team) is starting Proximity because we aren’t happy just isn’t paying attention.  I LOVE Awestruck.  But I love the Gospel more.

“Missions is giving up something you love for something you love more” – Andrew Hopper

So, Proximity Church is COMING SOON and COMING CLOSE to Northeast Greensboro.

It’s not coming out of nowhere.

Proximity Church is coming out of risk.  It’s coming out of sacrifice.  It’s coming out of a church that has a commitment to do whatever it can to share God with Every Single One!

And it wouldn’t be happening without the friendship and support of the coolest guy I know.

Soon. Close.