Meet John & Kim Russ | Vista Host Team Volunteers

Meet John & Kim Russ | Vista Host Team Volunteers

We believe strongly that serving others is a part of how we worship. Therefore, we contacted the Vista Connections Team to ask about serving. The Connections Coordinator was excited to have us sign up as and offered to meet with us. What we didn’t expect and what was so new to us was to be asked where we felt led to serve, what we felt our spiritual gifts were, and how we thought they could be used best.

Introducing: Community Pastor Nick Followwell

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Name:  Nick Followwell
Vista Job Title:  Community Pastor
Hometow
n:  Brownwood, TX

We recently sat down with Nick to ask a few questions to help you -- the Vista Family -- to get to know him a little better! We hope you find time to connect with Nick in the near future!

// TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF
I was born and raised in good ole’ Brownwood, TX, as the youngest of three boys. I spent my summers playing baseball, fighting for survival, and having a blast on Lake Brownwood. 

In 2007, I moved to College Station where I met my beautiful and amazing wifeLacie. We later married in 2009. After a couple of years of marriage, we moved to Temple. Our biggest blessing came in the summer of 2014 when our daughter, Ellis, was born.

We were in a pretty fragile place when we started attending Vista, but we found a small group that over the course of three years became our closest friends. They helped walk us through some really hard times, and they became a constant source of encouragement...so much so that I felt called to ministry to help people find the life-giving community that our family found.

In December 2015, we moved to Oklahoma City so I could serve as a small groups pastor at Life.Church. A few months ago, God started to stir our hearts to come back “home”.  We are so excited to be a part of Vista, and we look forward to all God is going to do in and through this church in the years to come!

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// WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WATCHING ON NETFLIX? 
The Office…again :)


// YOUR TOP READS
When People Are Big and God Is Small by Edward T Welch, The entire Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva, Prayer by Tim Keller.


// FIRST JOB - STRUGGLES AND ALL
Women’s shoe department at Dillard’s. Nasty feet > commission.

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// FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD
In the backyard with friends and family


// FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD AFTER A STRESSFUL WEEK
Crab Cake Benedict from Megg’s


// WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?
Crab Cake Benedict from Megg’s…kidding!  Seeing people realize how beautiful/necessary it is to follow Jesus alongside other people. Life is better together!
 

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// TOP 3 THINGS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST
- Watch Barcelona vs Real Madrid in Spain
- Extended vacation to ancient cities in Europe and Israel
- Baptizing my daughter


// MOST EMBARRASSING STORY
The time I tried to unscrew a shattered light bulb with electricity still running through it… It’s hard to describe the sound that came out of my mouth. Supposedly Lacie knows and is happy to demonstrate.

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// WHAT MOST EXCITES YOU ABOUT JOINING THE VISTA TEAM?
I’d say reconnecting with all the people who played such a vital role in shaping our walk with Christ. Vista has such a unique and rich community of people that know how to love well! I have to pinch myself to remind me that we are back home! 

Beyond that, I’m grateful that I get to play a part in helping others find the live-giving community that happens when a small group of people meet together consistently.

Explaining Communion to Your Kids

Explaining Communion to Your Kids

This week is when we remember and celebrate the cornerstone of our faith - Jesus’s death and resurrection. We remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross on Good Friday. We take communion as a way to remember the sacrifice of Jesus, and we also know that communion is intended to be taken by those who have made a decision to follow Jesus. This can cause a bit of an awkward (and confusing!) moment for kids who wonder why they don’t get a mid-service snack like everyone else! So what do you do? How do you explain the purpose of communion to your kid who doesn’t fully understand what it means to follow Jesus yet?

The Way: Recap

The Way: Recap

It was a great weekend at The Way! Overall, 13 churches in the Central Texas area were represented by approximately 700 students as well as college and adult leaders! Sessions were held in the chapel on the UMHB campus. Vista sent 102 students, had 9 host homes, and utilized 22 college leaders. David Marvin was our speaker and spoke on what it means to be a follower of Chris, and Aric Harding led worship.

The Struggle is Real

Technology can be great.  There are Bible apps and great information easily accessible.  I took college courses online and saved all my written lectures.  You can interact with friends and encourage and pray for one another.  There are awesome parts about technology.  But, like most anything, what can be used for good, can also be used for bad.

Remembering Billy Graham

Remembering Billy Graham

There’s no doubt Billy Graham’s preaching had an impact on millions of people.  He was known as “America’s Pastor” for the better part of the past century.  As the media reflected on Rev. Graham’s life and legacy this week, the focus was mostly on the large crowds of people he attracted and the fact that he was a friend and counselor to many U.S. presidents (both Republican and Democrat).  But as a pastor, there are some other things that really stand out to me about his life; things that I want to imitate in my own life and preaching.

Partnering with Family Promise

One way that Vista seeks to love and care for those who are homeless in our area is by partnering with Family Promise of East Bell County. Family Promise operates in order to “help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response”. Their efforts help to move homeless families from a position of dependency to sustainability.