About Doug Hunt

I am a follower of Jesus. I am grateful for my life. I have an amazing wife, Shelley. Three kids, Emily, James and Andy. I am a pastor, a slow runner, wannabe rock-n-roll guitar player. I dream about the future and hope that I live a life that matters to God.

Back When I Was a Songwriter

As I think back on 20 years of ministry it amazes me how there have been particular seasons when God has chosen to use me in unique ways.  Just the thought of being used by God is humbling. There is nothing in me that has deserved that. I can almost categorize different time periods with titles.  They weren’t so much the specific job I held but the way God has brought out and developed certain parts of me during certain years.

This has taught me that God really is in charge and can do whatever He wants with me.  When I embrace that truth, it is so good. This has also taught me that when those seasons are over, I need to let them be over.  It is a good thing to let go because it means God has something else good in store.

From about 1997-2003 could be labeled, “The Songwriter”.  Music has been an important part of my life since I was a kid. I started to play instruments as a 7 year old.  I have a degree in music.  I love a good rock guitar solo more than most things in the world.

During the years 1997-2003 I was working as a college minister in Little Rock, Ar. Prior to that I had written a bunch of songs but none of them were particularly “holy”.  But something happened in 1997, not sure what, that lit a fire in me to write songs of worship for the ministry that I was serving in.  I almost could not help but write and then lead our ministry to sing them. It wasn’t a pride thing but more like giving a voice to what God was doing around us.  It was writing the prayers, celebration, and confessions that we needed to sing.

So I wrote a lot of songs. I wrote constantly.  I almost could help but write. Honestly, many of those songs were pretty bad, but there were a hand full that seemed to be what that group of college students needed to stay.  It was wild.  One of the most humbling things I have experienced in ministry is hearing a room full of people worshiping God while singing a song I wrote.

I still have a stack of songs from back then laying around and it is like reading through a journal.  They bring up such good memories of those students.  Such a sweet time, when I was a song writer.

Here are the lyrics to one of my favorites.  It was very personal to me and still a song that I need to sing.



Words and Music by Doug Hunt, 2001

Less of me, more of You

Purify me, refine me

Strip me clean, make me whole

Simplify me, guide me

Take away the things that steal from Your fame

Fill me with the truth that glorifies Your Name

Wipe away the things that cover You in me

Overflow my life with what You long to see


Make me more like You

Jesus live Your life through me

Free me from myself

Jesus have Your way in me

Living in You

Moving in You

Hoping in You

Jesus I need You


I Wanted to Quit Ministry 4 Months After I Started

I had been in fulltime ministry for about 4 months when I had begun working on my strategy to quit forever.

The beginnings of ministry for me was like a whirlwind moving at light speed. The week I moved to Little Rock from Georgia was crazy.  It was late August of 1996. At the beginning of that week, I had most everything in place for me to move to New Orleans to attend a seminary there.  I had even said my goodbyes to my family.  By Thursday of that week my plans altered in the most unexpected and gracious way. God had opened an amazing door for me in Little Rock, AR. to serve with a mentor of mine from college and attend an extension of Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.  I literally had to buy an atlas to find Little Rock, AR. Explaining that change of plans to my parents was fun.  I can still remember my dad saying over the phone, “you’re going where?”

It was like I was living in a Bible verse I had learned from my Granny, “A man’s mind plans his ways but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

So, seriously, just like that I was following my atlas to Little Rock, AR.  At the end of that day I walked in the door of the Baptist Student Ministry building at University of Little Rock, AR.  I hugged my friend Tim.  Then served at an event that night. It was my new life, nine hours away from home where I knew two people, Tim and his wife Lynnette.

Fast-forward to Christmas. Four months of fast paced ministry had gone by and it was time to head back to Georgia for a few days to be with my family. It was so good.  I really love my family, warts and all. When those few days were over and it was time to make the drive back to Little Rock, I did not want to go.  I was sad about leaving family. Ministry had been good but, man, I did not like being that far from home.

I remember driving out of Atlanta on I-20 west and looking in my rear view mirror and seeing the city’s skyline. I did not like it.  I wanted to be home with my family.

So for the next nine hours I devised a plan to power through until summer, quit and move back to Georgia.  Ministry wasn’t worth it.

But, remember that verse, Proverbs 16:9?

On January 1, 1997 I had to take a group of about 10 or 12 college students to a conference in Austin, TX called Passion97.  In my heart it felt like a “I had to” not an “I want to”. I didn’t know what Passion97 was.  I had never heard of any of the speakers or musicians. I wanted to be in Georgia.  I was getting bitter pretty fast that I “had” to be away.  But it was my job to take those students to Passion97 so I did.

There were about 2000 college students there. I had never been to anything like it in my life.  But, I still didn’t want to be there.  I was fighting God in my heart and words.  I have a vivid memory of sitting in my chair and thinking “this is all pretty cool, but You are going to have to do more than this God”.

So, yeah, I challenged God.  You should try it sometime.

It was the final night of the conference and I remember there being several banners brought into the convention center and placed around the room.  They all had different names or attributes of God on them.  The communicator challenged us to ask God to show us which one of those Names or Attributes we needed think on, thank God for, worship Him for, and remember.  I knew almost instantly.

It was the banner that said “I AM”. He was telling me, “Trust me.  I AM good.  I am in control and that is a good thing.  Trust me.”

I broke into tears, realizing that what “I AM” had for me was eternally greater than anything I had for me.  He assured me that he understood the desire and love for my family back home.  He also assured me that He was trustworthy even when the plans of my mind were altered by His directing of my steps.

So, God won which means ultimately I won.

 I said “yes God.  I will trust you.  I will not quit.” (There have been other times I wanted to quit, and tried, maybe that is for another day.)

 Now, Ioving and missing my family “back home” has always been a part of my journey.  There have been plenty of other moments when it has been hard to be far from them. I love them now more than ever, warts and all. But, along the way in the moments where I have struggled, God has reminded me that He is “I AM”.  He is in control and that is a good thing.  He knows what is right and good and bigger than me. Now, 20 years later, God has allowed me to be much more “back home” than ever and I am grateful.

More than that, I am grateful God did not allow me to quit.  But, He has been Trustworthy.  He is good.

20 Years Later…

This fall I celebrated 20 years of being a full-time, vocational minister. That blows my mind! Me a minister.  I still don’t get it.

I have been thinking deeply about that for the past three months. It amazes me that 20 years have gone by since I literally loaded up my 1986 powder blue Volvo in Macon, GA. and drove west. I have been trying to capture the right words to describe what I have learned, as if I could reduce 20 years into a nice little list such as, “3 things I have learned” or “5 Thoughts for People Going into Ministry”, blah, blah, blah……

I Can’t do that.  The past 20 years represent so much more than catchy principles.

One of the thousands of things I think about is my very first day of ministry in August of 1996.  That day was not the beginning of the story.  It was more like the middle, or the beginning of Star Wars IV, A New Hope, when the world was brought into a story that was already in motion.  There was already great drama, interesting characters, unexpected events, tension, excitement, unknown adventures, fear, hope, and desperation happening in a galaxy far far away.  And there were all those things already happening in my life. Then, one day I was somewhat minding my own business and then “BOOM”, I was embarking on an adventure that I was not prepared for. Unlike Luke in Star Wars though, I didn’t get a light saber or a space ship… that was a bummer.  I did get to borrow my mom’s “bag phone” (who else remembers those?) for the drive and (no joke) the night before I had just saved on my car insurance by switching to Geico….That was kinda cool.

The journey landed me on the campus of University of Arkansas, Little Rock where I served in a campus ministry with my friend Tim (my personal Obiwon Kenobi). A year later I met my wife, Shelley, and convinced her to follow me on my “idealistic crusade”.

At this point in the story, there are about billion details that I could share.  Those details journey through Texas, Arkansas, Boston, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Georgia…but, who has time for details….isn’t that where the devil is anyway?

Fast forward 20 years to today in Dalton, GA where the journey has taken us. There two words that best describe the last 20 years.

Grace and Privilege.

I think of grace because when the journey jumped into hyperspace in 1996, I was in a moment that needed an eternal amount of grace.  That year, my life was less than stellar.  It was pretty much unholy.  Maybe I will share some of that later….but, for now, trust me.  I was much closer to being on the “dark side” than being a Jedi.  There was nothing about my life that deserved to be thrust into the the world of helping people know and live for Jesus.  That is where GRACE jumped in and grabbed me like a giant hug from God and He whispered in my ear, “I have so much more for you.” GRACE

I think of privilege because, the truth is, everything I have been able to be a part of in ministry has been a HUGE privilege. Don’t get me wrong, It has been hard and I wanted to quit more than once and do something else for a job. But, what I think of most is people that God has given me the privilege to know and walk along side of in some way.  I wish I could list all their names!  There are so many!  I can see their faces in my mind as a write.  I think I understand a little of what Paul was feeling when he wrote, “For you are our glory and joy”.  To have the privilege to sit with someone the first time they receive the gift of salvation.  To walk with someone as they overcome fear and takes steps of faith.  To walk with someone through the loss of a family member.  To see the lightbulb of God’s Word turn on in someone’s heart. To help someone find God in the midst of a personal battle.  To lead people to go on mission to the nations.  To rejoice with people through baptism.  To be trusted by people to speak truth into their life….All of it, PRIVILEGE.

Who am I to deserve to be a part of any of that? Wow.

God is too kind to me.

I love the story of the transfiguration in Matthew 17 when Peter, James and John are taken by Jesus up on the mountain. They had no task in the moment.  They were just there with Jesus witnessing some crazy stuff.  I love their response as they realized what a privileged moment it was.  Peter said, “Lord, it is good to be here.

That is how I feel today after so much grace and privilege that covers the 20 years.

Lord, It is good to be here. Thank you for the grace and privilege of the past 20 years.


Here is another key ingredient that will help foster intimacy and none of us like it…

Time and Patience

Intimacy among a group of people doesn’t happen fast. The type of intimacy where life transformation takes place is the product of faithfully giving ourselves to care for each other over an extended period of time. With that being true, we should fight against getting frustrated when what we desire does not happen as quickly as we would like. We also cannot force intimacy. Our part is to be faithful in caring for and encouraging one another in the Lord so that the stage is set for the Holy Spirit to move when He wants to move.

It was after Jesus spent 3 years with His disciples that He said in John 15:14, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Over the course of three years of spending a significant amount of time together, making themselves known to each other and sharing experiences together, Jesus calls them friends.

In 1 Thess. 2:7-12, Paul says they were gentle and caring like a mother and encouraging like a father…laboring night and day. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy worked hard in their commitment to seeing transformation in people’s lives. In their commitment they took the time to build deep relationships that looked like those within a family. When we get to the point of treating each other as family, there is deep intimacy.

The point is be patient, be faithful, and model the type of intimacy that you desire to see happen in your group.

Here are a few things that will help move you forward.

• Create opportunities outside of official group time for the group to just hang out.
• Plan times to serve together. The shared experience of serving others together creates a moment where the group must learn to work together and sacrifice together and thus create a tighter bond.
• Model and challenge those in your group to schedule one-on-one time with other members of the group.
• Schedule regular time in your group gatherings for each individual to tell their story in 15 minutes.


Life change happens in environments of TRUST but there must also be INTIMACY.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:7, the Apostle Paul compares his relationship with the people like that of a gentle nursing mother. One of the manly men in the Bible…like a nursing mother. We are called to be intimate in our care for one another.

Here is a key Ingredient that helps foster Intimacy.


Another way to put this is that the leader must be growing as the kind of person who is easy to see through. How we feel, what we think, and what is going on in our lives should be increasingly clear to those we are seeking to disciple. This is very risky but when done under the leadership of the Holy Spirit it can open the door for others to be honest about themselves.

Have you ever thought about Jesus as being transparent? Scripture indicates that as time went by He revealed more and more of who He was to His disciples. At the start of His ministry with the disciples He simply said “come follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mat. 4:19). He did not tell them everything about Himself or about what was going to happen. It was just the first invitation to follow. By the end of His investment in them He said, “I know longer call you servants but I call you friends, for all things I have heard from my father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Then in a huge act of transparency He says to His disciples, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with me” (Matt. 26:37).

The One who is the “Head over every power and authority” (Col. 2:10), said to His creation “My soul is sorrowful, stay with me.” That blows my mind. But, I see this as a model because the disciples were able to see how Jesus related to the Father in His most sorrowful moment so far. It was a moment of great intimacy.

Those in our groups need to see how we walk with God in difficult moments. We need to model that it is “ok” to be transparent and ask for others to “sit with us” when life is hard. Here are a few things I have learned in my own journey to be transparent.
1) I can miss out on the power of God in the Family of God when I am not transparent.
2) It is hard…but when done by the leading of the Holy Spirit it is life transforming.
3) It takes wisdom, discernment, and a step of faith.
4) Being transparent creates an opportunity for me to express trust in others.
5) Someone else’s’ transparency is an opportunity for me to model being trustworthy.
6) It is still hard…there will be times when you are transparent and people will turn their back on you…but we still need to model it in faith.
7) Moments of true transparency are moments orchestrated by the Holy Spirit to teach us how to love one another.


Another ingredient of an environment of TRUST..


As a group leader you must be pursuing to live the kind of life that will give weight to your words. Or to put it another way, trust will be built when your living matches your speaking. There is a great deal of skepticism in our world towards the Church that is a result in large part to leaders saying one thing and acting another way.

This does not mean that a leader’s life has to be perfect. We will always make mistakes. We will say things or do things from time to time that we will regret. That is where grace is so powerful. But, there must be a consistent life of integrity and even repentance when failure occurs for trust to be built and protected.

Paul says in 1 Thess. 1:5 that their “gospel did not come in word only but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” Paul also said in 1 Thess. 2:10, “You are witnesses and so is God how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved towards you.”

The power of God was seen among them as they lived out their convictions, proving that Jesus was worth following. It will be difficult for us to earn the right to challenge others to live in a Christ like manner if we are not pursuing to do the same. Paul goes on to say in 1 Thess. 2:11-12, “For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, Who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” It is our behavior, like that of a trusted and loving father that gives us the place to challenge people towards transformation.

We as leaders can make some of our biggest mistakes right here. We can’t say that we love people then make derogatory jokes about certain groups of people. We can’t tell people to sacrifice for others if we do not do it ourselves. We can’t preach holiness and then live in sin. We lose the trust of those we are trying to disciple when our faith and our lives do not match up. Integrity builds trust.

Challenge: Take some time to ask someone that you trust if they see any inconsistencies in your spiritual life that you may not be aware of. Ask them if they see areas in your life where you need to grow. If they share something with you, don’t be defensive, just listen. Then ask them to pray for you and hold you accountable as you pursue growth.


Life change will happen in a Christ centered environment of TRUST AND INTIMACY. It is the kind of place where you can be “you” without fear of judgment as you walk closely together towards Christ.

Here is another ingredient in an environment of TRUST.


People will figure out if you are about “you” or “them”. If they determine that you are about yourself (prideful) they will lose trust in you. If they determine that you are genuinely for them and their good (humble) they will trust you more.

My favorite passage that shows this is Matthew 11:28-30 when Jesus says “Come all who are weary…learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart.” I love how Jesus describes His own heart with two unimpressive words, gentle and humble. What I also love is that He uses them in the context of teaching for the soul.

This passages tell me that in order to create an environment of where life change can happen we must model genuine humility in our hearts as leaders.

Humility can be displayed in many ways. It can be the intentional pursuit to make conversation about the other person’s life. It can be choosing NOT to brag about your own spirituality. It can be as simple as cleaning off the table after the meal.

One important ways that humility should be displayed in a small group is LISTENING. It is easy to view leading a small group as primarily being a “Bible Study Leader” or “facilitator.” We do need to teach the Word because it is power, but we also need to create space for listening to the stories, struggles, hurts, and joys of those in our group. Power comes when we are able to ask the questions like “How are you” and “what is on your heart” and then listen to understand the other person and connect their struggles to the hope of God’s Word. When we are truly listening we can have a better sense of how the Word can help transform them.

I know from my own experience that when I have been listened to I feel valued and my trust level for the other person goes up tremendously.

Here are a few tips to help you grow as a listener.

1) Always pray before conversations, asking for the Spirit to help you hear what He wants you to hear.

2) Fight against the impulse to always offer a solution or advice. Sometimes people just need you to listen.

3) Ask more questions to gain clarification. Sometimes we offer our advice without really knowing what the other is really trying to communicate.

4) Repeat back what you think you are hearing. People are typically receptive to me when I say something like, “What I hear you saying is___________________. Is that correct?”

I love the simple and humble prayer of John the Baptist in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” I pray that we would be humble leaders.