Get to Know: Steve Harring

Get to Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

In 10 words or less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street.
I serve as a Door Greeter and Growth Group teacher.

How long have you been with Hulen Street?
My wife and I have been attending Hulen Street since October 2013.

What's the best part about serving?
The best part of serving as a Growth Group teacher has been interacting with the rest of the group as we go through the material together while sharing personal experiences and connecting them to Scripture. The best part about serving on the Welcome Team is meeting new people and seeing church partners excited to walk in the doors to our church every Sunday morning.

What is the biggest challenge you face in serving?
The biggest challenge I face while serving is trying to connect my teaching to our Growth Group and especially visitors to our Growth Group in a practical way that relates the material in such a way that it's not just what I would need to hear for my spiritual growth but that the practical application of the lesson is beneficial to the entire group.

How did you get started serving?
I had the privilege to first start serving as a Growth Group teacher when my Growth Group Leader Daniel Oster asked if I'd like to teach about 6 months after visiting Hulen Street.

Get to Know: Stephanie Buckingham

Get to Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

 Stephanie Buckingham with her husband, Todd, and thier son, Reid.

Stephanie Buckingham with her husband, Todd, and thier son, Reid.

In 10 words or less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street.
1st-2nd grade Growth Group Leader

How long have you been with Hulen Street?
5 years

What's the best part about serving?
The best part about serving in the 1st and 2nd Grade Growth Group is seeing the progression that the kids go through. It's amazing to see how their knowledge of the Bible grows, and how they are able to apply what we're learning. It's also been really cool to see some of the kids that have been in our class in previous years get baptized.

What is the biggest challenge you face in serving?
One challenge in serving in 1st and 2nd grade is trying to ensure that the kids are learning and having fun at the same time. We use Orange, a fantastic curriculum that has games and interactive elements, but we've learned that having a Plan B or even Plan C is always a must.

How did you get started serving?
The first time we visited Hulen Street was the Sunday before VBS Freestyle and the church was looking for more volunteers. Todd and I thought that serving at VBS would be a great way to meet people and learn more about the church. I had a great time and it showed me that serving in the Grade School Ministry is something that I am passionate about.

What is something the Spirit is teaching you lately?
We went on the last mission trip to South Africa in March and were able to share our story and some pictures with people at work. Many people have asked questions and wanted to know more about the trip and why we go. It has been a good lesson for me on how to be more intentional and use these conversations with coworkers as a jumping off point to engage people at a deeper level.

The Next Step Update: Atlanta

Each month, we want to update everyone on The Next Step, our initiative to make internal and external investments in God's Kingdom. Read more about The Next Step

Dustin and Sheri Crawford of True North Community Church in Atlanta

From Dustin Crawford of True North Community Church in Atlanta:

Greetings Hulen Street family!

Over the past several months, we at True North Church have experienced and celebrated several evidences of God’s grace working in and through our church family. I wanted to write to you to share them with you and so you could celebrate and praise God with us for all he is doing!

Worship services with Dustin Crawford, Lead Pastor of True North Community Church in Atlanta.

WHAT GOD IS DOING

First, in order to gather on Sunday we needed a space to meet in. The Lord answered our prayers beyond our wildest dreams by providing The Perkerson Park Recreation Center, which just happens to be in our dream location in the heart of our neighborhood! The Lord provided us with this space just weeks before we had planned to have our first service! Even though the average facility rent in our neighborhood was $5,000 per month, God gave us this place for $700 per month! They even provide us with chairs, tables, and allow us to store all our things there, which makes set up and tear down a breeze.

True North Community Church in Atlanta, GA, meets in the Perkerson Park Recreation Center in their neighborhood.

Second, we gathered together as a church family for the first time to worship King Jesus! On Sunday, April 17th - just 10 months after moving to Atlanta - we had 30 people worshipping the King in the heart of our neighborhoods!

As a result of having services and continuing to be present in our neighborhoods, the Lord has given us incredible favor. We are widely known and widely loved.

KARA'S STORY

Five months ago, I met Kara (“Coach K”). She lives in our neighborhood with her two boys Kalveion and Caleb, and she runs the Perkerson Park Recreation Center, where we hold services. Over this time she has loved on our church, gone out of her way to help us, and shared her story with me. Kara said that has lived in Atlanta for over 20 years and has never been to church.

Two weeks ago, our church had the opportunity to love on her and her family, not just with our words, but with our actions. She is trying to raise money for her oldest son Kalveion to be able to study abroad for the summer. Our church wanted to show her how much we love her by supporting them, and we raised almost the entire amount in a few days. We took it to her and she absolutely lost it. Here are a few things she posted on Facebook:

  • God places you in the right place at the right time! I want to thank Pastor Crawford and his church! I’m in tears right now... man I keep telling y'all FAVOR AIN’T FAIR! Man God is good! I can’t even type anymore... Thank you Lord!!!

  • Sometimes people whom you just met have better intentions for you than people you’ve known a lifetime! It’s so much bigger... this act of kindness that I just received has left me speechless! Genuine love man...

Coach K and her sons are now a part of our church family and last Sunday Coach K got for the first time understood the love Jesus has for her. This is what she said after church service.

  • I got it now! You see I’ve always prayed for my children... I’ve asked that they be covered in your blood! And believe me they are blessed beyond measure…but today you told me I was beautiful... and well I want to live as such... you know Be Beautiful! Unbeknownst to me you were covering me too! I want peace and NO ONE or THING can give me that but you! I’m EXCITED! #word #truenorth

Praise God! She is now plugged in and telling everyone about Jesus and about True North Church. This is just one of several stories I could share. Be encouraged that God is answering your prayers and multiplying your giving to bring about the spread of his transforming grace in the inner city of Southwest Atlanta!

HOW YOU CAN BE PRAYING

1. Salvations: Pray God would bring many people into his family through our church family.

2. Favor: Pray that God would continue to give us favor with our neighbors. Pray for new relationships as well as for deepening relationships.

Some people from True North Community Church gathering in a home

3. Workers: We are praying as a church family for workers for the harvest, that is, for people to join our family to transform our neighborhoods with the gospel. Pray that God would raise up indigenous leaders from our neighborhoods!

One specific need we have is for a Pastor of Worship Arts. Join us in aksing God to provide us with the right person to fill this need for our church and for our neighborhood!

4. Provision: Continue to pray that God would continue to provide us with financial partners! On top of our monthly need, we are still in need of several one time purchases, such as, kids ministry supplies and a sound system.

One specific need we have is to raise money to bring on another full-time Pastor. We have the right guy for this spot, but need the funds to make it happen!

5. Our Church Family: Continue to pray for endurance, joy, and protection for our church family. Pray for God to provide houses in our neighborhood, to protect our marriages, to comfort those of us who are suffering, to provide us with jobs, to knit our hearts to Him and one another, for unity in our church, and that He would give us the affections and courage needed to share the gospel and our lives with others.

WHAT'S COMING AND OUR NEEDS

True North Community Church in Atlanta, GA, serving food to the surrounding community outdoors in a park.

  • We are super excited to have some of our Hulen Street family coming to visit with us July 23-August 1st. Our church family can’t stop talking about it!
  • August 7th we are having a our first big event. We are going to be having "Church in the Park" followed by a massive block party. This is going to be the event we are hoping that will kick off our church being fully birthed. August 14th we are hoping to have everything in place, thus having our true public launch of True North!
  • As I said, we are still in the process of giving full birth to our church. We are gathering on Sundays now, but we don't have a kids ministry. Our goal is to have a full-blown kids ministry by August 14th, the first Sunday after our "Church in the Park" event.
  • We are excited also to announce we are multiplying into two Community Groups at the end of May. And we are hoping to have a third group by the end of the summer! We will now have groups in 3 of our 5 target neighborhoods!

On behalf of True North Church we want to say thank you for being present with us in prayer, finances, and soon in person! We praise God for you and for Christ in you. Looking forward to seeing you face to face again soon.

Grace and Peace.

Get to Know: Gary Blalock

Get to Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

 Gary Blalock, on the right, and his wife Lisa, left, and their daughter Michelle in the middle

Gary Blalock, on the right, and his wife Lisa, left, and their daughter Michelle in the middle

In 10 words of less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street-
I lead the mowing team and also serve as an usher.

How long have you been with Hulen Street-
My family and I have been there 15 years.

Whats the best part about serving-
Knowing that serving in a small way that I might be helping someone in the church. Also knowing that you are doing kingdom work.

Whats the biggest challenge you face in serving-
Sometimes feeling like I am letting myself and God down by not doing more for the church.

How did you get started serving-
I had other church partners approach me about serving in the areas that I presently serve in now.

What is something the Spirit is teaching you lately-
The Spirit has been working on me to be more calm,to wait more before I speak out and not to take my family for granted.

Get to Know: Candice Oster

Get to Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

 Candice Oster, her husband Daniel, and their two children.

Candice Oster, her husband Daniel, and their two children.

In 10 words or less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street.
I serve by leading a Growth Group with my husband.

How long have you been with Hulen Street?
We first visited in May of 2011 and became partners 4 months later.

What's the best part about serving?
The love and relationships that are formed then strengthened as we serve each other, not just the physical needs but spiritual needs as well, in prayer and encouragement.

What is the biggest challenge you face in serving?
Being intentional about doing so. “Busy” is a word we use a lot, and I can easily allow “busy” to limit when and how I serve.

How did you get started serving?
Our first day in a Growth Group we did the good Christian thing in telling our leaders to let us know what we can do to help, not really expecting much to come of it. Three days later they called us and asked us to take food to someone in our group who had surgery and we had never met. God used that early experience to remind us now as leaders to get people plugged into serving because God uses it to grow us spiritually.

What is something the Spirit is teaching you lately?
Being confident in the power that is now in me because of Christ. I have always doubted my own ability to do things, so remembering the power of the Holy Spirit given to us encourages me to continue to step out in service and leadership, not because of what I can do, but what he can do through me.

Get to Know: Kirk Dowell

Get to Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

 Kirk and Nancy Dowell

Kirk and Nancy Dowell

In 10 words or less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street.
I serve as one of the Church Elders.

How long have you been with Hulen Street?
26 years

What's the best part about serving?
Having been a member of Hulen Street for so long, I have a desire to help protect and preserve it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want it to change - because I certainly have seen my share of change in that time - I just want to ensure that the church maintains its integrity and is always growing and thriving.

What is the biggest challenge you face in serving?
In any leadership role in the church, you run the risk of letting your own preferences guide your decisions rather than what is best for the entire church. It’s important to prayerfully consider all situations.

How did you get started serving?
The first service opportunity that my wife Nancy and I were involved in was counting the offering after the service. After a few weeks of being trained by another couple, we let them know we knew the drill and they didn’t have to stay with us any more. They told us the policy was that they needed to stay so that there was accountability to ensure that no one was stealing from the offering plates. It made sense, but it was the first time I realized that there were apparently people who would actually steal from an offering plate!

What is something the Spirit is teaching you lately?
My wife, Nancy, recently had knee surgery, and I got to take care of her needs during the first few days she was off her feet. I have taken care of her before when she was sick or after foot surgery, but God showed me this time what it meant to really serve her and not just meet her needs.

Get to Know: Sherree Padilla

Get to Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

Sherree Padilla (top right) with her husband Saul and their three daughters.

In 10 words or less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street.
I lead the Surrendering the Secret Bible Study for post-abortive women.

How long have you been with Hulen Street?
Our family has attended Hulen Street for about 5 and a half years.

What's the best part about serving?
The best part about leading the Surrendering the Secret Bible Study is watching the Lord pickup all the broken pieces in women's lives, and then He puts them back together better than any of us could imagine for HIS glory.

What is the biggest challenge you face in serving?
One of the biggest challenges I've faced so far is not having a co-leader present.

How did you get started serving?
I attended the Surrendering the Secret Bible Study and I personally received healing through the group. Then I felt led to start a group at our church in which I could lead other women into healing from the heartbreak of abortion.

What is something the Spirit is teaching you lately?
The Holy Spirit has really been teaching me to get out of the way and let him do the work.

Get to Know: Matt Lok

Get to Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

 Matt Lok, pictured far right in the black Giants hat, with some of his high school guys.

Matt Lok, pictured far right in the black Giants hat, with some of his high school guys.

In 10 words or less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street.
I serve in the Student Ministry as the Student Connections Intern.

How long have you been with Hulen Street?
I've called Hulen Street home and family for a year and a half.

What's the best part about serving?
Getting a front row seat in seeing how Jesus transforms the lives of students and their families. It's crazy to see how I play a small role in His story in their lives.

What is the biggest challenge you face in serving?
Constantly remembering that it is not I who saves or heals these students, but it is Jesus who saved and heals them. This has definitely been such a humbling and refining process for me.

How did you get started serving?
I had many conversations with Grant Finch before I visited letting me him know that my heart was for Student Ministry. And progressively I became rooted into Student Ministry at Hulen Street.

What is something the Spirit is teaching you lately?
The most important thing I can do for Student Ministry or any ministry in the future is to relentlessly keep my eyes on Jesus and be like Jesus. If not, I am nothing more than a motivational speaker.