Exceptionally Grateful – The Bullingtons
Hi, North Side Family! We’re Jonathan and Julie Bullington.
We’ve been a part of the North Side family for just over a year and have been blessed by the people that we’ve met here at North Side, the ministries that we are able to be a part of, and most of all God’s decision in placing us here.
We’ve been married now for about a year and half. We met at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and were in several classes together throughout our four years, but were only acquaintances until the last month of our senior year. A friend introduced us officially on a senior picnic trip and we hit it off quickly. We decided to pursue dating each other, even though after graduation we would be headed off to separate colleges: College of Charleston for me, and South Carolina for Julie (calm down Clemson fans). God allowed us to really invest in our college churches without being distracted by our relationship on a daily basis, which would have been a struggle in learning to keep God at the top of our priorities list. Though the long distance was tough at times, we had decided from the start that God had put us where we were for His purposes, and that developing a relationship with Him was more important than our desire to center our lives on developing a relationship with each other.
After dating through college, we decided to get married in 2012 right after graduation (as in, two weeks after graduation!). Quickly after that, we moved to Greenwood to start Julie’s job at the Eaton Hydraulics plant, which she had previously interned at during the summer of 2011. Julie found North Side while searching for a church in the Greenwood area. She went online to North Side’s website and ended up listening to one of Jeff’s previous sermons. Not being engaged yet (but anxious for me to pop the question), she stumbled upon the “Should We Get Engaged” sermon. If that ain’t a God thing, I don’t know what is. She was very drawn to how Jeff spoke the Word of God and put everything into its biblical context. She decided to visit North Side the next Sunday, and enjoyed the friendly environment. She attended North Side throughout the rest of the summer, and returned to school in the fall.
In the spring of our senior year, Julie was offered a job by Eaton Hydraulics plant. We were excited about the job offer, and also for having a church lined up to attend when we moved to Greenwood. We went to the Connect class the first chance we got, and we felt led to pursue membership in the church, not knowing how long we would be in Greenwood. Shortly after, we joined C-groups and began to look for places to actively serve. We also took the PLACE Assessment to figure out what kind of service we were best suited for in the church. We quickly realized that North Side is a church that desires its members to get involved, get equipped with God’s Word, and make disciples.
We have a passion for helping middle school, high school, and even college students learn to live for God in a culture that tells them to live for themselves and the cares of this world. We were able to get involved with the Peak on Wednesday nights on the tech team, and have recently become a part of the leadership in high school C-groups on Sunday mornings. I have been blessed to be the leader of the high school guys’ C-group that has allowed me to share life with those guys, and try to model Christ as an example before they head off to college. It’s very exciting to see the Lord moving through the youth groups, and see how they have a desire to serve Him because of how much He is working in their lives.
In addition to being leaders in the youth C-groups, we also participated in the Simply the Story (STS) class last fall and also the North Side University (NSU) class, both of which provided us with an incredible amount of knowledge on God’s Word and how to effectively make disciples. The leaders in both of these classes are committed to equipping the people taking the classes, and showing them how to go outside of the church building walls and live it out in a world that desperately needs to hear the gospel and be transformed by its living power.
I, Julie, have been really blessed to be a part of the women’s Bible study, and being surrounded by women who are more mature in their walk with Christ. These women have really helped me grow stronger in my walk, and have helped me learn to rejoice in difficult situations. When my parents divorced, the women helped me to challenge the bitterness in my heart, and learn how to love them as Christ has chosen to love them, and all of us. With their collective experiences, they have helped me see how a life lived in faith is acted out on a daily basis. I’ve also been able to share life with my C-group, and they have challenged me to grow deeper with the Lord, through our studies and through our fellowship. Leading a C-group has helped me to grow spiritually through preparing studies and story-telling, since the Holy Spirit has drawn out truths from our conversation that I had previously never before seen. I have learned so much through the North Side family about what it means to be a godly wife and a passionate follower of Christ, thanks to the leaders who have been faithful in teaching God’s truths about marriage and being Christ’s servant.
Going through the men’s Courageous Bible Study about a year ago made a huge impact on how I, Jonathan, view fatherhood and how I lead my wife Julie in our home. Being twenty-three years old, Julie and I are not planning to have kids (God willing) for a little while, yet I figured that getting a course on leadership, fatherhood, and Christ-like manhood couldn’t be a bad thing to have under my belt. It turned out to be much more than that, and thanks to the leaders involved in teaching us men about biblical manhood and fatherhood, it made a lasting change in my life. This goes back to the fact that North Side desires nothing less than equipping its members and teaching them to be leaders and make disciples, which includes your wife and children.
Being a part of a C-group here at North Side has also been awesome in facilitating spiritual growth for me personally. When the guys and I get together to study the Word and share life together, I can’t help but see God working in all of our lives, whether we fully understand it or not. I think about James 5:16 which says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Notice that James says “so that you may be healed”, not so that another may be healed.
If someone told me, before I graduated college and came to North Side, that I would be confessing and sharing my daily sins with a group of guys at a church in Greenwood, I probably would have thought them to be crazy. But God placed myself and Julie here to strengthen us, and He has worked amazing wonders in our lives in just a year’s time through North Side. If not for their desire and commitment to getting me (and all its members) plugged into a C-group as soon as possible, I probably never would have pursued it. My spiritual maturity has increased exponentially in the last year thanks to God’s willingness to reveal Himself and His will through my time at North Side.
Julie and I are exceptionally grateful to be a part of the North Side family, and all the credit goes to God for choosing to place us here and for working his wonders through this body of believers. We already feel better equipped to contribute to fulfilling the great commission of making disciples of all nations during our time here thus far. There is so much growth happening at North Side, and we encourage anyone who isn’t currently involved or plugged in to God’s work here to get involved soon!