Are We Making Shallow Holes or Soul Drilling?

by Jim on February 27, 2014


Ministry Encouragement Podcast #84 – 2-27-14

Your Host: Rev. Jim W. Hollis   Your Sponsor: Proactive Ministries 

Hello and welcome to the eighty-fourth weekly episode of the Ministry Encouragement Podcast.  I’m Jim Hollis and it is my joy to be your host.  The Christian Community around this podcast is growing.  I appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to listen to our podcast.  If you’re a new listener, let me invite you to listen to several episodes and consider subscribing.

Today the topic I want to talk about with you is:

Soul Drilling

Across the North American culture today we are witnessing thousands of small churches that are on their way to non-existence.  Some of them have been viable places of ministry in past decades but now can hardly keep the doors open on Sundays.  In talking with members of numbers of these congregations, there exists a variety of opinions why this major erosion is accelerating.  Some of the members say the fault lies in: (please know that the following statements are not those that I agree with, just that we’ve heard.)

The quality of Pastors has seriously decreased since the last millennium

The culture of North America has changed so radically that hardly anyone cares about morality any longer – most theology today is “roll your own beliefs”

Everyone in our community has raced down to the “big box” church with the window covered, black-lights, loud music entertainment approach to Christianity and they have stolen lots of our young familie

Our little church can’t compete with all the others that have fabulous programs, super styling gyms, and preachers that are soothing, silver-speaking entertainers that have convinced people they are all fine and can’t possibly miss heaven because they love Honey Nut Cheerios


Yes, there ARE some people who are not handling the crisis well and are basically out of answers as to why the reality exists.

A number of major Protestant denominations today are seeing an increased number of smaller congregations closing due to steady decline, almost non-existent outreach, and a willingness to work to keep the church open even if not a viable place of ministry.

What can we say to these realities today?  Can we come to a place as Christians and as churches where we are doing effective Soul Drilling?  Can we discover new ways to reach the world for Christ that in reality may not be new at all?  Perhaps the effective ways are in actuality what we may call, “The Ancient Abandoned Ways.” 

Did you ever hear the story of the family who bought a very nice piece of property far out of town and one of the first things they wanted to do on their new property was to secure water for themselves.  One of the sons had a friend who had purchased an old drilling truck at an auction and offered to bring it over to the property to drill a well for a dependable water source.

So he did.  He finally got the old beast of a truck to fire up and decided to start in a certain spot that looked like a good place for a well.  He drilled down about 20 feet and no water was detected. The old equipment was making quite a hole and a mess on the nice level lot.  “Don’t worry,” he assured the family, “I’m just going to move over about 25 yards and drill another spot for a well.  I’ll soon hit the water.” He did.  No water again.

After he had repeated this strategy in 12 other places on the property which was three acres of beautiful, cleared, level land, the land began to look like a plot for craters and heavy truck tracks.  Still, no water was found and no well was secured.  His friend in the family told him, “You’ve made a huge mess!  I want you to take your old truck and go back home.  It’s time to call a real well-driller.”

The son who sent his friend away did a little research on well-drilling and talked to some leaders in the closest town for recommendations.  One of them told him, “Call Atkins Well Drilling Service.  They have secured many wells in this county and know what they’re doing.  They will cost more than your friend was charging but you’ll hit water if it’s there.”

When Atkins Well Drilling Service men showed up on the property, they anchored down a much larger and more sophisticated drilling truck.  They started drilling in a comparatively small hole.  The foreman said to the family who was watching, “Here’s 20 feet, now 30 feet, and going to 45 feet.”

The son who called them ran over and said, “Wait!  Maybe there’s no water here.  What are you going to do now?  The last guy we had drilled all these holes without finding any water.  Are you going to move to a different spot?”

“Oh no sir.  We’re staying right here and we’re going to drill deeper.  The water is down there and it will come up strong when we get to the right depth.”  The motor and drill started up again and the foreman said, “Now at 49 feet and drilling on down.  Here’s 55 and 65 feet.  There’s a shifting in the plate.  Suddenly at 78 feet the water came rushing out of the hole.  A powerful well was capped right in the first spot!”

The son who hired them said, “I would have never believed it!  I just knew you would have to move to about 5 other spots to find the water if there was any.  That’s what the last driller did.”

The big foreman wiped his brow, smiled and said, “Son, it’s not about going wider and staying shallow.  It’s about going deeper and staying put to find the source.  Then the water flows.”

The same is true in SOUL DRILLING.  It’s not about going from spot to spot – wider and staying shallow – it’s about finding a new connection spot and going deeper over time until the source is connected with.  Then the water flows from the source.” 

For us as Christians to be effective and productive Soul Drillers, we need to follow a simple formula incredibly like drilling for a well.  We must stop trying to go wider but go deeper.  And not only that, but we specifically need to:

Think Smaller AND Deeper Over Time

  • Move beyond “being friendly” (wider, more shallow) to “Making friends” (smaller numbers of people and deeper over time)
  • Move beyond simply saying “hello” (wider & shallow with others) to “Can you help me remember your name? and What’s your story?”  (smaller number of people and deeper over time)
  • Not being satisfied with surface level contacts (shallow) but move to authentic friendships that spend time together in action (deeper)
  • Not just hearing about the other’s interests and hobbies (shallow) but also asking to learn and experience their interests and hobbies which lead to lasting friendships and learning one another’s stories (deeper)

At some point it comes to your head and heart that we are not just adding to our casual acquaintances we never really come to know – but we are drilling on down with the people we meet – drilling on down to touch their soul.  That’s Soul Drilling!  Let’s go in Christ’s love and DO IT. 

Please prayerfully consider sharing this Episode as well as others in this series with those you know and love.  Perhaps it is someone you wish to encourage in their faith and their ministry adventures.  You can do that by simply sending them the link:

Feel free to contact me personally with your feedback, thoughts and affirmations for this ministry and the community around it.  You can reach me at:

Rev. Jim W. Hollis, Proactive Ministries Offices in Smyrna, GA (USA): 770-803-9988

Rev. Hollis’ email:

Facebook: Jim W. Hollis  AND please “Like” our Facebook page for Proactive Ministries

LinkedIn: Jim Hollis

Twitter: @jhriskforchrist


Until next time, may the Lord bless you and keep you.  May the Lord make his countenance and grace rise upon you.  And may you receive joy through the Holy Spirit living in you.



Rev. Jim W. Hollis

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