Why Chi Alpha?

I’m going to be honest, the first time I heard the term Chi Alpha two years ago I thought it was the name of a sorority. The air was quickly cleared as explained to be that it was The Height’s Disciple Now (D-Now). Classic mix up.

Two years later here we are, knee-deep in Chi Alpha preparation here in the Brick and are loving every second. The other day I was telling one of my friends from home about Chi Alpha planning and she interrupted me, asking “why it is called Chi Alpha?” I told her that I had no clue, that’s just what it’s always been called. She then said, “Don’t you think you should know why it’s called Chi Alpha, since you work there and all?” Touché, friend. That question has been bouncing around in my brain since that conversation so I did some asking around and finally figured out where Chi Alpha originated.

Let’s go back in time for a second…

The Height’s has been doing Disciple Now for around 30 years. For the first few years it was simply called D-Now weekend. Then in the ’90s a new youth pastor named Dave Rogers came aboard. He grew up at a First Baptist Church where their D-Now weekend was called Chi Alpha, which means “Christ first.” Dave’s home church saw the bigger picture and wanted Christ and the Gospel to be central in all they did, including their D-Now weekend, in hopes that it would instill that value in all of their members. Clearly, it had a lasting impact on Dave, so much so that he walked away desiring to implement the same Gospel-centered weekend in his ministry at The Heights. And the rest is history.

This history lesson has opened my eyes to see that Chi Alpha 2015 is apart of something much bigger than me, than THSM, than The Heights, than Dave Roger’s home church. It’s apart of God’s promise to Abram to bless all the nations through him (Genesis 12:3). It’s all about God continuing to be faithful to make wayward rebels His children through Jesus Christ so that they might glorify and praise Him with every fiber of their being, making Him known to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:19-20). We are begging the Lord to open up the eyes and hearts of students to help them understand who they are in Him and the purpose for which He has created them.

Here’s a testimonial from Marisa Mulloy, a THSM senior, about how the Lord has used Chi Alpha as a part of her story–

Chi Alpha is the event that has most significantly changed and effected my walk with the Lord. My sophomore year I walked into Chi Alpha hurting, completely unengaged, and bitter. I wanted nothing to do with the whole event because I knew people got emotional and things got personal, and I had no desire for my group and my group leader to know the things I was doing and the way I was living.

Still, the Lord did his thing. The college girl that was supposed to be my counselor got the flu last minute and so Mallory Behenna got to fill in. For some reason, i felt a connection with her. We thought similarly, had a lot of the same interests, and I saw that significant parts of her past were currently my present. I opened up to her, told her a select part of my circumstances, and that was that. The weekend ended.
I went home and in a moment of rest and being alone, I got it. The Good News became real to me, and I became very aware of things that needed to change despite how difficult it would be to change those things. I immediately called Mallory. Through the next several months of brokenness she walked beside me and was completely available, and even now two years later she remains that. She pushes me, challenges me, calls me on my crap, encourages me and plays a role in my life that I think every student needs.
Chi Alpha gives opportunity for these relationships. I know the staff prays long and hard about which counselor gets assigned to which group, and I believe the Lord forms these groups specifically  with purpose. It’s encouraging for junior high and high school students to be lead by some one who is not much older than us, as most of the leaders are only in college. The groups leaders have so much wisdom to offer, and the relationships that form have such potential to be truly Christ-centered and life changing.
Marisa’s story is one of many stories of how the Lord has brought His Kingdom down during Chi Alpha, rescuing His children from the domain of darkness and restoring them to the Kingdom of Light (1 Peter 2:9). Join us in praying for Jesus to do just that during Chi Alpha 2015!

This post was written by Mollie Tyler, the Height’s Students Girls Minister. Mollie has been on staff since June 2014 and thanks God constantly for the opportunity to shepherd the flock of girls He has entrusted to her. Some of Mollie’s favorite things are crafting, baking, people, adventures, and seeing the Kingdom advance all around her. 

Disciples Under Your Roof

Most staff meetings are not so memorable. However, I will never forget listening to Joe Perry, a fellow staff member who is a few years my senior, sharing a devotional over 13 years ago at this particular staff meeting. He spoke passionately (to the point of tears from a real “man’s man”) about how there were 100 guys the church could get to do his job, but only 1 person who was called by God to raise his sons as their father.

Something clicked for me on that day. I decided right then and there that I would pursue making an “A” in being a husband and father – even if it meant making poor grades at work or other pursuits. God imprinted this truth on my head and heart:

Your greatest disciples you’ll ever have live under your roof.

As a Christ-follower, I must be about the things Jesus was about (or, by definition, I am not a Christ-follower). While Jesus was not married nor did He have any physical children, Hecertainly modeled the Master plan of evangelism and discipleship. He has point-blank commanded us to let those within our sphere of influence know about the Gospel and then teach them to walk as He did. Again, this is never truer than with our own children.

When my kids were young, I must confess, it was a challenge for me to do this. We read books together (especially at bed time) and I looked for “teachable moments” any time they presented themselves. However, I usually left those times wondering, “Are they getting any of this?”

I also struggled with “gearing down” to their level. My wife was SO much better at this – having these conversations on their level. On a side note, this is why I’m always so impressed with those wonderful saints who serve in Children’s ministries.

Fast forward to now – I have 2 teens – an almost 15 year old and a 17 year old. One of the great joys of my life is breakfast. It has worked out that I make them breakfast each day and we have the opportunity to sit down together. As they eat, I read the daily INFUSE passage and then we launch into some discussion/application. Sometimes we use the provided questions and, other times, I use things going on in their lives to see how God’s Word applies to those situations. Because they are older, these discussions are really good.


We finish breakfast with me asking them how I can pray for them. This keeps me up-to-speed on their lives (at least what they’ll share with me). It also allows them to hear their father intercede for them. Where do kids learn how to do anything – get dressed, brush their teeth, have a conversation, etc.? They mainly learn these things from their parents. Where should our kids learn the value of a relationship with God? Where should they learn the importance of starting their day consulting God? Where should they learn the priority of God’s Word for their lives? Where should they learn how to talk to God? Shouldn’t that be their parents (just like it is for so many other things)?

Written by Chris Havard, the Grow Pastor at the Height’s Baptist Church. When Chris isn’t heading up the growth and strategy of discipleship for ABF’s and the Height’s members, he is probably working on an Excel document, reading one of the latest books, or spending quality time with his wife LeRay and two kids Josh and Jessica.  

My Mom and the Three Musketeers

My mom worked in banking for almost 50 years. She started out as a teller (the person that works the line of customers at the bank or talks to you at the drive through and perhaps gives you a lollipop after you make a deposit) but later moved up to doing home loans for people. Eventually, she retired as the Vice President (back when the bank had like 2 vice presidents and not hundreds like they often do today). I guess when you get to handle money all day and observe hundreds of people’s finances, which you have to examine to approve them for home loans, you learn a few things. Needless to say she knew a bit about how to manage money and she taught the rest of the family a few things about money management as well.

My first and what I now consider to be perhaps the best lesson she ever taught me came when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Throughout most of my adolescent life I walked to school. Although it doesn’t work this way anymore, we used to get about an hour for lunch in elementary school and lots of kids would walk home for lunch and then back again. I was one of those kids.

Much to my surprise and happiness, my mother announced one day that I was worthy of an allowance and, henceforth, I was to receive the tidy sum of 60 cents per week. You may think this to be a curious sum of money for an allowance, but my mom was about to teach me a valuable lesson. She found a way to combine my propensity for eating candy bars, my proximity to the corner store (known as Stricklands), and her desire to set me on the track to Biblical money management.

Here’s how it worked: after lunch at my house every day I would take 10 cents and walk across the street to Stricklands. I would proceed to buy a full size Three Musketeers bar and eat it as I walked back to school. At the end of the week I would have 10 cents left over and that 10 cents was to be placed into the offering plate at church on Sunday morning. Simple, don’t you think? Yet from that point on in my life it has always just seemed natural to support the work of the Lord through giving.

Giving is the foundation of good money management. Why? Because until you learn how to give, how to hold on loosely to what you have, you will never truly manage money in a Godly way. You will always feel the need to have more and that desire will take your focus off of God much of the time. On the other hand, if you learn to give you’ll find that God is able to bless you in amazing ways. These won’t necessarily be financially prosperous blessings, but the happiness, joy, friendship, respect, peace, grace and love you do receive will far outweigh anything you could purchase. 2 Cor 9:6 says that whoever sows (gives) sparingly will also reap (or get) sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

Do you ever give any of your money back to God?

Do you do it regularly or have a plan for it?

How could God change your life through giving?

Would you be willing to try giving some portion of your income for 3 months and writing down how the Lord blesses you?

Keep watch for Money Management Part 2….Mommy got a raise!

This post was written by Bill Ferrell, the Administrative Pastor at the Heights. When Bill’s not leading out on all things administrative at the church, he enjoys golfing, traveling, and spending time with his three favorite girls–Chris, Kimberly, and Honeybear Ferrell. 

Cheers to a New Year!

I don’t know about you guys, but 2015 kinda snuck up on me. It seems like yesterday we were on that forever long bus ride to beach camp or bowling at 4am at HoopDeeDoo and now here I sit on the 8th day of January wondering where the time went. I don’t know what 2014 held for you specifically, but if yours was anything like mine then I am sure it was a conglomeration of victories, heartbreaks, change, failure, joy, growth, tears, and challenges.

There’s something about the beginning of a fresh new year—it’s blank slate full of hope and possibilities. It’s a time to ponder and treasure all that Christ has done in the past year and look forward to the abounding possibilities for Him to move in the 365 days that comprise the new calendar year.

As a staff, we here in the student ministry took a moment to ponder all that Christ did in 2014 and expectantly anticipate what He is going to do in 2015.

Here are some of our favorite moments from 2014—

“My favorite THSM moment was on our Houston Engage trip at the apartment of a Congolese family getting to experience three people come to know the Lord. Knowing that our students were instrumental in their salvation was unbelievable. I truly believe God birthed a missional heart in many of our kids on that trip. There was tremendous brokenness and boldness from every single student on that trip.”-Cory Butler

“My favorite moment(s) of 2014 would have to be every single Switch!!! We saw nearly 700 total students attend Switch this fall and so many of them brought guests! I love seeing students get excited about the gospel to the point where they want their friends to hear about it too. This is exactly what happened at Switch! Every guest means someone who normally wouldn’t get to hear the Gospel proclaimed gets the opportunity to hear it boldly preached. I love it!”-Thomas Seith

“My favorite time of 2014 with THSM is the time spent with our highschoolers at The Gathering! It was a smaller setting and seemed to be more inviting for our students to open up and take part in community on a whole new level. We also spent a month focusing on missions, which was a really special time for all of us. The Lord used this to open students’ eye to see that this is real life, we are all called to missions, and what our role in this looks like as believers.”-Lauren Brewer

“My favorite moment in THSM happened at Beach Camp. The first moment is from Wednesday night when Neil opened up the night for students to respond. The Spirit moved like crazy, bringing confession, repentance from sin, reconciliation, and salvation. Then the second moment was on the last night when we were singing “Jesus is Better,” and you could tangibly feel the adoration of and desperation for Jesus in that room. The transformation that has continued to happen since then has been just as cool to watch!”-Mollie Tyler

“My favorite moment of 2014 was physically watching God expand our high school students’ worldview on the Houston Mission Trip.”-Bo Behenna

“My favorite moments of 2014 happened throughout the year when we saw our students pursue relationships, conversations and people in the name of Jesus and the gospel. Students have started small groups in their homes, are sharing the gospel with their sports teams, and are finding their identity in Jesus. All of our other events happen so things like this can happen. Our goal is to make disciples who make disciples- and that is happening here. It is an incredible thing I am thankful the Lord has allowed me to be a part of.”-Sarah Renfro

Here are some things that we are looking forward to for 2015—

“I’m not sure if there is one thing in particular, as much as praying for the Kingdom to continue to come. I still believe our best days are ahead. I want to see kids get saved and learn to follow Jesus, not just go to church. I want to see kids surrender their future to what Jesus wants. I want to watch leaders grasp true discipleship with their small group of students. I want God to do more than we all dream for. I want to see a movement of God come out of THSM that will impact THBC and the community. The world is in Richardson, I am excited to see what goes down when we go to them for the glory of God. Not to mention, I love this team and just love serving along side them all.”-Cory Butler

“I am looking forward to Chi Alpha 2015. I absolutely love this weekend because it takes place in our own church and in the homes of families who are members here. It is an amazing thing to see gospel change happen our own home turf. I am looking forward to showing our students that the kingdom of God is right here in Richardson, TX.”-Thomas Seith

“It would have to be camp! Camp is going to look different this year because we are changing locations. I’m excited for our students to experience this. Camp is such a great time for our students to take a week free of their usual distractions and focus on the Lord. Getting to walk through that with them at camp, and continue to do so when we get back home, is priceless.”-Lauren Brewer

“I am looking forward to so many things, but our Engage trips over spring break and during the summer are definitely at the top of the list! I am excited to see the Lord open students’ eyes to see the vastness of how He God is working around the world and for students to begin to understand the unique role He has given them in the building of His Kingdom wherever they go. I can’t wait to see how He uses the trainings and the time on the trips to set hearts ablaze with passion for living boldly in Christ.”-Mollie Tyler

“In 2015, I am most excited to see more students realize the life changing identity they have in the Gospel and witness more students enjoy Jesus for the first time.”-Bo Behenna

“I am excited to see the Lord to continue to bring real life change here at The Heights. It is our desire to see our students understand that Jesus is better and realize the life and identity that they have access to in Jesus.”-Sarah Renfro

The Lord moved and did big things in 2014 and we don’t expect anything less for 2015. We are excited to link arms with you as we walk into this new year, seeking Jesus more and more and asking for Him to continue building His Kingdom here. 

What are you highlights from 2014? What are you most looking forward to in 2015? We’d love to hear your responses and comments!