Tag Archives: @longhollow

the voice, the voice and the voice.

i love three things called “the voice” right now. 



1 – a new version of the Bible called THE VOICE – once you read this, you’ll see why I am loving it so much.

“Through a collaboration of nearly 120 biblical scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and artists, The Voice recaptures the passion, grit, humor, and beauty that is often lost in the translation process. The result is a retelling of the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works yet painstakingly true to the original manuscripts.”


2 – The VOICE tv show

I am loving the new coaches, and the spirit of camraderie and mutual respect among all 4 coaches is a relief. I was always so uncomfortable with the unkindness that seemed to be thrown around when the last girl judge was in the mix. 

the artists are spectacular already, and it just gets you excited for them, as you see these accomplished musicians, blake shelton, adam levine, shakira, and usher getting excited about helping them.  it really is a highlight of the week.


3 – but most importantly. God’s voice. This week more than most weeks, God is vocal and prevalent. Christians are bolder in inviting people to join them for church. Billboards, signs, songs about the Christ who came to save us are everywhere. The gospel is the theme of the week. The crucifixion is center stage, the resurrection is the evidence of prophecy fulfilled and proof that the other promises of heaven are real. 

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cream of the crop.

wow. so wednesday nights aren’t easy. kids are tired and worn out from school… parents are rushing to get their kids to church, so they can go to church. but when i tell you that anyone who isn’t bending over backwards to get their kids to trek at long hollow right now… is crazy. because it is ridiculous. ridiculously amazing.

literally multiple times during the evening and on thursday, emmy (my beloved assistant) and i marvel at God’s goodness. as we watch Carol lead the choir… dang! she makes music fun, exciting, and hopping.

as we listen to the men (matt malone and ryan hubbard) who are teaching the bible study lessons … we are just grateful that God doesnt see wednesday night as a second thought. he is bringing the cream of the crop together to create memorable evenings together.

here is one of our teachers: matt malone, teaching kids how to share the truth of the Bible: (i shot this on sunday where he teaches the 4-5th graders, but you get the idea) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JydjtIGhiWc&feature=g-upl

then… we have BEN for worship. again… God’s best for his lhkidz. this college student drives an hour round trip each week to spend an hour leading our kids in authentic worship. this week he was out of town and our uber talented media specialist stepped up to lead and that too was amazing.

seriously grateful that God has been so gracious and abundant in our wednesday night stuff. the time kids spend with us, is well spent. it is worthy. that, is the goal. the purpose. the dream.

what area of your life can you see that God has given abundantly when something less would’ve been passable?

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it’s been a crazy amazing summer so far…

lhkidz interns and more

t emmy, hunter, jason, steven, casey and beau ready for vbs

this summer has been amazing. this team of interns (and my assistant emmy hendricks and cohort Jason Underhill… not pictured-sharon, jason’s assistant) has been incredible.

working tirelessly to pull off a kidz camp and kidz vbs within 3 weeks has been an “in the trenches” effort. the way that vbs has been going, has taught me a great lesson… working ahead is crucial.

because of the prep work we did for both events in the beginning of the summer, we have been able to focus on the little details and have an excellent experience for all involved. every minute we spent in preparation, is a minute that we can spend absorbing the moment with the kids and volunteers.

the other great thing… everyone likes each other and is FOR each other. when you are on a team that is FOR each other, then everything feels like a worthy experience. when you are cutting felt ears for 1700 sock donkey puppets (that’s 3400 ears, friends) with people you love, it feels like a hang out. when schlepping boxes and boxes out of a truck in 113 degree heat… it’s a bonding experience. do everything you can to surround yourself with people you love to be with. it makes everything better.

i’m honored to work with this group of people. grateful for a church that cares enough about kids to provide as many ways as we possibly can to teach them the truth of the bible. overwhelmed with the goodness of God in his kindness to us this summer with this special time.

if you asked my team if they know how i feel… i trust they would tell you yes. i believe they would tell you that they know how valued they are, what i love about each of them and what they have been able to add to their resume this summer. that’s been the goal… provide an environment that helps them love the church, love being part of things that have eternal value, grow as workers and believers, and laugh a whole lot. the work has been hard, and we are all tired, but we have a happy exhaustion in knowing that it has all been worth every minute.

if one person… one child… has a life that is changed forever… i know that each of us would gladly cut out 3,400 more ears.

what are you doing today that has eternal value?

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what’s so great about camp, anyway.

lhkidz camp – road trip experience – experiencing God

we’ve been calling families for two solid days to invite them to lhkidz camp.

i wish i could speak to each and every person myself and share the importance of camp with them… but that is simply not possible. i thought i would share here, so i can hash out how i really feel, share it with you and hopefully encourage people to make an eternal investment in their kids.

i’m going to give some bullet points, but here is my succint emotional appeal and belief:

Going away with church friends takes relationships at church to a whole new level. It allows kids to have conversations about God that they normally would never have. It allows them to hang out with kids they don’t normally see in class because they might be at a different hour or different campus. Camp is about eternal relationships. It gives kids the greatest opportunity to find those forever friends they might have missed. It is safe. There is no team, no sports camp, no lesson you can sign your kid up for that will give them more of eternal value in such a short time.

I really don’t want any kid to miss the infusion in their heart, that camp provides.

personally… my kids are still connected to the people that they met in camp, their small group leaders, the kids in their cabin. it’s a marker in their lives. personally, i have my own fond memories from camp… don’t you?

consider these things:

-camp is a place that they get away from electronics, couchsitting, television and the distractions fall away allowing them to focus differently on friends, fun and God.

-camp is where the things of the church, the gospel get to come alive and be seen as FUN.

-at camp you get to spend quality time with friends, and you make new friends… you see people differently when they are sweating next to you, or singing next to you.

-at camp you meet adults that love Jesus enough to spend the week with you, more role models, more people to connect with when you get back to church.

-at camp you get to be messy. and loud. and artistic. and creative. and you get to laugh.

-at camp you get to really know pastor jason, me, and the rest of our team.

common reasons people say no:

1 – i don’t have the money.

ok, i hear you on that. the thing is, there are scholarship opportunities and other options like Kroger Cares dollars. the bottom line is we don’t want your kid to miss camp because of money, so let’s see if we can get you some help.

2 – my child doesn’t want to be away from me. (also read: “i don’t want my child to be away from me”)

here’s the thing, there are lots of things we do for and with our kids that aren’t their first choice or what they thought they wanted. we don’t let them stay up all night or eat only junkfood, because we know best. we see the big picture.

don’t let fear stop you from doing something for your child that might be the richest thing they can do, spiritually speaking, all summer.

i just don’t want your kids to miss out. that’s all.




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i’m drinking from the saucer

when my friend ashley had her third child, i asked “how ya doing?”

her reply “i’m drinking from the saucer.”


she said her cup was so overflowing that she was drinking from the saucer.


that’s how i felt last night after our UP IN MY TREEHOUSE musical.

i was drinking from the saucer.

after months of practice and preparation, of songs and motions the choir delivered. the kids were so good.

after months and months of practice, filming, editing, the actors delivered. the narrative part of the show was touching and poignant, and such a blessing.

as part of our program, we had mustache-on-a-sticks and kazoos.

i made a deal with the choir on the front end that if they didn’t misuse their prop, or use it at the wrong time… they could keep it when we were done. everyone got to keep their props.

the songs were great.

one of the songs, i got to co-write with curt campbell. jeremy brown produced the song. alex shot a music video for us. the whole thing was a blast from beginning to end. you can get a free download of our song here: http://www.longhollow.com/articles/read/800

the other songs are a group of brilliantly written songs from the SLUGS & BUGS UNDER WHERE? album. songs like Mexican Rhapsody and Ninja got a strong response.

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when claps are a good thing


i have been wanting to write a song…

i called my friend curt campbell. we met while i was directing a school talent show and he was playing guitar for his daughter. we talked about songwriting and he wrote a song for me for last summer’s vbs. this time, i asked if he wanted to write a song with me. i wanted a song about a treehouse for our spring musical… and to use in our treehouses during the weekend worship experiences. i wanted something acoustic-y, earthy, organic.

I’ve talked before about God’s kindnesses to me. This was a big one. Not only did I get to write a song with Curt… but we got to produce the song tonite. It was magical. I wasn’t sure how the producing was going to happen… then i went to Haiti. While I was in Haiti I got to know Jeremy Brown… one of our long hollow team members who was along to be the audio engineer on a new singing project that Gerald has with the orphans. I’ve known Jeremy, of course, because we work together… but I had no idea the big bag of talents he was carrying around inside. I learned that he produces songs at his dad’s studio in Goodlettsville.

I shared the song with him and asked if he would produce the song… he shared it with his dad… who happens to be Jim “Moose” Brown, known for a little song he wrote called “5 o’clock somewhere” as well as playing keys on many country artists’ records (brad paisley, jamey johnson… the list goes on and on) and he can play a ton of other instruments, as well. His dad agreed to play for our record. (is it called a record?).

the night was full of wonderful surprises. Curt played two acoustic guitars. Jeremy played the drums and tambourine. Moose played the keys, guitar, mandolin. Josh played the bass, another electric guitar and came up with a great hook for the song. It was unbelievable to watch them navigate the studio and the instruments. It was a beautiful ballet of motion wrapped in a cloud of kindness. The mellow vibe, and the way this family interacts with each other is a lesson in love. The encouragement for each other was constant… and obviously something that is natural for them. Laura, Jeremy’s wife kept me company as all the musicians were doing their things… patiently and adoringly of her beloved family.

i got to play for a minute when we added handclaps. woo hoo. it was a magical night. the song is sooo much more than i ever imagined. the care that they took with the song was humbling and i am so grateful. isn’t that just like God… to give exceedingly, abundantly… i’m still in disbelief that this just happened.

the song is wonderful. the instruments are layer upon layer of awesome. the message of the song is just what i was hoping for, and even more than i thought to hope for. it invites you in… the only requirement is that everybody love everybody… i just love that.

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My Haitian Posse

my haiti posse. too legit to quit!

you know… when i was heading to haiti… i had no idea i was going to be hoping to be chosen.

you see, when you first arrive, the kids scope out the options… then attach themselves to one person. they choose you.

you don’t choose them. they choose you. kind of like how God has chosen us. specifically us.

so, this is the crew that has chosen me. i’m so grateful because they are fantastic. they are witty, loyal, protective, enjoyable, confident, funny people.

they are quick to understand jokes, even though i know like 3 words of creole so far… they read eyes and faces, and i am told that i express a lot with my face, so that works out nicely for us.

ritchi and louna in particular, like to stick close. and they really like to guard my backpack for me. i wonder when is the last time i had a teenager begging to be my right hand man or woman… or guardian of the “stuff”.

i spent hours today drawing. i drew the name and made a piece of art out of it for any kid that wanted (my friends ritchi and louna kept wanting me to be “fini” so we could go do something else… but i’m really glad that happened today. because to see the face of a kid who has something with their name on it.. in colors that they had chosen… well, they beamed. they carried them around. some of them wanted me to keep them because it’s all they have to give.

never before was i so grateful for my favorite set of Papermate Flair Markers!!! and a sketch pad. OH… how i love to draw and OH how they loved to be celebrated. each moment i spent drawing on just their name, made them the star for a minute.

the team has really connected already and spent good time sharing what we are learning. tyler led a session tonite about how we can serve each other… and the coolest thing is that we not only heard what he was saying, but we already had multiple examples of how this serving is already taking place within our midst. love that! when you start out humbling yourself and looking for ways to be a blessing to others, you have the greatest chance for success in changing lives.

we decided the theme of this trip would be BIG LOVE.

and that’s what we want to share and show to the kids and to each other. nothing is greater than love.

and these kids… i already have BIG LOVE for them. for some reason God rescued them, preserved their lives and brought them to this wonderful place. and for some reason, God chose me and brought me to haiti to meet them… i will be praying for them and love to see the people they become.

the lessons are abundant. i think i’ll save more for later. today… consider who you can serve. and how you can serve them.

then… tell me about it. i love to hear stories of serving. and stories of you. the more i  know about you, the more i have to love about you. bring it on.

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is there possibly any word less sexy than curriculum?

we are starting a new curriculum from Ishine this next week (seriously…is there possibly a less sexy word than curriculum?) with kidz at long hollow.

lhkidz volunteers ken hirth and mike shelton always go the extra mile

this time its different. because i wrote it. designed it. edited it…  and my beloved texas writing team wrote the incredible video content for it.

so… i’m nervous. i’m curious but also a little anxious. and of course i’m excited too.

here’s the thing… i believe it’s really really good. we put it together with a church’s needs in mind. the way the files are prepared, the activities, the video elements, the worship videos… etc. the lesson flows…all of it. i think it’s important. and great. and truly humbled and honored to play on the ishine playground. so i’m excited to see how it goes.

as a preperatory move, we asked our small group leaders and kidz treehouse (worship) leaders to meet tonite so we could walk through the new flow with them and show them how all the pieces fit together… and also discuss together how important it is to love the kids. i said at least 100 times…. ‘even if you don’t get all the “stuff” done we want kids to leave knowing they are loved, so that even if no one else loves them all week they will know what love is when they leave us.’

i wasn’t sure that people were really “feeling” the meeting, or enjoying the samples of the videos. there were very few questions and i just couldnt tell how people were feeling… (plus i was being insecure, i now realize) so, to be honest, i felt a little bummed.

then i started doing laundry when i got home… and in the mindlessness,  i started reflecting on who was there… and how the interactions went. then i almost cried.

see… we have four campuses, so we don’t all get together too often. i get to go around and visit them occasionally, but we dont get to hang together alot… and also, sometimes the ones that dont go to the main campus, aren’t always able to make the trip.

i was beyond thrilled (thrilled sounds like too silly of a word, it’s thrilled but something deeper… what is the word?)…. anyway, i was glad to see that friends from every campus were there. and what’s more…. i just love them. if you happen to have kids in the lhkidz ministry… wow, are your kidz in good hands!!!

i love that everyone found the time in a wednesday night just because they wanted to be able to give kids the best experience on a sunday morning that they can. i love that they hung around and talked among their groups.

gosh. i just love who they are. so much. i’m overwhelmed … so i really can’t write anything too pensive tonite…i just really want you to tell me something that you want to celebrate this week.

what? what is it that just brings you joy this week? let’s share it.

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samford jmc monday morning memo… my story.

JMC Alumni and Friends,

Personal Note from Dr. J — It’s Christmas. Please enjoy this last Monday Morning Memo this semester. All of us in JMC are embarking on final exams next week and beginning to get ready for the holidays. I hope you have enjoyed the “stories” JMC alums have shared this semester. I have an exciting line-up scheduled for the spring 2012 semester. Thanks to all of you alums, who have volunteered to share your “stories” with the more than 700 regular readers of this email. I still have some room on my schedule, if you are want to write. I can give you an audience.

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. We in JMC love hearing from you. “Keep those cards and letters” and emails and blogs and tweets “coming.” We wish you the best Christmas ever. Now, here’s Robyn. Enjoy the read.

‘I’ve soaked up and wrung out
every lesson I learned at Samford’

By Robyn Blaike Collins (JMC ’96)

If you’d told me in 1996 I’d be working at a church, I’d have laughed.

If you’d told me I’d be using my JMC degree every day, I’d have said that’s what I expect to do.

I came to Samford in 1991. I dabbled in JMC for two years while taking required courses. In 1993 I decided to go to Florida State University.

It wasn’t the best decision I’d ever made. After a year of getting no closer to graduation and repeatedly making bad decisions, I called Dr. Jones. He heard my voice. He remembered my name. He asked me to come back to Samford. That, I believe, saved my life and set my course.

I returned and continued my JMC education — but with more appreciation and a greater understanding that I was on the right path. I graduated in 1996. (It would’ve been 1995, but there was this little issue with not having enough convo credits that “allowed” me to experience a little more bulldog-time.).

I was in a print-design class held in the Mac lab over in education when I began seeing how I was going to use the tools I was gaining. We were learning PageMaker. (Oy vey, we’ve come a long way baby.) I was now able to strategize, write, design and control the way my messages were presented. I was freed.

So I put my new tools to work as a:
— graphic designer and copywriter for a travel agency in Birmingham (CV Travel).
— newsletter designer for an international health products company (Quest 4 Health).
— assistant editor, writer, photographer for a women’s magazine in Memphis, Tenn. (Memphis Woman).
— freelance photographer and graphic designer out of Plano, Texas.
— graphic designer for Bellevue Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.
— writer and editor for Millionaire Blueprints Jr., and Millionaire Blueprints Teen.
— author, Prepare to Be a Teen Millionaire.

All of it used the tools I learned at Samford. Then the church I was attending, Prestonwood Baptist, in Plano, came calling.

I was invited to a kids’ ministry creative meeting. My friend said, “You’re the most creative person I know. Please come work here.” I left that meeting and wrote my first script for live theater.

The difference between this script and all the other projects I had done was the content had eternal value. ETERNAL. What better way to use the gifts God has allowed me to have. Right?

I wrote more scripts as a volunteer. Then I joined the Prestonwood staff and hired two creative directors, several support staff members and served as a writer and designer.

During my sixth year at Prestonwood, I was asked to get my writing team to write a TV show for “tweens” with Bema Media. The team agreed. We wrote season 2 of iShine KNECT, which airs every Saturday on TBN’s Smile of A Child TV. While visiting Nashville for the show’s taping, I met the kids’ pastor at Long Hollow Baptist Church. We connected. Since July 2010, I have been serving as Kids’ Creative Minister at Long Hollow. We have 10 live shows per weekend. And I get to do the branding and planning for special events, like camp and VBS…

I have soaked up and wrung out every lesson I learned at Samford. I tell anyone who will listen how grateful I am for a school with professors who really care about our lives.

Over the years Dr. Jones and Dr. Clemmensen have become morethan my mentors, they are my beloved friends. I have been honored to serve as co-chair of the JMC Advisory Board. I love dreaming about a bigger vision for JMC with Dr. Bernie Ankney. I hope we will be able to lead the charge among schools of our type in many areas, including Church Media.

It is an honor to say I studied JMC at Samford University and all that it represents.

My hope is that my kids will one day be so blessed. I have four — Quint, 14; Jackson, 13; Kavi, 11; and Blaikie, 7. I want them to be loved like I was, while they learn like I did.

You can contact Robyn via email, rbcphotogirl@gmail.com; on twitter, http://www.twitter.com/robynbcollins or follow her blog, http://www.dearheartists.wordpress.com.

Painting a great family portrait. From Left, Quint, Robyn, Blaikie,
Alex, Kavi and Jackson.

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there are people in the congregation packin’

i’m personally packing for the beach…

but today we had an amazing workshop on safety and security at work. since i deal mostly with kids in my position… this is of utmost importance to me.

nothing will send someone faster away from your church than the feeling of un-security, un-safeness, un-detail orientation when it comes to the lives of their kids. security is our number one physical concern.

if you have worked at a church, you know that people dont remember to bring back their tags, or think they can pick up kids because they know you… and many times, they get irritated when you make them sign something extra or write down their information, AGAIN. and i’m always ok with that. you can be  mad at me … but you will leave knowing that someone cared enough about the matching XJ2(or whatever your randomly selected code is for that day) we need to see to give you back your child… and you will come back.

a generic fellowship one tag, the company we use to monitor kids

so, in our workshop… we learned about the team of people that are there each time we have a service, ensuring our safety. i love that. it’s not just the kids being protected, but everyone. we learned of their backgrounds in law enforcement at varying levels and degrees. let me boil it down for you though – in case you find yourself in a situation where you need to create security.

-we have armed officers patrolling our grounds and our buildings.

-we have visible law enforcement specialist all around, serving as a great deterrent.

-we have undercover teams you will never see, but you can still thank God for.

-places that have been the victims of mass shooting (active shooting) many times had no such deterrents or security in place (thank you long hollow for caring enough about all of us to go the extra mile)

-we all need to have a plan in place for extreme conditions. you, as the leader of a room, should have a plan in mind should anything go awry.

-when we go to lock-down. it’s real lock-down. like at school. just because you are at church, doesnt’ mean you can break the rules and leave your designated area to get your child. this will endanger you both. (now, i can understand if there is no security, why this might be tempting, but when there is security – trust that we are doing the best we can to keep your kiddo safe from harm)

-we need to have our eyes and ears open at all times, aware of what is going on around us. aware of sketchy characters… if someone just came to mind, you need to alert your security officers 10 minutes ago. they can only work with the information they have.

-we went through multiple active shooter situations from the past few decades. there were many things in common and they aligned with a terrorist attack. premeditation. lack of security. planning. altered realities that should’ve been noticed by someone. stemming from a hatred from a past hurt. the columbine shooters met all of these criteria, and it was parralelled with a terrorist attack in mumbai – eerily similar.

-we ended with a photo of a piece of heaven. our head security officer shared that we know that God is in control, and that evidence of God’s greatness is all around us. we need to look for it and be reminded.

this whole thing was not to cause fear, but to prepare us to love people better by protecting them. i love my church for this.


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