- Grand Rapids US-MI
I am looking for a community that is intentional in its commitment to live together so that we can share God's Good News. Followers of Jesus Christ are called to live in community, to give expression to what the community believes in real, practical ways in their daily journey together. In community, our differences help us grow, our disagreements reveal grace and truth to us, and our service to each other helps us experience God. From its diverse members and gifts, this community finds unity in mission and service. This spiritual community is given God's sacred treasure: the Gospel, a word of hope in a world of chaos. The Gospel is the story of Jesus Christ who is the final and complete revelation of God, the teacher who shows us how to live together as God's new creation. Jesus removes every barrier that stands in the way of our relationship with God and with each other. In a world overrun with questions, Jesus' followers must be radically committed to sharing the answer: Jesus Christ the Risen One! Into this community I bring the gift of a seasoned communicator, someone who has struggled to hear and understand God's voice, and a deep commitment to building sacred, intentional community.
As the Interim Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Vassar, I followed an Installed Pastor of 38 years. The church flourished under his ministry, but the identity of the minister and the congregation were so intertwined that when he left, a large part of who they were also departed. When I arrived, in addition to the predictable problems of grief and loss, there was a complete lack of organizational infrastructure and identity. We have transitioned most of the traditional committee work to ministry teams and equipped people for small group and ministry team leadership. The church had lost contact with its own history outside of the just-retired minister. We began a community wide story telling process where the longer history was explored and written. I have been privileged to start a conversation about who they are within their community and what the Good News might look like in their setting. We continue to explore new opportunities to serve and share in the community. The church lacked any discipleship / spiritual formation process when I arrived. I both facilitated small groups and trained small group leaders for ongoing small group life. We transitioned from a traditional Sunday School to a age-blended program where everyone learns and explores together.
I assisted with the formation of this new church development as part of the pastoral team. My primary responsibilities were preaching twice a month and leading position studies for the leadership group. This community started as a church plant of the Reformed Church in America, and eventually joined the Evangelical Covenant Church.
Cherry Valley Church was a new church development of the PC(USA) in the southeast suburbs of Grand Rapids, Michigan. We began with 23 people gathered at our first service. During my time there, I was responsible for all fund raising, grant writing, financial planning, vision casting, strategic planning, and leadership recruitment and training. We had one major capitol campaign where we renovated a commercial storefront and warehouse to serve as a community ministry center. Our ministry model called for using this building as community "third space," a place to helped facilitate community and inter-personal connections. To that end we sponsored monthly community wide Middle School gatherings, family movie nights, community wide clothing swaps, provided meeting space for various community groups, and seasonal events. We used small groups to help people grow as followers of Jesus. We implemented The Alpha Course as our introduction to Christianity, then followed up with a series of small group bible studies. Our worship life emphasizes a blending of ancient and modern forms, weaving both traditional patterns and emerging ideas about how we experience and worship God. We attempt as much as possible to be multi-sensory and to emphasize the Word carried through the creative arts. Our worship was always multi-generational and focused on helping families carry the worship experience into their homes. Tragically, the Presbytery withdrew its financial support during the financial crises of 2008 and the core group voted to disband.
I began working at New Horizons Tulsa as the Operations Manager in 1997. This was a business startup in the Information Technology training field. In 1999 I became the General Manager. During the first two years as General Manager, we expanded the facility to over 10,000 sq.ft., doubled our sales and increased the staff to 35 full time employees. I particularly enjoyed the business planning and leadership development aspects of this position. In 2003, the owners sold the company at the same time that I transitioned into full-time ministry.
My academic work was in sociolinguistics and media theory. My dissertation was on the Parables of Jesus as Oral Performance Literature.
While in seminary, I was a teaching assistant in the New Testament and Bible Exposition departments. I was a Senior Preaching Week finalist.