The Kid Who Turned His Back On Cool
At a special live-recorded event in August 2014, Nick Mauney had the opportunity to say “thank you” to NewSpring owners for giving to the church that changed his life forever. Watch his remarkable video from that day, and read the story behind his story ...
Nick Mauney’s life was at a crossroads.
Nick had asked Jesus into his life at his small, Southern Baptist church’s summer camp just after his freshman year in high school. He understood Jesus was the door to a new, abundant life. But in a youth group whose highest attendance of the year was just seven people, he didn’t feel like there was anyone showing him the way.
“I was trying to figure out what this whole following Jesus thing was all about,” Nick says. "I just didn’t know what my next step was."
Right then, Nick knows his life was poised to go down one path or another.
I thought I was 'the man', and I tried to be 'the man'
In the year that he would become sophomore class president, Nick was just beginning to grasp the popularity he could have, with his winning combination of good looks, two-sport star status and leadership swagger. He had “cool,” in spades, and he was trying to keep it that way. Girls and popularity: Those were his gods at the time. Jesus didn’t really stand a chance.
“I thought I was ‘the man', and I tried to be ‘the man,’” Nick says. “I was trying to be as well-rounded and as cool as I could be. I looked for my identity in those things. I was concerned about being cool and a Christian at the same time."
And right in the nick of time, God used NewSpring Church and the generosity of its people, to show Nick what his gifts had been made for. The person he was created to be.
I didn’t realize all that the Lord had in store for me at NewSpring
At first, Nick didn’t want to go to NewSpring.
His parents and brother had started visiting NewSpring when the Greenville campus first opened. But after checking it out, Nick decided he was comfortable right where he was — at his old church, in the youth group he had known for five years.
Nick also was invited to NewSpring his whole sophomore year by the Fuse student ministry pastor who spoke at his school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes gatherings and saw his potential. But no matter how many times the student pastor asked Nick to check out Fuse, he still wouldn’t go.
The Fuse pastor practically begged him to sign up for the Fuse summer camp in Daytona Beach that summer, and it was always, 'no,' 'no', and 'no.'
That’s when God stepped in — through Nick’s mom. On the very last day of signups, she decided she was putting Nick's name down for the Gauntlet, and she wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer.
One generous owner had already paid for the next Greenville student to sign up, and that happened to be Nick. The secret gift was only a foretaste of the grace God was preparing for him.
More In Store
The week of the Gauntlet literally changed Nick’s life.
"I grew more in my relationship with the Lord that week, than in my entire life," he says. "I knew the Lord had so much more in store than what I was living, and Gauntlet was the answer to that."
Nick returned, knowing his next step was to commit to NewSpring. He became an owner, began to serve in KidSpring and attended Fuse weekly.
I stepped into the person I wanted to be: to love people and be humble
Through his experiences and his relationships at NewSpring, Nick’s understanding of Jesus and the call on his life grew, becoming an influence on many at his high school to follow Jesus, just as the Fuse student pastor had foreseen years before.
In time, he took on leadership of a group of middle school boys, which he’s continued while studying at Clemson University. He also became a fixture at high school lunches week to week, trading a few high-fives, fist bumps and conversations for the opportunity to share Jesus.
Now he's preparing for a life dedicated to serving Jesus in full-time ministry.
"I didn’t realize all that the Lord had in store for me at NewSpring,” Nick says. “God allowed me to take advantage of doing life with the right people. I stepped into the person I wanted to be: to love people and be humble."
Want to see more stories from that day? Check out the full message, "Not From You, For You."