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4624 Old Canton Road Jackson, MS 39211, -Worship Sunday's at 10:30 am-

Hunter Poole

Stories

Hunter

Introducing Hunter Poole

Tell us a little bit about you and your family.

 

I am Hunter Poole and I am from right up the road in Ridgeland, MS. I was the first class to go all 4-years at Ridgeland High School, and after graduation, in 2006, I went to Mississippi State University; Hail State. I graduated in 2010 with a degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology. I love coffee, being outdoors, reading, running, fishing, playing ultimate frisbee, and watching/listening/attending as many Mississippi State sporting events as possible.

I started working at Camp Rockmont for Boys in Black Mountain, NC during the summers when I was in college and fell in love with hiking in the mountains, whitewater kayaking, and my wife! Kaylie and I met, fell in love, got engaged, and got married (all at different times) all at camp! We have been married since April 11, 2015 and have been living outside of Asheville since then. We have a nine year old dog named Emmy, and two cats; Sam and Buckwheat.

Kaylie is originally from all over; but claims Georgia. She is a Georgia Bulldogs and Atlanta Braves fan and has played soccer for most of her life. She loves to craft things and refurbish furniture. She is currently in school for Occupational Therapy Assistant and is one of the most kind and compassionate people I know. She has a heart for missions and serving others, and we are both excited about the work God is doing, and will do, through the faithful servants at Bellwether.

What brings you to Bellwether?

 

In September of 2014 I was well on my way to medical school; I was actually about 2 weeks away from taking the MCAT. I had been having really bad test anxiety during my studies and decided to take a solo hike to the top of a mountain. It was there that God gave me the nudge to come and follow him, and the peace to forego medical school and to pursue full-time ministry.

The last two years have been a wild ride! I have been working as the Assistant Manager at an outdoors store in Asheville, NC while pursuing where God was calling me to in ministry. Many doors were opened and many doors were closed. I got my hopes up and was discouraged numerous times. However, it was through this time of waiting that God worked in my life in a very powerful way – teaching me to trust in his timing, to lean into where he had placed me for the season, and glorify him in all that I do even when I didn’t want to be there or to do what he has called me to do.

I knew God had called me to use my story of how he had saved me and brought me out of the life I was living to reach the next generation; and selfishly I missed being on a college campus so I narrowed all of my ministry opportunity searches to only college campus ministries. God quickly frustrated those small, narrow-minded plans of mine and passionately busted my heart wide-open for reaching youth before they get to college. Through a random set of phone calls, my best friend asked if he could give my name to this pastor and church that neither of us had heard of. I said sure, what could it hurt? And from the first 15-minute conversation that John Hugh and I had, I knew in my heart that God was doing something big at Bellwether and that he may be calling me to be a part of it. This position was completely off of my radar at the time but I put a blank check on the table with God and asked him to fill it out and I would obey. Kaylie and I walked away from each step of the process feeling completely at peace that God was leading us to be a part of what he is doing at Bellwether.

What will your role be?

 

Officially, my title is Youth Leader. My role, however, will be to be a friend and mentor to the next generation at Bellwether. I will strive to be a part of their everyday lives, meeting them at extracurricular activities, hosting game nights and other fun events, and just plain and simply, doing life with them. I long for the next generation at Bellwether to find their true identity in Christ alone. I want the next generation at Bellwether to be firmly rooted in gospel truth and to know how study God’s word and how to pray and how to be accountable in a small group. I long to see a revival spread in the city of Jackson from the prayers of our young people. I want to challenge the next generation at Bellwether to live counter culturally based solely on the gospel; but I want to also challenge them to love unconditionally based solely on the gospel as well. I also want to challenge the next generation to leverage their blessings, their talents, their free time, their education, and their future careers for the advancement of the gospel to the ends of the earth. We are called to more than just paying bills, retiring, and expiring.

Can you give us a quick testimony of your walk with Christ?

 

I grew up going to church and claiming to be a Christian; when in reality I basically took out an insurance policy with God, a “Get Out of Hell Free” card if you will. I said a prayer, which meant I was saved, which meant I was now free to do whatever I wanted. My identity was very fluid; I could be whoever/whatever anybody wanted me to be or do whatever they needed me to do, so long as I was accepted and liked. I was very privileged and I had my life under complete control. And then God sent a wake up call and broke me and showed me just how in control I truly was.

For two years I battled an autoimmune disease that was excruciatingly painful and mentally and emotionally draining. Because of the disease I was forced to stop competing in power-lifting. I slipped into some major depression and battled it with loneliness and alcoholic tendencies. I had lost all control of my life and all of my identity as I knew it.

On March 31, 2013, God grabbed hold of my heart, wrestled me into an Easter evening service in my pajamas, and picked me up and held this broken-hearted sinner in his arms. I relinquished all control of my life to God that evening and let his redeeming mercy and grace create a new heart in me. Prior to that evening I was perfectly content in having Christ as my Savior however, he demanded to be my LORD and Savior.

God has given me a new identity in Christ. He has given me hope in depression. He replaced loneliness with an intimacy that no woman, not even my wife, could fill. He changed my desires from sex, alcohol, money, fun, and status to knowing him more intimately, seeing him glorified among all of the nations, and for his mighty love to be known. Christ derailed every plan that I had; I lost all control, and I was not ok with that. But each day, Christ reminds me that he is in better control than I could ever be, and that His glory is better than the best that I could ever imagine.

My life is not perfect and easy; it has not been devoid of hardships and heartaches since Christ saved me. I am not perfect and I never will be in this life. But I have hope in the promises of a mighty and gracious Savior! I have a father who runs after me, scoops me in his arms, lovingly embraces me and brings me back to him. I have hope and joy and new life in Christ my risen king!

What are you most passionate about?

 

-Loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

-Taking the gospel to our city.

-Taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.

-Leveraging our lives for the gospel.

-Living with a blank check on the table for the Lord.

-Living and loving counter culturally, rooted in the gospel.

-Racial reconciliation.

-Seeing the Holy Spirit igniting the now and next generations!

-Doing life together and growing in small discipleship groups.

Who has been the most influential person in your walk with Christ?

 

Two men have been extremely influential in my walk with Christ and have helped to shape man that I am today: Dan Davis and David Platt.

Dan Davis is the director at Camp Rockmont for Boys where I spent the summers working in college. Over the years he became more of mentor than a boss. He challenged me when I thought I knew it all and had it all under control. He let me fail and then talked it out with me. He taught me what grace is and how to continue on your journey when you make a false step. He taught me to “stay where your feet are” but also how to “just say yes”. He taught me how to sit and be ok with silence; and how to be ok with and bring my mind back when it wanders. Dan also taught me five hard truths about life that I am constantly reminded of: life is hard, your life is not about you, you are not in control, you are not that important, and you’re going to die. He taught me to listen to others well, even though I may not agree with their views, and to respond well to them with love.

David Platt was the pastor at the church that I attended to when God radically changed my life and redeemed me. David faithfully preached the gospel with both truth and grace, and helped walk me through the questions and doubts that I had. He got me plugged into a small group of guys who discipled me deeply, asking me hard questions and encouraging me in failures and in victories. David’s passion for the world and his vision for seeing the gospel reach every tongue, tribe and nation was so contagious that the Holy Spirit has laid that as a burden on my heart as well.

What are you most looking forward to?

 

Mississippi State beating Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.

 

No, but really – I am pumped to see how God is going to use the youth of Bellwether to make a huge impact; not only in Jackson, but in the world! I feel the Holy Spirit on the cusp with these students and with these families and great things are happening, and greater things are to come! I would love to see us reach out to our neighbors even more and for Bellwether to be characterized by such a radical gospel that the Jackson Metro area can’t help but notice God moving and working! I am looking forward to seeing, and being a part of, the Holy Spirit spreading like a wildfire and uniting hearts in Jackson like they have never been united before!