Alumni Events

Built on the Rock

Quinton Cools July 30, 2018
Back to Blog

The date is April 21st, 2014 and a shy, insecure 15-year-old boy is riding in the backseat of a minivan as it pulls into the parking lot. Turning around from the driver’s seat, his dad gives some final encouragement. “Make the most of your week here. You guys might make some lifelong friendships,” he says. The boy scoffs in response. He didn’t want to be there and wasn’t remotely excited about the coming four days, but those words proved prophetic and were bound to be more true than either the son or his father could have possibly envisioned.


My name is Brent. this is my story.


As I entered my first State Class, the attitude of indifference quickly wore off but the nervousness remained. I hardly spoke a word the entire week. No one observing me could have been the wiser about the inner awe that I was experiencing as I saw young people who were my age yet zealous for the gospel and boldly living it out with passion. I am sure that I believed in the Lord, but I lacked any sense of excitement or vision for my faith. God knew I needed to see other young people doing this firsthand. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged.



From that week on I became heavily involved with TeenPact and developed an deep sense of identity as a “TeenPacter”. I took it upon myself to organize various reunions and get-togethers in my home state and tried to attend as many Alumni Events as I could. When I returned to the State Class for my second year, I was elated. The quiet and shy kid was gone, and I stepped up and out of my comfort zone in enormous ways. I ran for every office I could, introduced myself to new people, and delivered my class governor address with my hands trembling, my knees knocking, and my voice quivering as I stood at the Speaker’s chair in the Ohio House of Representatives. It was that same year that I applied to staff and was accepted—a prospect that truly thrilled me because I would get to help others find the same experience that I had my first year. And for the next three years I staffed, travel staffed, and continued to be extremely involved with the ministry at the national level. But a day was coming—a day I would inevitably move on from TeenPact, and I began to realize just how much I was not at peace with that inevitability.



Through many difficult and humbling conversations with close friends over the past 18 months, I became increasingly convicted of a terrible reality: I had made TeenPact into an idol in my life. I had allowed my identity in the ministry to surpass and usurp that which should have been Christ’s. I had built my faith upon the feeling of acceptance and community that I had found in TeenPact. I had built my life on the sand that would be soon be washed away and not on the Rock. I thank God every day that he has brought me out of that place and to a new place where my identity is found in Him. Although there is still sadness in my heart as I move on from TeenPact, I am firmly rooted in the Word, in the Body, and in the truth of God’s promise.



TeenPact is an incredible ministry and I am especially grateful for it and for its students and staff, but it doesn’t last forever. Like a friend once told me, we are to live FROM TeenPact and not FOR TeenPact. Friends, fellowship, fun, feelings—these are all wonderful and good things. But the moment that we make a good thing into the ultimate thing, it becomes an idol and is all in vain. The things of this world cannot satisfy us, my friends. As Paul says in Philippians: “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of the Gospel”. If we are to truly live gospel-centered lives, we must not build the foundation of our faith upon that which is fleeting, but we must build our house upon the Rock which alone will sustain and save.



Brent Buterbaugh faithfully served on our TeenPact State Class staff teams from 2016-2018. This fall he will be attending The King’s College in the heart of New York City.



Read more about teenpacters

just like you


More Student Stories

About the Author

Quinton Cools

Quinton Cools grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and like any true Oregonian, he can identify the perfect cup of coffee. Quinton’s love for… Read More

2 Replies to “Built on the Rock”

Cassidy McCaslin on August 10, 2018 at 6:26 pm

Brent, thanks for posting this! A powerful testimony.

Quinton Cools on August 22, 2018 at 1:40 pm

I agree!

Comments are closed.