New Canaan Society member David Phillips has been a follower of Jesus since a young age. He recalls praying with his mother at church during an “around the clock” prayer vigil for Holy Week. It was then, between the age of eight and ten years old, that David decided to give his life to Jesus.
After this formative experience with his mother, David continued to grow in his faith, attending Southern Pines First Baptist youth group in high school. Under the leadership of youth minister Allison Coletrane, David learned what it meant to walk in consistent relationship with Jesus. After graduation, David went on to attend college at Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina, where he engaged in various campus ministries and maintained a solid connection to his faith.
In his late twenties, a period David describes as “a broken and difficult time,” he was invited to NCS by Eddie Schapira. The environment of openness and honesty in the group left a lasting impression on David. It was refreshing to witness men share their faith, struggles and imperfections in such a genuine, heartfelt manner. This approach to life and faith taught David to be more transparent with his own struggles and to ask for help when he needed it.
The cautionary tales from NCS speakers gave David the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others and come to view his own difficulties as a means of blessing as well. Through their stories, David learned how many people regret not following Christ sooner in life and carry long lists of things they would change if they could go back in time.
“I can’t help but think that if the world heard these stories with ‘no agenda’ other than to share what Jesus has done in someone’s life, it would make our world a better place,” David says.
In the same way that David was impacted by the authenticity he encountered among the men of NCS, David hopes to reach others by exuding an honest transparency that comes from abiding in a lifelong friendship with Jesus.
“You can tell him anything, and you can rely on him when you are weak and celebrate with him in good times.” David tells us.
On a personal note, one of David’s favorite ways of connecting with God is riding his mountain bike through the woods. Standing at the beginning of a trail or at the top of a mountain, David experiences an overwhelming sense of awe at the beauty of what God created.
David went on to share, “I’m learning that everything we do should be on mission for God. He puts us in a place and time and with interests to reach those that are close to us, but far from God.”
“Just show up.” David advises. “You never know if you need to be blessed or if you are going to be a blessing to someone else.” Showing up helped David through a difficult season in life and reminded him of how friendship with Jesus and real community with others is essential to living a whole and healthy life.