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Friday, April 30, 2010

This and That, April 2010

Sometimes, when I run into old friends around town, they ask "what are you up to these days?" and I get a little tongue-tied... there is no short answer to that question. So periodically I try to post the latest projects here that I'm working on. Thanks for caring...

Articles: I've had two articles posted this month, and another one is coming soon.
  • "Meet the Parents" -- Fuller (Seminary) Youth Institute E-Journal. This is actually a two-part article. Part two will talk through the details of how to put on a year-long seminar series for parents.

  • "Endless Summer" -- YMToday.com, a publication of Memphis Seminary. They asked me to write an article on how to map out a ministry strategy for summer youth ministry.

I am glad to write for both of these publications, because I am so impressed with the breadth and depth of resources they offer.

Overflow Conference, April 22-24, Orlando, Florida for Eden Reforestation Projects: I was asked last September to come out to this conference and talk with the attendees about our work. It was hosted by the Free Methodist Churches of the East Coast, and there were over 1,000 there. This was a wonderful (and quite exhausting) time. I brought Alexandra, a former student who now works with me in Eden Reforestation as our publicist. Though we were located literally across the street from Universal Studios' City Walk, we never left the hotel! We spent the entire weekend staffing an info booth, and talked with hundreds of folks who came from Maine to Louisiana. On Friday night I shared for 5 minutes about the work of Eden in Ethiopia and Madagascar (we hit the 10 million trees planted mark in March) and how we are expanding into Haiti more extensively in June. Over $7,000 was raised for the work in a special offering, and over 200 gave us contact information because they wanted to hear more.

This has been a VERY busy month for Eden. We hosted info tables at Earth Day festivals in Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, and Mercer Island (WA), school assemblies in Manhattan Beach, and a church missions fair in Lake Elsinore. We were also asked to table at Earth Day festivals in Solvang and at UCSB, but just couldn't be in two places at once. We're stoked at the interest everywhere we go. The Earth Day fest in Santa Barbara raised over $800 just through coin donations, and hundreds of contacts signed up with us at all of these venues.

I was also able to connect us with Brite Revolution, a socially-responsible music download site. Support them -- they are amazing. They featured us as their "Cause of the Month." So cool.

I'm also working on an application for a $50,000 grant (due June 1) so we can start up a training nursery in Ethiopia. Praying this can happen -- we have a unique opportunity to train nationals from all over Ethiopia who want to start more tree seedling nurseries in their country. This could extend the work of Eden Reforestation and our pace of reforestation exponentially.

Night of Worship, April 25: After a good night's sleep and a wonderful morning of worship at church and lunch afterward with friends, I went to an all-city night of worship for youth. The coolest part of this evening was that it was planned and led by teenagers themselves. The worship band was 9 students from various youth groups around town, who pulled together 100% on their own and put together a 15-song set that truly blessed those of us there. I was deeply moved by the authenticity of worship, song and sharing. They led us well. I spoke for about 20 minutes halfway through the time. It was a delight to be with at least a dozen students from my old youth group too. Oh how I love them.

Youth Ministry Consulting with Youth Ministry Architects: I am working with a fun variety of churches -- a Christian Reformed church in Illinois, a Presbyterian church near Seattle, a Free Methodist church in So Cal, and a dear non-denominational church in Central Cal. I am impressed by the faithful and tireless service of church members everywhere I go. I will return to the Seattle area church in May for an on-site consulting visit.

Westmont College Mayterm 2010: I am returning again to teach this class, May 10-June 10. Currently 8 students are signed up, and will serve in internships with Habitat for Humanity, local churches, housing projects in poor neighborhoods, Providence Hall High School and Cottage Hospital. My course will talk about how to integrate their faith with their work in these projects.

Providence Hall High School: I am close to completing my first full year there. I am currently working on some special projects for the Headmaster, Dr. David Winter, along with my regular responsibilities as the Campus Pastor. I will return there for the next school year as well. I am currently teaching a series that reflects on the UN Millenium Goals to End Poverty, and how we as believers are equipped (and called) to pursue these goals in ways far more powerful than the UN. We've talked about poverty & hunger and combating HIV/AIDS and malaria so far.

Pastoral Coaching with Free Methodist Churches of Southern CA: I finished recently with 3 churches, but took on 4 more this winter. I also have 3 others I'll start with in June. I cannot believe how much I enjoy this! The broad diversity of the church is impressive and so exciting! I'm working with pastors who are ministering with immigrants, 2nd generation Latinos, the homeless, African-American families, Millenials, skaters... and just a bunch of families trying to make it in a challenging economy. I am growing in so many ways by working with these pastors.

For FUN! I have a bunch of things I'm looking forward to in the next few months...

  • a new kitten (shhh.... stay tuned)

  • James Taylor & Carole King concert at the Santa Barbara County Bowl on May 18

  • Prairie Home Companion Live Show at SB County Bowl, June 5

  • ALASKA!! More beloved national parks adding to the life list...June 23-July 3

  • Sequoia National Park with the Loomers, July

  • Camping with my niece and nephew at Montana de Oro State Park, August

It's a good life. These verses from this morning sum up how I feel:

By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
(Psalm 42:8)


  1. A couple of things:

    Why don't you tell me about these James Tayleor/Carole King events BEFORE you buy tickets?!?!

    So cool about Brite Revolution! I still subscribe to them!

    I want to go to Mercer Island with you.

    I also revamped my bloggy: www.spidatter.com (new domain name :)

  2. Don't know if chocolate is on your list, but head over to apricosa.com for the recipe for some yummy looking gluten-free chocolate walnut cookies.

  3. Chocolate and sweets in general are not really on the "lower my cholesterol" meal plan, but one cannot go completely without chocolate! All in moderation, I say.

  4. ALASKA!!! ahhh you're going to have so much fun! alaska is beautiful!

    ..and Eden was in Mass last week too :)

    see you soon kel!