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contents FALL 2010
04 07 08 23
Contributors Forward LIFEGROUP SPOTLIGHT MINISTRY SPOTLIGHT
10 Raising Extraordinary Kids
It doesn’t take a monumental effort for children to be noticed in today’s world. It really is the little things that matter a whole lot.
14 A Conversation with a Few of
Are most teens taking drugs and having sex? Find out the answers when we take you inside a candid conversation between youth pastor Ryan Grabill and six teens from our Student Ministries. Although some of the facts are startling, we’re happy to report that it’s not all bad news.
24 Leading the Way
A new focus on men mentoring other men is ramping up, and it’s helping young men catch a vision for maintaining character and integrity. In a world where black and white seem to have faded to gray, having good examples is more important than ever.
29 A Thing for Trees
They may only dot the landscape in this part of the country, but that’s probably why residents of the Texas Panhandle value them so much. Learn all the secrets to picking and planting the right trees to have the maximum impact while beautifying your yard.
33 From My Dad…
Did you get your dad’s blue eyes or his crooked smile? Or maybe his school letter jacket? Find out what some of our readers got handed down to them from their father or grandfather.
34 Whatever It Takes COVER STORY:
Head football coach David Flowers drew national attention last year when he took his team, the Bushland Falcons, to the state playoffs. Find out the secret of his success and the most important thing he wants his players to know.
Cover Photography by Joseph Schlabs
the people we couldn't do without
When he was a boy, Seth would find letters, poems and stories that his father had jotted down on yellow legal pads. When Seth was older, his father told him, “Son, don’t be a farmer. Go to college.” So he did, and now he teaches literature to high school students at Arbor Christian Academy. During the summers, Seth remodels the house that he, Katie, Wyatt and a “bun in the oven” inhabit.
Kelly earned a journalism degree at WTAMU, and today he works in the field of education and is a freelance writer. He and his wife, Nita, have been married for 27 years. They have one daughter, Faith.
Growing up, Bo was greatly influenced by his dad. “He seldom sat down and taught me things, but I watched and learned from his example,” Bo tells us. “He had such a good name, a good reputation, and he earned a lot of respect; I just paid close attention.” Others like John Love, Bob Key, Tom McGee and John Curry had a big influence on him in the early days of the church. Bo and his wife, Rosanne, were founding members of Trinity Fellowship, and today Bo serves as Executive Senior Pastor.
Born and raised in the small town of Hereford, Joseph has always considered himself a country boy. For him, photography is simply a full-time hobby. Joseph and his wife, Melissa, own and operate a photography business (Joseph Elliott Photography) and they also are heavily involved in ministry at Trinity.
Ken and his wife, Valerie, share a passion for the outdoors and love to spend time hiking, trail running and bicycling. Next time you’re admiring the landscaping around our campus, you’ll know who to thank because that’s Ken’s job at Trinity Fellowship. He has worked in the landscaping field for 18 years. When he finds time to get away from it all, he can usually be found bow hunting, fly fishing or backpacking.
Contribute to Connect
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Trinity Fellowship wishes to extend a huge thank you to these sponsors who helped make the Big Summer Wedding a success:
ECO-FRIENDLY SCREEN PRINTING • AWARD WINNING DESIGNS • DARN FRIENDLY PEOPLE
forward looking ahead
PASSING the TORCH
In elementary school I went to high school football games and paid very close attention to what was happening on the field. I remember thinking that one day I would be in high school and that I wanted to carry on the traditions started by the guys who had played years before me. Over the next several years I would, when given the chance, fire questions at the older players so that I would be ready to carry the torch when my time came. I am so thankful that they were willing to spend time teaching me about all that went into leading the team and representing our school on the football field. Just as those older players passed on traditions of leadership and excellence to younger players like me, I believe we need to transfer core Christian values to the next generation of believers. Today + those values are being questioned more than ever—in the media, in trinity fellowship's politics, in our schools. In the face of Executive Pastor of such challenges, we will have to be COMMUNITY intentional about passing on biblical
faith and standards of behavior. Value systems are best handed down in the context of community. I love community and the idea of doing life together. This pattern is modeled for us in the book of Acts, as the early church was emerging. Believers committed themselves to one another and to those who came into the community. In this community new believers young and old were discipled. Community works the same way today. Mature Christians offer a foundation of experience, wisdom and stability. Younger believers inspire with their passion, energy and optimism. We all bring something special to the table, and it is so important for the people around you to get that “something” from you. We really do need each another! As we enter the fall semester, I encourage you to find your place. It might be that you are a torchbearer in training, or you might be ready to grab hold of the torch and run with it. Wherever you find yourself, it’s important to recognize the need to learn from history and begin writing it yourself. Our community is full of opportunity; there is a place for you to connect, a place for you to grow, and a place for you to serve!
Get in the Game!
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Whether you’re a mature believer with wisdom to share or a young Christian full of enthusiasm, you have something to give. Find your place to connect, grow and serve by checking out the new Community Directory, now available at any Information Center inside Trinity Fellowship. You can also find the directory online at
Lifegroups Ralph Vasquez
trinity fellowship's Pastor of YOUNG MARRIEDS AND SINGLES
I was hungry for something more, something different. I’ve been in Children’s Ministry here at Trinity for seven years, and I have been praying, “God, is there something more?” I felt like I had hit a plateau. This opportunity arose, and I ended up here in lifegroups.
My wife and I have missed out on relationships by not being in lifegroups. We’ve been so busy with
Children’s Ministry that we couldn’t attend a lifegroup. So this is a whole new
Lifegroups are right up our alley.
I came on staff in 2007 as Pastor of Pastoral Care. I did that for almost three years, and now this opportunity came along. My wife, Stephanie, is part of this ministry and she’s excited. We have led many lifegroups over the years, and she thought I should have done this from day one.
There was a time that I almost lost my passion. I took a season of +
trinity fellowship's Pastor of FAMILY MINISTRY
sabbatical from lifegroups for over a year, and one day I was praying and clearly heard the Lord say, “If you don’t take it up again, I can take that passion away from you.” I was counseling a man about listening to the voice of the Lord, and I told him, “As a matter of fact we’re starting a lifegroup this weekend. I haven’t even told my wife yet, but you’re invited.” And he came. The passion was back.
As a leader, a defining moment for me was hugging a man who was extremely prejudiced. A man in one
of our lifegroup meetings shared about growing up in a town with a lot of racial tension. He didn’t care for Mexicans, and he didn’t want any man touching him. The Lord led me to embrace him, and he said at that moment the love of God flowed and caused all his fears and prejudices to go away. There was not a dry eye at that meeting; it was just incredible.
I love pouring into people. I love seeing people grow, seeing them healed physically, emotionally, spiritually, even financially. Stephanie and I have seen many marriages restored. It’s incredible what the Lord has allowed us to see and be a part of. My vision is raising up leaders who answer the call. I think what
keeps people from leading sometimes is just fear—fear of the unknown, or maybe they think they’re too busy or can’t be used of the Lord. Once they get a taste, especially a taste of seeing lives changed, man, they’re hooked.
THIS FALL, two of Trinity’s pastors take on new roles. El Cantu is heading up our family lifegroups, and Ralph Vasquez is overseeing groups for young married couples and groups for + singles. We caught up with El and Ralph to find out what this change means—to them and to you. world for us. My wife, Zenaida, is happy and excited. It’s a whole different culture and life change. For my girls (ages 12, 6 and 4), all they want to know is where my new office is going to be (laughing).
I really want to lay a strong foundation for these two ministries (young married and singles). I want to build strong teams to wrap around these young couples. My hope is when I move on to the next thing, these lifegroups will continue to grow, young married couples will be
healthy, and singles will be strong in their walk with God.
Sharing the vision of where we want these groups to go has been a priority. I’ve been meeting with young
married couples, ones that God has pointed out to me, ones that others have told me, “These people are amazing.” We’ve been putting together teams— vision and idea teams—and asking questions such as, “What do young married couples need?” The same with singles. I believe we can put a diverse
group of singles together in a room, and we can design something that will feed every type of single in our church.
If you have a hunger to get involved, lifegroups are where it’s at. If you’re looking for friendships and want to do more, get plugged in; don’t shy away from it. Ultimately, lifegroups are the church. We can hear a message every week in the big worship center, but it’s in those smaller groups that you get to minister and grow. That’s really where it’s at.
RDINARY Children IN AN ORDINARY WORLD — Wisdom from Proverbs by Bo Williams
WTAMU Student Teacher of the Year Amarillo High School Teacher of the Year 1st Team All State TAPPS Basketball Wife & Mother Extraordinaire
As a dad, i am so proud of my children and all their accomplishments. Rosanne and I don’t expect any credit for our kids’ successes. They have risen up by their own choices to excel, and how delighted we are! Every parent I know wants his or her children to succeed in life. In fact, we want them to excel and prosper and make a difference. We want them to stand out in a crowd, to have favor with others, and to be noticed. When we hear people talk about our children, we want to hear them say good things. We even want our children to do better in life than we did. One of the challenges in raising children in today’s society is to teach them not to accept for themselves the standard of mediocrity in living that is so prevalent. In today’s media-driven, politically-correct, entitlement-sensitive, video-game culture, there are fewer and fewer people reaching for something beyond their immediate grasp, especially among today’s younger generation. Mediocrity is the norm. Excellence and creativity are produced by the few but enjoyed and digested by the masses so that there is little need for the average person to step up. But it is precisely this kind of world that provides an incredible opportunity for your children to be extraordinary. I love the word extraordinary. Webster’s dictionary simply defines it as “beyond what is normal.” It is a little extra. Since the standard accepted by most people is that normal is good enough, it doesn’t take a whole lot to stand out. In an economy and culture with shrinking resources, there will be increased competition for future generations entering society as adults. Your children can clearly have the edge and advantage. How you teach and equip your children to be extraordinary will have to be worked out in your parenting relationship, and every parent should study the book of Proverbs for guidance. In fact, studying Proverbs with your children is an extraordinary activity! Here are just a few examples of characteristics that will make young people stand out. The list is so simple yet so powerful. Just a little extra effort in each of these areas will distinguish your children from their generation and make them extraordinary. A little extra effort in your parenting will make the difference. It is well worth it! 12
Ways to Be
1 2 3 4
Show good social skills; look people in the eye and smile when shaking hands. Proverbs 15:30
Have good character. Proverbs 4:23
Keep your promises. Proverbs 22:1
Be generous; give to others without expecting anything in return. Proverbs 11:25
5 6 7 8
Put others first with kind consideration. Proverbs 3:3 Take responsibility; take initiative. Do a job well and complete it with minimal supervision. Proverbs 10:4 Solve problems with wisdom and creativity; ask questions. Proverbs 2:1-6
Honor others with humility. Proverbs 18:12
connect magazine sits down with...
OurTeens A few of
Watch the television on any given night and it seems that teenagers face a drastically different world than most of us did growing up. Trinity Fellowshipâ€™s youth pastor Ryan Grabill recently sat down with six teens for a frank discussion about drugs, sex, culture, and religion.
Photography by Joseph Schlabs
Ryan: I’m just going to start off with substance abuse and sex. Why not? Those are always fun topics, right? (laughter) As far as drugs go, what Are some of the biggest problems you see amongst your friends?
+ ABOVE IMAGE (FROM LEFT)
Austin Eberting Tabitha Perkins Matt Stiles Jaric Hubner Sawyer Swindell Kristen Varela
Sawyer Swindell Senior at arbor christian academy Things I like… Art, cheerleading, and reading. My hero is… Definitely my mother. She is an amazing and strong woman. She loves me unconditionally and would give me the world if she could.
In five years… I would like to be finished with school, traveling a lot,
and learning more about myself as an adult. I would like to be sure of all my goals but not necessarily have reached them all yet, just be on the right path.
Matt Stiles: Marijuana is huge. Lately it’s just exploding. A lot of people do it. I’d say over half of the kids at my school use marijuana. Ryan: What about prescription pills? Is there a demand for them? Matt: Hydros [hydrocodone—a commonly prescribed pain medication] are huge. It’s gaining momentum. I didn’t even know what Hydros were a year ago, and now everybody has them.
Ryan: How easy is it to get prescription drugs? Or weed? Could you call someone and get them? In unison: Yeah. Sawyer Swindell: If I wanted [drugs], I could call someone and get it right now. Ryan: Why do you think some kids say no to drugs?
Tabitha Perkins: Because they have morals. I was pressured by my friend for like thirty minutes straight one time, and I said no. And then she was throwing up later that night, and I didn’t want to do that. That’s not fun. Kristen Varela: You understand consequences, and that comes with maturity. Knowing if I do this, “cool now, but what about later?” TabithA: Like you hear about some girl who died from trying this drug one time, and I’m thinking “that could be me.” Sawyer: Seriously, that’s how I am too, like the one time I smoke a cigarette, then I’m going to be addicted for my whole life.
Ryan: OK, let’s talk about sex. Is it prevalent?
senior at tascosa high school In five years… I would like to have a college education/ career and regularly attend Trinity and be a leader. A perfect day… Is when nothing goes wrong, and by
that I mean nothing upsetting in any way. It would also be productive while still being fun.
The best gift someone could give me… A black Gibson Les Paul custom guitar (haha).
Kristen: I think a lot of people have sex because they’re bored. Tabitha: Or they just want to be noticed. If a girl wants attention from a guy, she’ll do anything. Sawyer: I think more teens have sex than do drugs, for sure. Because even the kids who aren’t doing drugs are having sex. Jaric Hubner: There’s a lot of kids in middle school that have sex. Tabitha: Yeah, I knew a lot of kids who were. Ryan: Why would kids turn sex down now? Why would they wait?
Matt: You just have to look to your future. You have to think about the person you marry. What if they don’t want you to have had sex with twenty people? What if they don’t want to worry about the risk of STDs? That’s very scary. I’ve heard Amarillo has one of the highest STD rates. Kristen: And pregnancy rates. Austin Eberting: I don’t want it to be just some act to do. I want it to be a special thing. Ryan: Which means what? What are your boundaries? Austin: I don’t know. Maybe on the verge of marriage? I mean, very in love. Sawyer: Like the person you’re gonna marry? Austin: Yes.
Tabitha: If you’re with someone and you love them enough to get married to them, you can wait. I would wait. Kristen: Especially being in church and having heard messages about the fulfillment of marriage and how much better it’s gonna be. I don’t want to waste it and then have to look back like, well, I just missed out on God’s promise. Great… Austin: The way I look at it is, I’m gonna wait and everything, but I’ll bet you it’s like one in every two girls is still a virgin. Probably not even that. Sawyer: I think guys are worse than girls.
freshman at amarillo high school My hero is… Superman, because he helps people in trouble without
expecting anything in return.
In five years… I plan to be starting college, majoring in marine biology. A perfect day… Is a Sunday, spending time with the family, a trip to the bowling alley, and a home-cooked meal from my mom..
Tabitha: Guys are worse than girls about having more than one partner. Ryan: Girls, why are your friends having sex with their boyfriends? Sawyer: Because they’re in love… (sarcastically). A lot of them think they’re going to marry the person they’re dating right now. Especially if the relationship goes on for a long time, like six months.
Tabitha: They think it’s going to be forever. Which it could be, but sex complicates everything. It becomes the main focus. I have a handful of good friends, and only one of them hasn’t had sex. But the other four or five have all said, “You’re so lucky because I regret everything.” What I don’t understand is the same people who regret it keep doing it. Kristen: After the first time a lot of people think, “It’s not special anymore.” Like, I’ve done it once so why not again? Ryan: Girls, if a guy does have morals and says that he’s waiting, does that pique your interest? Kristen: Yeah, definitely, because it’s so against the grain. Tabitha: That’s what I’m looking for. If I’m going to start dating someone, I make sure they have that goal. If they’ve already had sex, then they’re out of the question. Kristen: As girls, if we’re gonna wait, don’t we deserve someone on the same level? Ryan: Guys, is it interesting if the girls want to wait? Austin: It takes the pressure off. If she doesn’t want to do anything, then that makes you not want to do anything. Sex isn’t an option then.
Matt: You can distinguish easily the girls who are after sex, and the ones who aren’t. Ryan: Let’s switch gears and talk about home life. Can you explain what a dysfunctional home looks like? Tabitha: My parents are divorced. But I don’t think that’s dysfunctional, necessarily. My mom’s remarried. My dad has a girlfriend. And I get along with all of them. I think dysfunctional is when parents just fight and fight and fight and they’re trying to stay together for the kids and that’s just not right. If you see abuse and drugs and sex in your house, that’s what makes it dysfunctional—wrong things being taught to you. Matt: Dysfunctional is when your parents are never there, you don’t ever have family time, they don’t sit down and eat with you. You don’t do activities together, they’re always gone. Ryan: What does a “good” home life look like? When you grow up and start your family, what do you want your home to look like ideally? Sawyer: I think communication is the most important thing. Tabitha: Yeah, I want to be able to be open. My mom says, “You can always tell me anything.” I want to be more like that, like friends. Kind of like the Gilmore Girls. +
Matt: It goes over some parents’ heads that you need to be close [to your kids]. You could spend more time with them and show them that you care. It’s pretty simple, but then they could open up to you better. Tabitha: I also want to be stable financially, so I can provide. I want to be able to plan activities and go through with them. When I have children I want to live up to my word, to say something and actually do it. Sawyer: I don’t want my kids to ever have to worry about money. It’s important that they know there are boundaries and budgets. Like I don’t want a spoiled brat kid, but I don’t want them to have to worry about money either. AUSTIN: I want my kids to have what they want, but I want them to know the value of money and have to work for it, not just have everything be given to them.
Tabitha Perkins sophomore at tascosa high school Things I like… Singing, cheerleading and art. My hero is… My mom because she is always there for me and she
provides for me.
The best gift someone could give me… A custom Bible that’s super personal, with my name on it and my favorite colors.
Ryan: What is your definition of a Christian? What does it mean to be a Christian? Jaric: A Christian is somebody that stands up for what they believe is right. And if they believe something is wrong, they stand up and say so. Sawyer: Everyone has this idea of a Christian who goes to church and says “I love God” in their Facebook profile. But I think it’s so much more than that. I’m not satisfied with the surface level stuff, but I think a lot of people are.
Matt: I think to be a Christian is when you go home and close the door and nobody’s around, do you have a relationship with Jesus? Do you try to communicate with Him and speak with Him? It’s all about what you do when no one’s around. Kristen: Christianity really is love. It’s forgiveness. It’s honesty. It’s helping one another because we can’t do it alone. We all need a community of love. It’s important for us as leaders here to create that kind of environment for other people to see. Ryan: Is there anything in Christianity that you struggle with or question?
Kristen Varela Senior at tascosa high school
Things I like… Definitely anything hands-on. I love helping out
with projects, working at Press, playing music, really anything that involves people.
A perfect day… Is filled with jokes and inspiration, the
occasional mishap that turns into the story you love to tell, and those friends that are fun even in the most boring of times.
The best gift someone could give me… A reminder of a specific funny memory, a really cool handmade anything, a surprise visit, or something unexpectedly useful.
Kristen: I struggle a lot with being consistent. Sawyer: It’s really easy to just go through the motions. Tabitha: When I was first introduced to Jesus, it was amazing. It was easy. Now I just pray right before I go to sleep, like, “thank you, help me, love you. Amen.” And that’s not meaningful. Ryan: What is your purpose in life? Why are you here? Kristen: I feel like my purpose right now is just to be real. There’s so much fake, so much false pretenses. I just want to be real, be really focused, be a good example to others. +
Ryan Grabill 20
trinity fellowship's Pastor of Student ministries
Matt: I try to make it my purpose to serve Jesus and do what He wants me to do. But I’ve been struggling with that because I don’t know how to do that and do everything else in life, like get a job and pay for things. Tabitha: I think that my purpose is to show people it’s not impossible to be nice to everyone and be honest and live up to your word. Jaric: I guess I really haven’t thought about what my purpose is. I know I have one because I was supposed to be dead. My mom was 17 when she had me. The doctor thought she was too young and should have an abortion. And I’m here today. So I’m waiting for God to show me what my true purpose is. Ryan: Do you have mentors in your life, someone who is mentoring you to be a Christian? How important is that?
Austin Eberting +
freshman at amarillo college In five years… I see myself being a firefighter. A perfect day… Is full of activity and riding motocross.
Sawyer: Macy (Burum, an intern in the youth ministry) definitely played a huge role in my life. I wouldn’t be me if she hadn’t helped me through some stuff. My mom and I are really close, and I wouldn’t trade that. But there are some things that you can’t tell your mom, so I could always count on Macy.
A place I'd like to be… A village on an island, in a peaceful environment, where it costs nothing to live and anything could happen.
Just one example of how easy it is to
help your kids
take care of
Kristen: I had a mentor who was a huge deal in my life. She taught me the basics, and she was just always there for me. [A mentor] brings a fresh perspective. I would be going through something and think that I only had one option to deal with it. And then she would say, “Have you thought about this?” It was great, but I don’t have a major mentor figure in my life right now. Tabitha: I think it’s really important to have someone who is further along to guide you. Kristen: Finding someone that you can connect with, that can explain things. Austin: If you don’t have a mentor, then you have to learn things for yourself. It’s a lot easier to learn from someone else’s mistakes than to learn from your own. Matt: It’s definitely important, because this is the time where I shape my life. I’m about to graduate soon, and I’m trying to get things together, figure out what I’m going to do next. And I really need a mentor to help me make those decisions. +
Randall Browning DDS, MS, PA Lorra Cantú Lindsey DDS 7201 West 34th Avenue • Amarillo, Texas 79109 p: 806.353.2113 • f: 806.353.4270
amachild r ensde ntistry.com
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wa n t t o b e c o me a men t o r ? C a l l u s a t 6 7 7- 1 0 0 3 .
Out with the Blü,
In With the New By Seth Wieck
On September 8, Trinity Fellowship launched a remodeled ministry for teenagers, complete with a name change: what used to be “Blu” is now simply called “Student Ministries.” “I think the name change reflects a value change. We wanted to get back to the core of ministry, which is and always should be reaching teenagers with the good news of Jesus Christ,” says Ryan Grabill, Pastor of Student Ministries. “There’s a lot to be said for new and creative ideas for reaching teenagers, but those things can become a distraction.” According to intern Josh Morrow, the new value will place an emphasis on mentorship. “The goal is that every new believer will be matched with a mentor—an adult who has been pursuing Christ longer than the student. We’ve actually been doing this all along with a group of student leaders, and we’ve seen great results.” However, with the value change comes a need for mentors. “If you talk to teenagers, almost every single one of them is curious about God,” adds Pastor Ryan. “They are willing to listen to anybody that may know something. That’s both a great opportunity and a scary situation because somebody will answer their questions. It may be a wise Christian, or it may be some pop star on TV.” How do you know if you’re mentor material? According to Pastor Ryan, a mentor is an adult who has time to meet with a new believer regularly; patience to see a young person stumble and to help him or her get back up; and a real, biblical relationship with God. “The adult doesn’t have to be cool; we just need people who care. “Our prayer is that God provides people for the ministry. I constantly pray that God would cause the families of Trinity Fellowship to be concerned with the lives of our teenagers. It’s not money that we need; it’s people.” If you’re interested in volunteering, call Student Ministries at 677-1003.
meet on Wednesdays... D oor s open at 6 , Se rvic e sta r ts at 7 Se rvic e i s ou t At 8, D oor s c los e at 9 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Lo c at e d in t h e s t u d en t c en t e r ( E a s t s i d e o f m a in b u il d in g )
LEADING THE Men's Mentoring Groups By Seth Wieck
In 1977, several young families met together in Dr. John Curryâ€™s living room and held the first service of what would become Trinity Fellowship. Many of the young men in attendance had no way of knowing that the families in that living room would grow into a 9,000-member church, or that the children playing upstairs would eventually be leaders in the church. Thirty-three years later, Trinity Fellowship has a second generation of thirty-somethings who are reaching the age of leadership. This is a crucial time in the history of our church. 24
WAY “I’m tired of the culture of weak men who sit around and expect everything to be all right...” Josh Sluder, a sales manager at Amarillo Truck Center, leans forward in a chair that is too small for all of his activity. “I looked around the church and thought, ‘There’s nothing for guys my age, young career guys,’” he says. Sipping black coffee, he adds, “I just needed to see older men, in their fifties, in the business world, living Christian lives.” Sluder, 30, grew up at Trinity, even graduating from Trinity Fellowship Christian School (now Arbor Christian Academy) in 1998. “I wasn’t always the best kid. I developed a gambling problem in college that was tough
on my marriage,” he says. “When all of that started falling apart, I guess I went back to the way I was raised. I had to rediscover grace. I went through deliverance. Kenna and I got our marriage back in order, which I am extremely grateful for. But all that was a starting point; I had to go forward from there.” Pastor Matt Spears echoes that sentiment with the same restless motion as Josh, sitting on the edge of his office chair. It’s a problem that he considers to be crucial to the next generation of the church. “I noticed a trend in my lifegroup. We had all of these young families; ambitious, young guys who wanted to be godly leaders in their homes and businesses, but didn’t know the first place to start. They weren’t seeing good examples of men being successful and godly in their community. They were frustrated. I was frustrated along with them.” Mid-rant, Pastor Matt switches gears. “That’s when Steve Trafton called. He had the same concerns, but he’s in the older generation.” Steve Trafton, 51, runs Cenveo-Trafton, a family printing business that he took over from his father when he was 24. 25
2,621 MEN WILL BE MENTORED AFTER 5 YEARS OF THIS PROCESS
“...It helps if we'll allow someone who is down the road a few steps to teach us.” He originally oversaw the financial portion of the business until he became president at age 41. Now he focuses on sales, and he and his wife, Rajan, have a marriage ministry. In the entryway to Trafton’s office hangs a canvas, which he commissioned, depicting God’s creation of the earth in six days. He leans back in one of the guest chairs, leaving the chair behind his desk unoccupied. “I read a book called Mentor Like Jesus by Regi Campbell out of Atlanta,” he says. “It was so good that I read it in two days. Mentoring, or discipleship, is something that’s always been on my heart. It’s more than Bible study. It’s meant to make all parts of your life conform to the image of Christ. We want men who are willing to do the right thing, as defined by God, at whatever the cost. And it helps if we’ll allow someone who is down the road a few steps to teach us.” Trafton found a ten-month program that walks a group of eight men through all of the areas of their life—from how God sees men to handling finances, from relationships with a spouse to raising kids. “It’s a pretty intense commitment,” says Trafton, who invited a group, including Josh Sluder, to test out the program. “All the guys sign a covenant at the beginning agreeing to participate through the whole program,” explains Sluder. “Even the wives have to sign it. We read ten books, turn in reports, and we meet for three or four hours once a month. Steve has been great. He’s available all the time, and he’s a good example of a Christian doing business in an ambiguous marketplace. So much in business is gray these days; some of it is straight up black. [Some] people just care about money. I needed to see that it [making money] can be done with character and integrity.”
Bo Williams, Executive Senior Pastor, identifies with the need for mentors. “I was 23 when we started Trinity Fellowship. I had older men who taught me. But the church was smaller, and it was easier to develop those relationships. “Now the larger facility and crowd make it less likely that older and younger generations are around each other and relating. However, I believe that if older men and younger men have a reason to be together, there is a natural respect and admiration that flows both ways. When Steve initiated this mentor program, we were eager to help him because this was a reason for multiple generations to relate.” Josh Sluder forgets about his coffee completely when he starts talking about the results he’s seen. “Getting men together to realize we have some problems, and as a group saying, ‘Let’s find someone with answers’ is really powerful,” says Sluder. “The first thing we did was share our testimonies. You’d have thought we were in a room full of convicts, not church members. We killed any hint of hypocrisy in the first meeting. Everyone has problems.” He pauses a moment and looks around at other tables. “I’m tired of the culture of weak men who sit around and expect everything to be all right. I’m not OK with that. We have to move forward.” He adds, “The overall goal is to lead our own group of eight men. I’d get a group of guys who are ten years younger than I am, guys in college. Maybe I could help them avoid the same mistakes I made in that stage of life.”
YOU CAN LEAD THE WAY!!! Join this 10-month program and be mentored by a man in the generation above you, then pass along what you’ve learned by becoming a mentor yourself.
To find out how, contact the Men’s Ministry at Trinity Fellowship by calling 677-1069. 27
A Thing for
by Ken Bintliff
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate trees, especially in the Texas Panhandle. A few well-placed trees can greatly enhance the appearance of your property, and they can also increase its value. This fall is the perfect time to ramp up the beauty in your neighborhood and do the environment a favor as well. With the colder months of the year approaching, the optimum time to plant trees approaches as well. You may have heard that springtime is the time to plant trees, but it may actually be the worst time. During the spring the sap is beginning to run, and deciduous trees are budding and putting out leaves and flowers. The leaves are tender, and this is the tree’s most vulnerable time for damage, especially if the tree is being transplanted.
That’s why the late fall and winter months (after freezing weather has begun) provide the best time, when deciduous trees are dormant and evergreens are slow-growing. Planting now gives the tree a chance to settle in, and when spring comes, the tree has the entire growing season to get established before the next winter.
TREE TALK Before you head to the nursery or greenhouse to start shopping, itâ€™s a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few basic terms:
a type of tree that loses its leaves and foliage seasonally
mostly evergreen trees and shrubs (such as pine) that are cone-bearing
Caliper inch a measurement of the diameter of the treeâ€™s trunk (or trunks) six inches above the root ball
Foundational a type of tree that will grow to be the largest and most outstanding
a type of tree whose height will remain beneath the canopy of the foundational trees
the uppermost branches of a tree that typically spread in all directions
WHAT TO LOOK FOR Trees are most often sold in one of three ways: Container size Usually referred to by the gallon size, such as five gallon, etc. A forty-five gallon tree will be about as much as anyone can handle without equipment. Caliper size Deciduous trees are sold by caliper inch; if not containerized, they will come with their roots balled and burlapped. Height Coniferous trees and many larger, bushy trees and shrubs are sold by height in feet.
FOUNDATIONAL TREES: recommended Cedar Elm Red Oak Shademaster Locust Honey Locust American Elm Bur Oak Austrian Pine
Not recommended (I know I may ruffle some feathers): Cottonwood Poplar Glove Willow Weeping Willow Maple Ash Mulberry Siberian Elm
WHERE TO START Start with foundational treesâ€”the trees that will be the largest and attract the most attention. In placing your foundational trees, pay attention to mature height and width. Keep in mind that growers give these dimensions with the treeâ€™s native environment in mind. In the Texas Panhandle we have an abundance of wind, unpredictable rainfall and soil that is far better suited to growing prairie grass than big trees, so subtract at least ten feet from both height and width estimations.
Be sure to place your foundational trees in proper proximity to your house and other structures to allow for future growth and to prevent damage to foundations, driveways and sidewalks. Most foundational trees should be kept a minimum of ten to twelve feet from structures; fifteen to eighteen feet provides a good, safe distance. Retail outlets and nurseries offer a great many species of trees, but not all trees that are sold here do well in this area. In my experience certain trees stand the best chance of reaching maturity here.
HOW TO SPACE TREES
Contrary to many opinions, spacing trees so that their canopies do not touch when mature is not necessary. Trees naturally grow together, and as long as they aren’t too crowded, the eventual result will be a very natural and beautiful overlap of canopies.
THE NEXT PHASE Once you’ve selected and placed your foundational trees, you’ll want to accent them with smaller varieties. Placing midsize to understory-sized trees will highlight and enhance your property greatly. With an eye toward fall colors, spring blossoms and character trunks, you can really accent the structures and the foundation trees as well.
Recommended midsize and understory species: Chinese Pistachio, Red Hawthorne, Washington Hawthorne, Golden Raintree, Lacebark Elm, Redbud, Bald Cypress (can also be foundational), Treeform Yaupon, Chaste Tree, Desert Willow, Pinion Pine, Mondale Pine Native species can be beautiful if pruned and maintained properly, and they are a good option when you want to ensure optimum survivability.
Recommended native species: Soapberry, Mesquite, Hackberry
DYI OR HIRE A PROFESSIONAL? Your budget will be one of the biggest factors in deciding the size and quantity of the trees you purchase, and it will also determine whether you do it yourself or have your trees planted by a professional. Planting yourself will definitely be less expensive, but you will limit yourself in size unless you have access to equipment that can handle a larger tree. A three-inch tree is about all most people can handle without the aid of a tractor. Another fact to consider is that many nurseries will give you a warranty if they plant the trees you purchase. If you’re ready to get started planting some trees, check out my step-by-step instructions by going online to yourtrinity.org.
What is something that was handed down to you by your father or grandfather? My obsession for the Sooners…
THE RESULTS OF SMOKING—EMPHYSEMA AND A SLOW, DIFFICULT DEATH (MY DAD, TOO).
I was given a very special gift... a heart for my country! “Love it or leave it,” my grandfather always said. This from a proud American and WWI Vet. Tonia Ashworth Huddleston Hittson
My grandfather’s shaving mug is a prized possession. It’s hard to imagine they had to stir up their own lather from a bar of shaving soap. NICK GERLICH
I have my dad’s and my father-in-law’s dominoes! Too cool. My dad and father-in-law both passed down strong Christian values, a commitment to family and hard work."
Leslie Mosley Childers
John A. Whittington
You know it's funny I can't think of anything. Kinda makes me sad now. We don't really have the same values and we don't share any obvious traits that I can think of. – KATHERINE FOSSEK SALAS –
I don’t look like my father at all, but I sound like him… It’s the voice I use when I want to impress somebody. It’s the voice I use when I’m talking to a good-looking girl. DONALD MILLER, FATHER FICTION: CHAPTERS FOR A FATHERLESS GENERATION 33
WHAT EVER IT TAKES BY KELLY HUNT & KELLI BULLARD
On Main Street in Clarendon, the vehicles parked quickly, their occupants emerging with armloads of black-and-gold pom-poms, banners and signs. They scurried to the sidewalks, restless with anticipation. Minutes later, from the horizon of southbound Highway 287, a long procession of vehicles, mostly SUV’s, appeared, sporting black-and-gold streamers and signs. Slowly, they descended into town. Cheering erupted as the fans lining the street went crazy. Their team, the Bushland Falcons, was headed to state. By all accounts, it was a historic moment. The Amarillo area had not sent a football team to the state championship since 1948, a frustrating drought of sixty-one years. Now Bushland had done the impossible. In five short years, the small farming community—which never even had a high school—passed a bond, built a school and hired a coaching staff that developed a football powerhouse. It was like some kind of fairy tale, a cross between Cinderella and Rocky. During the 2009 season, they smashed every 2A team around and won all their district games and playoff games, including the state semi-final. They amassed an impressive 15-0 record, often winning by forty points or more. Soon, college recruiters were calling and national football websites featured glowing reviews of the Bushland Falcons, the team described as coming from “a dot on a map, a random exit fifteen minutes west of Amarillo on Interstate 40.” Everyone was asking, Who is this force from the north, these boys that burst out of the wheat fields so quickly to capture the hearts and souls of the fans? How could they do something that had not been done in over sixty-one years and in so short a time? Perhaps a clue lies in their motto, emblazoned on locker room walls and painted on roadweary SUV’s. It reads: "WHATEVER IT TAKES."
t 4:00 p.m. on a Thursday, Head Coach and Athletic Director David Flowers pulls open the door to the modern brick athletic wing of Bushland High School and makes his way through the gleaming hallway to the gymnasium floor. At fifty-five years old, he still walks like an athlete, his powerfully built figure cutting a path through the crowd, past a large colored banner that reads, BUSHLAND FALCONS, and underneath, WHATEVER IT TAKES. His voice lowers with intensity as he remembers how this motto came to be. “In 2008, we got beat by Muleshoe in the 36
first round after going 10-0 in regular season,” he says, his eyes like steel. “Our kids had a real sour taste in their mouths, and they didn’t want that to happen again. So we started talking about, ‘what is it going to take to get back?’” In that fateful meeting, the shocked team and staff members cried openly at the suddendeath end of their season. Players and staff agreed to do whatever it took to get better— scheduling extra work in the summer, attending every workout, taking everything more seriously. “Whatever it takes, they wanted to do,” he says.
His cell phone rings. He talks as he walks, enters his tidy office down the hallway from the gymnasium and sits behind his desk, leaning on his forearms. His eyes roam to the shelves on his right, which are filled with portraits of his past winning teams at Canadian and Merkel, near Abilene, as well as various family photos—his wife, LuAnn (the “awesome woman who’s made me what I am today”), his three grown children and eight grandchildren. Among the photos are signed footballs and mementos of his twentyfive-year coaching career, and above is a simple sign. On laminated white paper with typed block letters it reads: THERE ARE NO OFFICE HOURS FOR CHAMPIONS.
On the opposite wall, a champion of sorts looks down from a large wooden frame. It is a portrait of a famous cowboy clad in a worn vest, shirt and scarf, his weathered felt hat tipped to one side. On his lined face is that famous, confident half-smile. It is the Duke himself, John Wayne, and you can almost hear him say to the boys from Bushland, “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” After the meeting last season, the boys did “saddle up” and an amazing thing happened. The motto “whatever it takes” spread like wildfire, and the team was burning hot. 37
“...you always want to be a gracious winner because they’ve worked just as hard as you have to get to that point, and it’s just respectful.”
In the locker room and on the field, Coach Flowers and his staff drilled the team on character, class and pride. “Number one is, we try to tell our players every day that we love them. This day and time some kids don’t have a dad at home, and some of them do but probably never hear ‘I love you’ except from their mother. It’s really been impressed on me that they’ve got to know you care about them. At the same time, we want them to take pride and show a lot of class, whether we’re winning or losing.” Coach Flowers leans forward in his chair, his gray hair swept forward, his voice steady. “Our players took it to heart,” he says. “On the football field at the end of a winning game, we don’t whoop and holler. We take our helmets off and face [the other team’s] crowd while they do their school song. Whenever they get done, we turn to our crowd and do our thing. You always want to be a gracious winner because they’ve worked just as hard as you have to get to that point, and it’s just respectful.” As he talks, his office door opens quickly and a younger coach hurries past his desk toward an open closet at the back and begins shuffling through papers. The young man is his son, Steven, the team’s offensive coordinator. He smiles, grabs some papers, and rushes out the door. After all, there are no office hours for champions. Coach Flowers breaks into an easy smile. “Steven and I serve on the communion team at Trinity Fellowship. I’ve never been one to push my Christianity on others but, if they ask, I will sure tell them.” Forty-three years ago, in the basement of a nondenominational church in Perryton, Texas, twelve-year-old David Flowers and a group of other children were finishing choir practice. The air was heavy with the presence of God as the minister gave a brief Bible message, and young David had what he now describes as a moving experience with Jesus. 39
“I just knew something came into me that day,” he says. “And I haven’t been an angel my whole life since then, but something I do have is a very, very strong conscience. If I do something wrong, it just worries me to death until I get it right.” Respect for his grandmother, the woman who helped keep him on the straight and narrow, may be one reason for his keen sense of right and wrong. Growing up, his family lived twenty-one miles out in the country, and his grandmother held a weekly Bible study for all the neighbor kids. “She was probably the biggest [spiritual] influence in my life, and it made me afraid to do a lot of things,” he says. “I did not want to disappoint my grandmother, so it made me strong enough to say no.” Today the spiritual aspect is still a big part of his life and largely influences the way he coaches. Every Thursday during football season, school board member Jeff Ponder, pastor of Bushland Baptist Church, leads a devotional for the players. Before they take the field on Friday nights, the team recites the Lord’s Prayer together. And Flowers participates in a twelve-week Bible study each semester called “Coaches’ Outreach,” a ministry that feeds him spiritually and allows the coaches to share their struggles and encourage each other. His approach to motivating players could be best summed up as “tough love.” He says kids have to know that when they mess up there will be consequences. At the same time they need to know that any punishment they receive is doled out with fairness and a commitment to helping them become better athletes. “You know, you used to be able to kick them in the rear and say ‘let’s go.’ Nowadays you can kick them in the rear, but you’d better be sure they know it’s a kick of love,” he says, punctuating his sentence with a burst of laughter. “So you have to be fair, you’ve got to make it fun, and they’ve got to know you love them,” says Coach Flowers. “And all that other stuff falls into place, that class and character and all that.” He pauses to think about what he just said, then adds, “For me it’s worked anyway.”
n the wall above, the large black-and-white clock continues to march toward Friday night’s game. Outside the horizon is streaked with orange and purple; the air is clean and the evenings cooler now, as sunlight fades across the football stadium slumbering at the end of the parking lot. The mighty Bushland Falcons lost heavily at the state championship in Wichita Falls. But this fall the boys have burst from the golden fields again, grinding out whatever it takes. Soon the fans will line main streets in places like Clarendon, Texas, with black-and-gold pom-poms and banners, waiting with the same anticipation and devotion. Their eyes will squint in unison, vigilant, until the painted SUV’s appear on the horizon and descend into town. Then they will go crazy.
“...you have to be fair, you’ve got to make it fun, and they’ve got to know you love them,” PLAYERS FROM LEFT: BRETT SICKLES, BRETT WILHELM, MASON HARRIS, TATE RHODES
a ministry of
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