Never Say Never

(This post was written by Caroline Ervin, Membership Director)

There is a topic of conversation within the church that I continue to hear across many circles that sounds something like this:

I know someone at my work that needs help paying their bills, we should help them!” or
I know someone in our small group that can’t provide for their children, we should help them!” or
There are so many in Haiti and Nashville that need our help, we should help them.

The more I have tuned into these conversations, I’m starting to realize that the “we” to which they are referring is the church organization. They don’t think they should be the one to help provide the resources for that help or that they should be the ones to go spread that message of hope, but it should be done by the organization.

I want to challenge you to ask, ”What if God revealed that family with a need or that information about a country in need because He actually wanted you to be the one to help them or you to be the one to help spread that message across the world?” It’s so much easier and more comfortable to pass the responsibility on to someone else.

I can speak from experience, because for years, this was me. I can vividly remember conversations I had with my boyfriend (now husband, Brad Ervin) in college as we would discuss traveling on mission trips or even thinking about being missionaries. I would quickly respond by telling him, “God has definitely not called me to go on a mission trip to even go visit and definitely not to move half way across the world. He would never call me to do that, and I just won’t go.” Little did I know that to say never to God is the most dangerous and humorous phrase you can utter.

Fast forward to 2006. I have just come on staff as the Membership Director at Faith Promise and just a few months into being full-time, Josh Whitehead comes to me and says, “We have spot open on our mission trip to Thailand. I think you should go, and I need you to go!” I said I would pray about it, knowing full well God would not call me on that trip (that left in only eight weeks). I begged God not to make me go. I begged Him to break a bone so I couldn’t go. I even prayed to get really sick. Yet all the while I knew I was going to go on that trip. If it isn’t already obvious, I was not looking forward to it at all. The day I was supposed to tell Josh whether I was going or not, the last line of the book from my quiet time read, “Have you ever considered going to a foreign country and sharing the gospel in another language?” Ouch! If that isn’t blatant confirmation, then I don’t know what is.

That trip changed my life forever. God opened my heart and showed me a new love for Him and for His people that I would have always missed out on had I not stepped out of my comfort zone and traveled to the other side of the world to experience it. Since then, I have traveled to Macau, China, and Cape Town, South Africa three times. We just returned from Africa about a week ago, and I am begging my husband to sell all our possessions and move our family to Cape Town, South Africa to serve as missionaries.

I want to share my story because maybe you have told God, “I will never go on a mission trip!” or “I would never be able to give up my own money to help someone else in need.” I want to encourage you to be willing and open to God asking you to do something out of your comfort zone. He may have placed that situation, family, or trip into your path because He wants to work in your life and reveal Himself to you in a way that is unlike anything you have ever experienced. You just have to be willing to say “Yes!” And also, to never say never.

There and Back Again

(This post was written by Brad Ervin, Pastor of Outreach and Missions)

Hello Faith Promise Family!

Over the last few months, Faith Promise has had the privilege of sending short term mission teams all over the world – Thailand, Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, South Africa, Portugal, and more! It’s been a huge blessing for me to see how God is using the overflow of Faith Promise to share love to hearts all over the world. I have personally had the great joy of being a part of two of these mission teams – Haiti and South Africa. In both countries I’ve witnessed some of the most horrific living conditions imaginable. I’ve likened the area in Haiti to a garbage dump with a city on top of it … and the townships in South Africa aren’t much better. However, as I have reflected on both of the these trips, God’s voice has shared some really impactful truths with me.

1. He is ALL we need. That statement is an easy throw-away phrase for most American Christians, but when you are in an environment and a culture where they truly don’t have anything material, and yet you see joy and peace in the lives of the people there, you know it is TRUE! The abundant life that Christ speaks of in John 10:10 can (and should) be had regardless of circumstances! There are rarely moments as a believer in Jesus more humbling than having someone with no home, no health, and no job, praying God’s blessing on YOU! But that is the beauty of our faith … we are all part of the same family, brothers and sisters in Christ.

2. He is THERE in the midst of crisis. It is very easy to look at places where the economic, health, and living conditions are in shambles, and ask “Where are You, God?!” I’ve got to be honest, that has been me on more than one occasion. But as I continue on this journey of love and grace, I begin to see with different eyes, and suddenly, I realize He is there in the center of all the pain. In Haiti, I see believers come together and share their homes and food with each other. I see an 80-year old missionary who has been giving her life away to Haitians for generations still faithful each day to teach young women about God’s love for them. In South Africa I come across community pastors who have a passion for seeing the souls of their towns enriched, with no regard to monetary riches or blessings. I look with my “new” eyes, and realize that God is working out His perfect will unceasingly in all of these “forgotten” areas. I see Christ followers in the darkest of all these places with a peace that defies logic and a love for others that can only come on a direct line from Jesus. I know that I may never understand why God allows some people to live with such excess and others in complete poverty, but I know I can trust that He loves both unconditionally and He is walking with us all through all circumstances.

3. Jesus loves YOU. This is has been the theme that God has been repeatedly echoing in my life over the last few months and it was so cool to see that same message being shared in all these other lands. In Haiti, the first words I heard spoken from the orphans I was talking to was, “Jesus loves you.” In Africa, from the stage at Hillsong Church, the main theme of the evening we visited was “Jesus loves you.” What a powerful message! No matter what you’ve done, who you’ve hurt, how you’ve messed up, or what you are even doing right now…HE LOVES YOU! Actually, He loves you just as much now as He ever will! You can’t do anything to change that all consuming, one-way love that He has for you! And because He loves you, He wants to know you and walk through all of life’s good and bad times with you. I know that I can trust that even though I’m not still there to hug the orphans, or to encourage the local pastors, or even to feed the hungry.  I know that our Father loves them and will take care of them.

There are going to be some amazing opportunities for you to join Faith Promise in a short term mission trip next year! Make sure you check the missions page on the Faith Promise website for the latest news on these trips and how to get involved. I would especially encourage you to begin praying now about where God would have you go and start saving your pennies so you can say YES to the right opportunity!

Helping Families in Knoxville


The weekend of August 7 & 8 is our “Back to School Backpack” supply collection weekend. We will collect school supplies to share with local children who are in need. Please bring new backpacks, glue sticks, crayons and pencils. These items can be dropped off in the designated area of the Lobby.

Let’s Fill Up Some Backpacks!

This is the time of year when many families start gathering school supplies – backpacks, paper, glue, pencils and more.  For many in the Mechanicsville/Western Heights area of Knoxville, buying pencils and paper is a luxury that their children have to do without.  Eighty percent of residents of the Western Heights housing projects are single mothers with little to no income.

The good news is Faith Promise is partnering with an awesome ministry, Water Angels, to help out these families.  On Saturday and Sunday, August 7/8, Faith Promise will collect school supplies at a table outside the main entrance to the Worship Center. Please bring new backpacks, glue sticks, crayons and pencils.

If you’d like to be a part of the give-a-way party, it will take place on Saturday, August 14th, at Water Angels.

Thanks in advance for your generosity!  If you have any questions, you can email