Remedial Christianity



Hey everyone, this fall I celebrate my 20th fall kickoff in campus church ministry!  (I am feeling OLD)  The last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of preparation, prayer and excitement.  I thought it might be nice to share with you a brief overview of some of the highlights!   (this is for all of you that wonder….what exactly do these people do?)


A little collaboration for our leadership team

Aug 13-14th : Staff Orientation.  As our leadership team has grown, we have realized the importance of pulling together every year to get re-oriented as to our vision, methods, and processes.  We spent two entire days reviewing the big questions (Why are we here?) & small (how do you update this google doc?) in preparation for the coming school year!

Aug 15th : Listening Seminar.  We spent the day learning (relearning?) some VITAL listening skills that we will use every day here on campus. Our friend Rick Keith a pastor from our sister church, New Life Church, graciously came down from Ann Arbor to teach us how to love Buckeyes better.  SUCH a key ministry skill for all of us.


Aug 16: Jon & Gretchen Moore’s wedding. Love these guys.

move in service

Aug 18-20th: Staff Retreat.  Now that all the administrative & management details were covered, the leadership team of h2o took a couple days for spiritual reconnection and refreshment.  It was a fabulous time of bonding , but more importantly, a time of prayer and reflection on God’s Word. Great way to start the new year.


Worst Golfers Ever?


Aug 20th: Sammy and Savita have their first day of school at Metro middle school.

Aug 21st: Prayer and Fasting.  Probably the best work of the whole year.  We just spent the day asking for God to move powerfully on our campus and in our city.

Aug 22nd: MOVE-IN Day. Campus was an absolute zoo.  Our students were everywhere trying to connect with & serve the new arrivals.

Aug 23rd (morning): Move-In Service.  Despite the fact that many students hadn’t moved in yet, and the freshmen had only been around for 24 hours, 500+ folks filled the Great Hall Mtg room at the Union as we kicked off our new sermon series on Galatians — “How the Gospel Redefines Everything”

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Two of our newest staffers, David & Becca, get ready for communion

fired up

Who’s fired up??

standing room only

Worst seats in the house…


Aug 23rd (afternoon): Involvement Fair.  We had a HUGE team of students volunteer to help us at involvement fair, where we met thousands of new students.  We gave away 3000+ bottles of water (which was good because it was HOT), and took hundreds of spiritual interest surveys.

inv fair2inv fair

Aug 23rd (evening): Leadership Community Kickoff. I forgot to get a picture, but there was about 125 of h2o leaders there to worship and dream about what God might do this year in our midst.  We are praying for our theme passage of I Thessalonians 1:4-8….that the Gospel would come with power, that we would become imitators of Christ, and that the Word of God would RING OUT at OSU and in Columbus!


Aug 24th: We tried something new this year, called “The Plunge”. A mtg specifically geared towards freshman. The goal was for them to meet our saints and learn about “how to survive their 1st year at OSU”.  This seemed like a huge success.  We had over 200 freshman there, and it was quite engaging and interactive.  We are praying that many of them decide to jump right into our small group community as a result!


Aug 25th- Aug 29th:  Chalking.  Flyering.  We went to every welcome week event that OSU hosts and made it our goal to CONNECT WITH PEOPLE.  Meet them. Love them. Serve them.  And provide some fun, relational alternatives for new students over that 1st week on campus.

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Is h2o among OSU’s “opportunities in Chemistry”. We decided YES!

Aug 26th- Aug 28th: h2o coffee tent.  In an effort to love and serve students during their first few days of classes, we set up a coffee tent starting at 8am on the Oval.  We just gave out free coffee as people passed by, and struck up conversations.  Nothing to sell.  No huge agenda.  Just wanted to let people know we were there and we cared about them.  As the day wore on and it got hotter, we switched to lemonade and popsicles.  This guy is named Jarrod, and this is his very first time tasting coffee.   A future coffee addict I’m sure.



h2o city core team

Aug 27th: h2o City core team meeting. Our ever growing community of young professionals & couples, called “h2o city”, had their first core team meeting for the fall. There were 50+ folks there to pray and dream about our future. God has great things in store here!

Aug 30th: Kickoff Sunday.  Labor Day weekend.  Brutal Thunderstorms.  And yet, God still filled up Hitchcock Hall with men and women who were eager to worship Him.  Afterwards our amazing team of volunteers still managed to grill hundreds of burgers and dogs & God even stopped the rain just long enough for all to have our Meat & Meet.  (I have no idea who came up with that name)  It was so good to connect with old friends and meet new ones.


Sept 1st: Labor Day.  I went golfing.  Then I took a nap.



rick and shahThis is me and Rick Keith.  Yes, we are at the Big House…don’t judge.  He is one of the guys who reached out to me way back in 1990, when God was getting a hold of my life back at UM.  He lived across the hall in the dorm and he used to answer my questions about Jesus.  After I came to Christ we served at New Life Church, and went into full-time ministry together.  We stumbled our way through those early days and were actually ordained as pastors on the same day, April Fool’s Day of 2001.  When I left for Columbus in 2008, I knew he was the person I would miss the most.

Rick came to visit last week.  He had just dropped off his son at college and swung by Columbus to say hi and stay the night.   We stayed up late talking, and then after a little sleep, went out, got breakfast at Northstar Cafe & continued the conversation.  Next thing i know it’s 3pm and he’s gotta go.

As I got on with the rest of my day.  I thought….that was kinda weird.

2 grown men.  10 straight hours of conversation, only interrupted by a little sleep and some fantastic prosciutto & poached eggs.

A lot of us have read about King David’s “mighty men.”  When David was in hiding, he attracted a bunch of outcasts and refugees…we can read about it in I Samuel 22…

 “And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him.  And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.”

In I Chronicles 11 we can even read  their names and some of their accomplishments.  These were the men that fought with David, protected him, and encouraged him through the many trials he faced as he was persecuted by King Saul.   I know that this is probably one of the most cheesy & over-used phrases in the world of Christian men….but I have always loved that picture of having some “mighty men”.

As I have read scripture I notice that is a picture we see repeated over and over again.  Men (and women) standing together.   We certainly see it all over the New Testament.  We even find it hiding even in the moments we least expect.  Look at the day of Pentecost….(Acts 2:14)…

But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.

Picture this in your head.  We usually think of Peter being used by God to give this message to the crowds alone.  But all the while the eleven are standing together with him.

This seems to be the norm.  Most people I have met who are running hard after Jesus have linked their lives with a few ‘mighty men’.  (or ‘mighty women’….this isn’t a ‘guy’ thing).  

We all want this don’t we? (except the lone ranger types — but they will eventually)  We call them by different names: mentors, disciplers, people we “do life” with, brothers (brahs) or sisters, ….you get the idea…

Call them whatever you would like, but they are the ones we count on, share with and build deeply with.

So, where are they?  How do we find them?

Well, I’m certainly no expert, but let me start by saying who I think these people usually AREN’T.

They AREN’T the Coolest People you Know.

Go ahead and look at this picture of Rick from the early 1990s….

rickEven back then, that wasn’t a great look.  So many of us like the idea of some ‘mighty men’ but have a bunch of criteria they must meet.  They must be cool.  They must be mature.  They must be peers.  Or better yet, just slightly ahead of us in life.  They must be natural leaders, or impressive to others, or good looking…..blah blah blah.  It’s like 5th grade all over again…..we are not satisfied until the “cool” kid takes notice of us.  (in our world I believe that’s the one with the most twitter followers)

and They AREN’T the People Most Like You

The alternative is to look for people who are just like us.  Its nice to have things in common, but do we really want to run with a little tribe of clones?  Like most of the people closest to me, Rick and I are radically different people.  He is a country boy, who works hard and fixes things.  People actually like him, because he is diplomatic and sensitive.  Sure, we have some common interests, we talk about sports a lot, but there are also times I can’t even figure out what he’s talking about.  This week he told me that he had recently ordered bees, and was going to be a beekeeper.  so he could make his own honey.  huh?  who does that?  it took me a few minutes just to figure out that he wasn’t joking.

LOOK AT WHO DAVID GOT.  The distressed, the in debt, and the bitter.  Imagine hanging out with these guys.  “Distressed” = needy.  Probably always wanted to talk about their problems.  And guess who was that guy who was always asking for a few bucks?  Yeah, David’s mighty men.   Not to mention the constant whining & fits of rage.  Sounds like a pleasant little crew.   I haven’t looked it up, but I believe this is the definition of riff-raff.

And David welcomed them with open arms.  Because he needed help.

I think a lot of Christians don’t find their ‘mighty men’ because they let their pride get in the way.  They ignore the men & women that God has ALREADY put in their lives. 

Forget the cool kids.  Here’s who I would look for….

1. The People who you don’t BS

No need to impress, no need to put on a show.  These are people who know you, all your garbage, and haven’t run away screaming.  It is such a beautiful thing to have relationships where we take off all the masks, and hats we wear and just be ourselves.

AND no topic is off-limits and no question is too personal.  Not just the deep things of life but the ordinary.  When Rick and I hung out we covered everything from my recent fantasy football championship (it was epic), our views on multi-site churches, the state of our marriages, and which Harbaugh we thought was a better coach.

(by the way, the only way to find these people is to stop trying to impress folks, talk candidly about life and see who sticks around)

2. The People who believe in you

I know this sounds SO soft when I say it.  I spent the first years of my Christian life believing it was lame to desire a few advocates.  That is for needy people.  Trust me, the sooner you get over that, the better.

Are there people in your life who you consistently build you up, and send you away encouraged?  Not in a flattering way….not in a way that denies the truth (see point 1)….and not because you produce something for them….but somehow they seem to irrationally just believe that you are worth something.  That God has great plans for you and His power is bigger than your mistakes.  That you are worth their time and energy. Stay close to those folks.  They see with eyes of faith.  In a world that is harsh and critical, they are modeling for you the truth of the gospel.

3. (Most importantly) The People who will point you back to Jesus

It is all fine and good to have a friend, but just like the guys who followed King David, we are in a battle.  (I have met a lot of guys who like to think of themselves as King David, but lets face it, we have WAY more in common with the riff-raff that followed him : )

We are on a mission to glorify the name of Jesus in every area of our lives…..our work, our marriages, our family.  After all the openness, and the encouragement, our mighty men will gently (or not so gently) point us back to what we know is right.  They have earned the trust to say what needs to be said in the moments we need it.

One of the strangest things about hanging out with Rick is that afterwards I almost always have a fresh vision for loving my wife, and my church, and walking in integrity.  That’s got to be a good sign.

Let’s face it.  We are only “mighty” when we are following the King. And the king isn’t us.

Want a place to start?  Pray and ask God for these people and in your life….and then start searching for them.   They don’t happen by accident.

And then when you have them, fight for the connection.  In the last 5 years, i have tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to try to talk with Rick on the phone every week.  I have been running with this guy for 24 years.  And Lord willing, we’re just getting started.