Monday, May 07, 2007


It is time to update your feed reader and/or links. I am moving....I have moved over to

It is a great site and I look forward to seeing you over there! Peace!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Weekend of Special Ocasions:

Well, this weekend is definitely a weekend of special occasions. Here is the run down:
  • Thursday: Wedding Rehearsal for Justin Lynch and Kari Pettit Wedding.
  • Friday: Wedding Ceremony for David Crews and Angela Scroggs at the Wilhite House in Anderson. (This wedding was absolutely beautiful...yes, David did cry when he saw his bride. I love that!!)
  • Saturday AM: Anderson University Graduation at NewSpring Church. I was able to see so many of my peeps graduate. Congrats to: Bridget Bagwell, Andrew Sentell, Shearer Wludyka, Meagan Gregory, Heather Raffini, Miranda Doolittle, and Whitney White. They are all volunteers in Ignite Middle School Ministry, except for Andrew...he is on staff full-time with Ignite. Congrats! You all rock!
  • Saturday PM: Wedding Ceremony for Justin Lynch and Kari Pettit.
  • Sunday AM: Worship Service at NewSpring...which is always a special occasion in my book. Especially since, Perry is teaching on the vision of the church...should be freakin awesome! Come and join us!!
  • Sunday PM: Last IGNITE service at the Fusebox, our Student Ministry Facility at the Anderson Mall. We are moving throughout this whole should come and help us our new facility that will be called "The 2Seven."
WOW!! A whole lot going on, but a lot of fun and excitement happening! by the way, I love all the special occasions this weekend. They are a whole lot of fun to be apart of! Peace!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Manhood vs. Womanhood

Each day this week myself and some of the IGNITE staff have been going to Anderson Chrsitian School and talking about the topics. It has been really fun. The format we have taken is that we allowed them to described manhood and womanhood on Monday, discussed manhood on Tuesday, womanhood today, and tomorrow we are goingt o give them the chance to redo thier defintion and see if tere are any changes and recap the week. It has been a blast and also very challenging.

Pray for me tomorrow. I am speaking at thier Middle School Chapel at 10AM; High School Chapel at 11PM and then teach thsoe classes at 1:15PM and 2:05 PM. Long day and a lot speaking. Peace!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Beach Wedding.....

Beach Weddings are awesome.

There are a lot of times that you hear people say outside weddings are too risky. Well, today was a great example of why you would want to have an outside wedding. It was BEAUTIFUL! The weather was perfect…no rain…visibility was outstanding…just perfect.

**Sometimes the risk of not being able to control the weather and other external circumstances, pays off! Same way with Jesus. Sometimes the risk/scariness/uncertainty/lack of personal control pays off in some awesome amazing ways!**

Congratulations to Kevin and Kelly Croshaw as they began a new chapter in their lives today! It was a privilege to be apart of their special day.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fun Times....

This weekend has been awesome (I am excited that it is just Friday and we are ear until Sunday morning)!! Deanna and I traveled to Edisto Beach, SC last night. We are hear for a wedding of a family friend. Tomorrow, I have the honor of officiating the wedding n the beach at Edisto Beach State Park. I cannot wait to be apart of it. The rehearsal dinner tonight was a Low-Country Boil (also known as Beaufort Stew or Frogmore Stew) and it was awesome.

This has been such a relaxing time for Deanna and myself. We have slept a good bit, fellowshipped with family and friends, eaten some GREAT food, and will celebrate the union of two people who love each other tomorrow. Those are some FUN times.

Let you know how it goes!

Why Question....

A couple of days ago someone made a statement to me that made me think. They said, “Alden, you haven’t written on your blog I awhile. If you do not write on it more consistently you readership will not rise.” I did think much about it until the other day.

It made me ask myself a question, “why am I doing a blog? Why do I write on it?” Since that time, I intentionally have not written on my blog, because I felt I needed to answer those questions before I continued.

The answer…to share what God is doing / teaching me in my life…to share my life experiences with those who may be interested…to journal some of my life’s experiences…to continue to point people to Jesus. This blog is an extension of a desire I have to make Jesus famous.

If I don’t make Jesus famous, then there is no reason to do it. Plan and simple. So…may Jesus be made famous…be honored…be glorified…be lifted up…be pleased with my blog.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Best Product for Best Price is found in FRONTIER LABEL.

Straight buy the best labels, stickers, custom labels, and custom stickers you need to get them from FRONTIER LABEL.

For the past couple of months, I have had the privilege to work with the peeps over at Frontier Label.

Here are a couple of things that they have done for us:
  • Mission: Anderson - Labels
  • MADE: Be Moldable - Custom Labels
  • IGNITE Flame - Stickers
  • IGNITE Diamond Plate - Custom Stickers
Some may wonder why we would do these seemingly "small" things for our ministry. Well...simply put, "Details Matter!" Frontier Label understands this simple truth. Not only do they understand it, but they put it into practice in every aspect of the "process" of getting your product ready.

Their turn around is outstanding. Our staff had the crazy idea of getting the "Be Moldable" custom labels at the midnight hour for an event and they made it happen. Those labels made a HUGE difference in the overall feel and impact of the lesson we were trying to teach that night!

Also, the custom stickers that made of our IGNITE logo are outstanding. Our students are still asking for more stickers each week to give out to their friends and to put on the back of their parent's cars.

Each of these products added significantly to the event that they were used to promote. I encourage you to really think about Frontier Label the next time that you need any custom printed labels or stickers. They will get it done right the first time! Peace!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Awesome Nephew.....

The physical growing up process is so much fun to observe. In that process there is excitement, frustration, success, growth, learning, and so much more. Even in the frustration of growing up, we can always look back and be thankful that we went through it and accomplished so much.

A great example would be learning to walk. Learning to walk for the first time can be so frustrating for a little one. For starters they are surrounded by people who can go where they want, do what they want, go as fast as they want, and they have to depend on someone to take them. Well...when they begin to walk they are really excited, you can see a smile on their face and feel a sense of accomplishment, but in those times they will fall down. They may scrape their knees, get a bloody lip, hurt their hands, hurt their legs, and possibly hurt their spirit.

The great thing is...the child always gets up and tries again. No matter, the hurt they get back up and try again. They want to walk, they want to accomplish this HUGE task. Their spirit gets renewed and mostly because they have adults that are loving them, caring for them, and supporting them. They can get up and try again because someone has their back!

Just as a child has adults loving, caring, and supporting have Jesus Christ loving, caring, and supporting you. Well...what is it for you that you need to try? You may feel that the task is way too much to try (ex. a child walking), but you know that you need to do it.

"What would you attempt for Jesus, if you knew you could not fail?" Perry Noble, my pastor at NewSpring Church, was asked this challenging question...and...from that with a vision from God, NewSpring Church was born. What about you?

Below is a video of my nephew, Jonathan Ellis Neighbors, taking some of his first steps. I love to be able to watch both my nephews and nieces grow up. Last night we had the nieces over for dinner and they were all over the place...talking, walking, running, laughing...everything!

OK, this may not be a big deal to some, but...this is just awesome for me and my family! So...just back off! ;)

Monday, April 16, 2007

IGNITE | 4.15.07

Topic: "PRISON BREAK: Shame & Guilt"

Student Attendance: Above Average
Volunteer Attendance: Above Average
Observer Attendance: Average
Message Length: 21 Minutes
Music: Above Average

We started a new series called PRISON BREAK. In this four week series, we are going to be exploring Shame & Guilt, Jealousy & Envy, Anger, and how Jesus sets us free.

Last night we discussed SHAME & GUILT. Lindsay Owens did the teaching and did an AMAZING job. She rocked out and slammed home the points. She had the students bought into the lesson and the response was amazing from the students. It was also great for our female students to see a female lead and teach everyone. I think that made a HUGE impact on our ladies!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Prison Break....

This Sunday we are beginning a new series called PRISON BREAK. We are going to be exploring some topics that keep us behind bars and from the freedom that Christ gave us through His death.

Here is the breakdown of our new series:
  • April 15th - SHAME & GUILT: Lindsay Owens will be teaching and it is going be awesome. I have seen the outline and she is going to rock it out!
  • April 22th - JEALOUSY & ENVY: I am teaching.
  • April 29th - ANGER: David Hall will be teaching this, he has some great ideas that we are going to creativity with this Thursday. Should be awesome!
  • May 6th - CHAINS THAT HOLD US: I will be teaching again to close out the series.
The whole Ignite Staff really believes that God is going to move in this series. I cannot wait to see what God is going to do in the lives of students, when they realize that the shame, guilt, jealousy, and anger that they are holding onto is NOT the way God intended for them to live!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Rising 6th Graders & Easter at NewSpring.....

We finished the first of two or five Easter Services at NewSpring Church. I did not sit in on a service today, but look forward to doing so tomorrow. From what I heard though....the music was jamming and Perry was hitting it out of the park.

The most exciting part of the night was that I got to spend a lot of time in the Theater 2 Room, the room for our 3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders! All I have to say is that NewSpring Church's Children's Ministry Staff is rocking it out! Today, the IGNITE staff made a guest appearance in this room to introduce ourselves to the rising 6th Graders! We gave a way a bunch of t-shirts, stickers, and gift certificates to the students. They were jacked up!

We wanted to get in front of the 5th Graders EARLY before they move up to IGNITE. We truly desire for them to stay connected and involved in the Children's Ministry right up to the point they move up to our ministry. This will not only help the Children's Ministry, but help us as well, so that we can stay connected to the students in a more effective way, instead of a "Welcome Letter" from someone they have never met.

I look forward to having all of them join our ministry...but, I really need to thank Pudge and Howard for giving us the opportunity to come in there and get in front of the students. So many churches and their ministries are territorial. They compete for resources, staff, attention, and so much more, but we don't have to worry about that at NewSpring. Pudge and I consider ourselves a team! We take time out of our busy schedules to talk strategy, to listen to each other's frustrations, hang out, and just chill. I consider it a part of my job to help Pudge and his team succeed. If Pudge is not doing his job of training up the students and getting them excited about coming to IGNITE then I am...well...screwed! I need Pudge, just like he needs Cherie Duffey, Preschool Director and just like Brad Cooper, High School Pastor needs me. We all need each other, we all need to work together to make it happen!

I hope that your church functions this way. I hope your ministries can rely on each other to help each other, encourage each other, and support each other!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Matthew Barnett.....

Matthew Barnett of The Dream Center in Los Angeles, California, spoke at our First Wednesday Service. Two words for you: MOST AWESOMENESS! Check it out here. Matthew is FULL of vision to reach the people of LA for Jesus. What an inspiration to me, to really get out there and talk to those that nobody wants!

He told a lot of stories that we hilarious and very impacting. He quoted Nehemiah 2:10, "But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of my arrival, they were very displeased that someone had come to help the people of Israel." We must be concerned with the welfare of the people, we must help the people of our communities. He also made two statements that I want to quote for you:
  • You must die of your dream to being a success and take on the dream of being a blessing.
  • The world knows everything the church is against, but they need to know what the church is for.
Make sure you take a couple of minutes and listen to him share with us at NewSpring. You will be blessed!

Also, Perry felt the Lord to offer our people a time to give to support The Dream Center. All the cash given totaled over $9000. That is so awesome! I am always amazed at the generosity of the people at NewSpring Church. Here is a link to check out Perry's thoughts.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I just got my copy of ::MY FAITH by Kurt Johnston and Mark Oestreicher.I am loving how they set it up and wrote it as an easy read for any Middle Schooler. Here are a couple of comments about the book so far:
  • Each chapter is written in a short, fun to read style, that will keep an INTEREST-SPAN deficit Middle Schooler reading through it.
  • They included comments/quotes from Middle School Students.
  • At the end of the first section, Kurt is real and honest. He talks about his Middle School days and what struggles he faced!
  • They take the questions Middle Schoolers ask and answer them...What is faith? "Faith means believing and trusting in something even though you don't fully understand it, can't see it, and can't prove it completely."
  • Also when they give a definition or explanation of something that may sound confusing to a Middle Schooler...see above...they give an example to clarify.
That is all I have right now, I just finished the first two mini-chapters of Section 2. Already good stuff.

If you are a Middle School or Junior High Pastor, do yourself and your students a favor and pick up a copy as a resource. After you read it I am sure that you will probably get a couple more to have around for your students to pick up. Click on the image above to go get your copy.

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Phenomenal Awards.....

Yesterday was the First Sunday of April, that means we always go out to eat as a youth volunteer staff. We always eat at the Chili's in Anderson They always give us great service, they never mind that we take up half the restaurant and create ALL the noise.

The awesome volunteers that were given a Phenomenal were:

  • Dale Sellers: Phenomenal Ability and Dedication. Dale is ALWAYS there at IGNITE. He has been running our lights for a while and does a GREAT job. Dale has a PASTOR'S heart! He loves people and loves students. I am so thankful to have him apart of the IGNITE team!
  • Keri Holder: Phenomenal Encouragement. Keri has the unbelievable gift of encouragement. She has encouraged so many of our leaders since she has joined the IGNITE team. **I get the awesome privilege to be able to officiate her wedding to Mr. Jonathan Unsworth on June 2, 2007! I am really excited about being a part of their special day!**
  • Mike Smith: Phenomenal Husband, Dad, and Leader. Mike has been "that" guy in my life since coming to NewSpring. I will never forget sitting on his front porch along with his family and talking about ministry and them welcoming us to NewSpring. since that time our friendship has grown tremendously! I have the utmost respect for Mike, because he loves his family, his Lord, and his church.
  • Ryan Sutherland: Phenomenal Creativity. Ryan is the reason for our MADE Videos that we did a couple of weeks back. He came up with the idea, took the pics for each shot, made the set, and then assisted in putting them in video form. I referenced all of the videos in a post back on March 5, 2007. Be sure to check them out here. Dude, you rock! Keep using your talents for Jesus!

Saturday, March 31, 2007


Congratulations to Kyle and Sarah Bolt!

Today, I had the privilege to officiate the wedding ceremony of Kyle and Sarah. It was a very simple, but elegant wedding! I had a blast! I was nervous that I would have a lot of mishaps, misspoken words, etc, but not really. Praise the Lord! What a fun night, the wedding was great and the reception was awesome.

Right before the doors opened and Kyle got to see Sarah, I looked at Kyle and he gave me that nervous smile. While she was coming down the isle, I looked at him and he leaned over to me and said, "WOW!" That but a HUGE smile on my face! I love to see the reactions of the groom when they see the bride!

Another great part about the wedding was that I shared a table with parents of my students at IGNITE! The whole table was HILARIOUS!! I heard so many stories and laughed a ton. It was great to see that side of some of my parents, to just hang out with them, to learn from them, and laugh with them!

Below is a picture of myself and the newlyweds!

Friday, March 30, 2007


Today is a great day! I am looking forward to tonight. I get the wonderful privilege to officiate my first wedding ceremony tomorrow for Mr. Kyle Bolt and Miss Sarah Rhodes. Of course, the rehearsal is tonight, which will be a blast.

I just got done reading through the wedding vows they have have chosen/written for one another. (I am trying to know them as well as possible, so there are no "mess" ups tomorrow, although I will have a book with them written out in case my minds draws a blank.) It made me think of my vows, I made to my wife on our wedding day. I made a promise and covenant that I would love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, forsaking all others and keep myself only to her. I am so thankful that I have kept my vows to wife and hers to me. Marriage is such a beautiful thing.

Also, I cannot wait until tomorrow to watch Mr. Bolt watch his bride come down the isle. You know, each time I go to a wedding, I always like to watch the groom's expression when he sees his bride coming down the isle. There are a range of emotions that they go through. I will admit that I was so overwhelmed with my wife's beauty that I started to cry. It was so AWESOME! I actually did not stop sniffling and letting a couple tears fall until the end of the ceremony.

It will be a great day tomorrow for Kyle and Sarah and I am so thankful that they have allowed me to be apart of their special day.

Take a moment to say a quick pray for them as they begin this journey in life together as husband and wife. Also pray for me that I don't mess their wedding up ;)!

Lastly, if you are married, take a moment to think about when you saw your spouse for the first time on your wedding day. Think of all the emotion, the joy and the excitement that you felt. thank God for your spouse and be sure to tell them that you love them.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I found this quote looking through an old book in an antique shop on the square in the small town of Pendleton.

"Some Praise at Morning
what they blame at night,
but always think
the last opinion is right."

Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism

Friday, March 23, 2007


This morning I went and played basketball with a bunch of guys from NewSpring. Random group of guys together, but still fun to get out and run around for a couple of hours! Also ate breakfast with Stewart Hudspeth and Chris Pierce. Both guys are awesome and desire to follow Jesus, so it was cool to hear them talk about life, relationships, Jesus, and many other things.

I came home and I have been trying to help my wife straighten up the house (my in-laws are coming for dinner tonight). I looked around the house and we have clothes in the hall needing to be washed, clothes waiting to be folded, clothes waiting to be dried, rooms to be straighten up, things put away, etc.

I almost got exasperated by the amount of work to be done, which brought a though to my head. If I would just take the time to DAILY straighten up as I go along, there would not be that OVERWHELMING feeling when i try to do it all at one time.

I believe that the same goes for our spiritual lives. There are times when we all get "slack" in our DAILY times with Jesus. If we didn't and then tried to "catch up" maybe there would not be this OVERWHELMING feeling inside of frustration and sometimes despair because of an inability to communicate.

Take the time DAILY to spend with Jesus! He loves you, He cares about you, and He has so much that he wants to tell you! God Bless...Peace!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Today, I had the privilege to have lunch with Dustin Hughes, the Student Pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Simpsonville, SC. It was a great time to talk life, family, and ministry. The great thing about the "ministry" part was that it was NOT just about numbers or the biggest event we've held. It was all about how to help each other, encourage one another, share frustrations, etc. In my opinion, that is what we need to be doing when we network with each other. We need to feel open enough to talk life and not just ministry.

Here is a great idea, the next time you try networking with someone do talk ministry, but not ministry in the traditional sense, ministry in the "personal" sense. Ask them how they are doing spiritually, ask them what books they are reading, ask them how they are taking care of their family. If they are doing those things well, then take that and learn from them. But in asking those questions ask in an attitude of humility and a sincere desire to learn, not a desire to hold some accountable or LORD over them so to speak.

Let's learn from each other. Not just the latest fads or tools in ministry, but learn from our lives as well. I believe that if we focus on learning from our lives then it becomes real and the world needs more REALNESS and less tools and gimmicks.

I remember back in December at the National Youth Workers Convention, Kurt Johnston, the Middle School Pastor at Saddleback Church in California, was very gracious and allowed me to sit down and ask him questions about ministry. All my questions were asked in a desire to learn from someone who had maintained longevity and integrity in the ministry. I did not ask him,
  • How many students are you averaging?
  • How can I build a ministry that will be just like yours?
  • How can I become a nationally known student pastor like you?
I asked him questions such as:
  • How do you balance the time with your family and ministry?
  • How do you balance spending time with your staff, leaders, and students?
  • What advice would you give to someone just starting out in Middle School Ministry?
Let us have a desire to network, but do that with a sincere desire to learn from people's lives and not just thier professional ministries. Trust me, when we do this we will all be more "successful" in the eyes of Jesus, the one we are ministering for anyway!

Dustin, it was refreshing to sit and talk "ministry" with you today! I will be praying for you, your family, and your ministry. Follow Jesus and do all that he tells you to do! Follow the VISION! You rock dude!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Blessing from my IGNITE leaders....

A little over two weeks ago, I went to Willow Creek Church for SHIFT Student Leadership Conference. It was a great trip and awesome time to learn from and network with youth leaders from all over the country.

During that time, there was something that was happening back home in South Carolina that I did not know about. There were some IGNITE volunteer leaders messing with my car. When I say messing with, I mean giving it some tender, loving, care. A group of about 39 or so IGNITE leaders, were taking my car to get detailed (cleaned, waxed, etc.), getting a full service oil change, getting my headlights changed, along with getting the casing for the headlights burnished.

For a long time now, my lights worked, but I could not see all the light that the headlights were given off because the casing for the lights was very foggy. A couple weeks back, I was having a conversation with a couple of volunteers and we were all talking about issues with our individual cars. I mentioned my headlights and the issue I was having with them. I said that i had gotten so used to it that there was no need to get them fixed. One of those volunteers heard that and ran with it.

When we returned it was about 1:00 AM, I could not see my car real well, but I noticed my hands were sliding on the steering wheel.
I also thought that my lights were brighter, but I had been driving another car all week, so I didn’t think much about it. I got home and park my car in the garage and look at my car and it was clean and shiny! I looked at my headlights and the casing was clear. I was blown away! My wife greeted me at the door with a smile, and asked if I noticed a difference.

What a HUGE blessing!

To ALL the IGNITE Volunteer Leaders: I am still blown away by the generosity and thoughtfulness of all the volunteers that contributed to giving my car such a clean up job! You guys rock! Each week, you make IGNITE happen through setting up the stage, running check-in, setting up the chairs, straighten up the Fusebox, leading your small groups, and much more! You bless me each week by serving Jesus and serving our students, so this messes me up that you would do this as well. I consider it a privilege to minister alongside each of you! Keep rockin it out for Jesus!