Nick Person is our new Next Generation Speaking Pastor. He's buff, he's falling in love with Tex-Mex, and he's an all around good dude. Learn more about the Nick in our interview below.
Lets talk about the Early Days - What was your upbringing?
I was born and raised north of Atlanta, Georgia. In my family, I had an older half-sister, an older half-brother, my older brother, and then we also had my little brother so there was five of us. Growing up I was the peacemaker in the house. I didn't like strife or conflict or anything like that, so I typically found myself trying to mend all the issues of my siblings even though I was the younger one most of the time.
Growing up both of my parents were Christian; my mom more so than my dad. My dad would go and support whatever my mom was doing., but kind of did is own thing. My mom was very adamant about us going to church being apart of the body. She taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, she kind of did it all: her resume at the church was full. Some of my most fond memories are of church and being at church things.
As I got older, you know my parents had issues like everybody's parents do. I guess when I got to high school, you get the sense that maybe it was more than just the average problems with your parents. They were a little more transparent with their issues with each other and I think I was nineteen is when they start walking towards divorce. Which, you’re never old enough for your parents to get divorced. My mom moved to Indiana with my younger brother and that really was a scar. You know, if I go back to it, you have those moments in your life where you go “that was a scar,” I learned a lot, but it was very painful.
Then my mom past away some years after that and my wife and I got married. Right after that my little brother came to live with us. Which was awkward. We were newly weds raising a teenager, but we tried not to screw him up too bad. We had a hard time with that and went to a counselor to seek some help. Everybody says counseling is good for you until you have to go. Then you feel like the weirdo. But it really was one of the best things we could have ever done. I feel like if we didn’t go to counseling we probably would’ve ended up not being together in all honesty.
tell us about your wife and kids?
Laura and I have been married for almost ten years. I definitely married up. She’s out of my league and she’ll tell you that.
We have three kids. We have Eva Grace who is six going on thirty, we have Jackson who is five and he’s crazy, and then we have an 11-month-old named Nash who is just a happy kid. They’re awesome; they’re all really way cooler than I am, but I’m blessed by my family. They’ve been troopers in the whole ministry thing.
Where were you before Cross Timbers?
At my first church, I worked there for ten years, so thats not normal in youth-ministry-world, so to be there for ten years I was like the old guy. I would go to a meeting and people would be like “how long have you been at your church?” I’d be like eight years. They are like “Really? You’re old,” and like I know right.
After that I went to work at a church called Long Hollow in Tennessee. I worked there for three years and I did high school at first then transitioned to college and young adults and also began to teach more on Sunday in the main services. That was really cool and I really saw it as a God thing.
Then coming to Cross Timbers, you know there are moments where you go Lord are you in this, but with with the transition to Cross Timbers God made it very apparent. He didn’t leave anything to doubt, it was very clear: like here you go I'm opening a door, you haven't done anything. And the fact that when Toby and I met for the first time there really was this sense that we get each other. I mean, I immediately began to make fun of him and he did the same of course. There really was a knitting of hearts. So we just started walking on that journey and it is matched up with how Laura and I have been praying it so we just came. Which was crazy.
How is Texas so far?
Coming to Texas to me everything is bigger and better in Texas from what I hear. In Texas theres a “we're proud of who we are” kind of swagger. Which is cool.
I used to think that people were joking when they would say “you know we'll just secede from the union and become our own the nation if we need to.” I used to think Texans were joking about that but, the more I hangout with Texas the more I believe you all really might at one point go “we’ll just be our own country. It's cool.”
What exactly is your role at Cross Timbers?
My role is to share the teaching burden with Toby, so that we can both be more effective communicators and speakers. Toby really feels like Cross Timbers needs another voice to speak life and be a part of the body. Toby was praying for someone to reduce the burden and I knew that God was calling me to be a teaching pastor, so we were both praying for the same thing.
Another part of my role is to pour into college and young adults and to help the Next Gen team. I will come alongside them and help spark some new ideas. Not because I have all the answers, but because I’ve been working with students / youth for most of my ministry.
I will also work with the college and young adult demographic. The majority of churches ignore this age group, because there isn’t a lot of return on them. They can be flaky. they’re here sometimes and not sometimes, but they’re also making the most important decisions of their life, so its good to guide them. I want them to know that God loves them, but they can’t be an idiot. If you are being an idiot then don’t be one consistently. I love college and young adults, because I think I can be real with them and relate to them. So I’m gonna pour into them, especially where we are located with so many in students in Denton.
What are you excited about for CT?
I’m excited to engage the young adult / college culture. But not by just doing something really cool thats just for them, because the gospel is for everybody not just young adults. So I’m looking forward to bringing them into the whole body and encouraging them to invest and to be apart of the church. The Lord needs you, so we need you.
Also, being a part of a body that is reaching hurting and broken people. There is nothing better than seeing someone who was in darkness having those scales fall of their eyes and saying “wait a minute - God loves me where I am, but loves me too much to leave me here and he desires for me to be a part of his body. I have an invitation from a king to be a part of his kingdom.”
And finally having a body where my kids can grow and build deep relationships. I hate moving. I don’t want to be a guy who says I have ten good sermons, so when those are up I gotta go somewhere else. I want to be somewhere I can put down roots and grow and be challenged and see God get the credit for it.
If you would have asked me this question two months ago, I would’ve said BBQ ribs, sweet potatoes, a really good burger. Which I still love those things, but since moving to Texas I’m getting on the Tex-Mex train. Give me a good shrimp taco and I’ll be your friend forever.
The book that is whooping my tail is a book by Paul David Tripp called “Dangerous Calling.” He writes it specifically to pastors but the truth in it really relates to everyone. He’s just calling pastors to not only speak truth and life to the church, but also to accept the truth from the Gospel as well and to be able to life a life alongside people and not feel like you have to stand on this false pedestal and have it all together. Just because you’re in ministry doesn’t mean you have arrived at in the sanctification process. Me and Jesus are not the exact same yet.
One of my favorite books, and its a children’s book, is a book by Shel Silverstein called “The Giving Tree.” I just think thats a picture of being selfless and not expecting anything in return. We give because Christ gave his all for us, so we really don’t have an excuse not to. What I love is hear is this tree that gives its trunk, it gives its limbs, it gives its leaves, it gives its fruit, and it doesn’t ask for anything in return. At the end of the day when this little boy has become and old man and he says “I just want to sit with you” and the tree says “all I have to give to you is a seat.” I would love to see us as a body of believers say “Im going to give and give and not expect anything in return, because we know that love always has a great return. I love that book and its one I always go back to.
What to you do when you’re not being pastor nick?
Wrestling with Jackson, because he’s like a ninja and sneak attacks me all day long
Taking my wife on a date. Because I like her and so its always good spending time with her Going to new places and checking out new restaurants.
Hanging with the family, going to a good movie. I like sports, so I love going to baseball or football games. Reading a good book. Just enjoying life and living it up in my married with three kids kind of way.
I don’t like to run, but I do it anyways because you should. Every step in running is done reluctantly and with a bad attitude, but one day I will run a marathon and finally whoop running then probably never run again.
If you're feeling ambitious and want to listen to the audio recording of our conversation with Nick then feel free to dive in below. Fair warning its a bit long and was recorded on an iPhone in a crowded coffee shop.