December 1, 2016 — Comments are off for this post.

Give a Gift To a Homeless Youth This Advent

For those that don't know him, my very good friend Jesse James is doing some amazing things in Willowdale with Youth Unlimited. Right now he's organizing a community initiative to help some local homeless youth shelters. 

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October 31, 2016 — Comments are off for this post.

Adding Value

Recenty I had a conversation with Jenn Mikelait of Project Serve (a Youth Unlimited program) on how to add value to the lives of the people she's communicating to.

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September 24, 2015 — Comments are off for this post.

A New Chapter Begins

"God did not create only in the beginning; he also had an end in mind.” - Gustavo Gutierrez
"The answer is in a story and the story isn’t finished." - Paidraig O Tuama

How does one discern the call of God? Through times of prayerful listening? The agreement of a community? A sudden and inexplicable assurance? For me it has at times been a combination of all three as well as learning to be attentive to my own story. So often it has been in looking backwards and attempting to weave together various parts that important themes and insights have emerged which help reveal 'the next step' in the journey.

These last couple years have been a period of discernment and transition for me. Life for me has changed; and in turn I have been changed. My wife, Tori, and I had our first child (with another now on the way). I began my masters in missional leadership for the 21st century church of Canada at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto. And after ten years, I moved out of youth ministry at Springvale into a Communications and Special Projects role as I sought to determine where God was leading me next.

The last decade has been an unforgettable time in my life and development. I am incredibly blessed to serve in a local church that is willing to invest so strongly in the next generation. Tori and I are deeply thankful for all of the support, encouragement, training, and trust that Springvale has graciously extended to us over the years. It has been our home for most of our lives; and while God has been doing exciting things at Springvale, he has also been at work within us.

Ten years in a youth ministry role has taught me a lot about myself. What I'm great at and what I'm not so great at. What fills me with life and what sucks the life out of me. Where I thrive and where I feel out of place. While my passion for seeing the next generation be transformed by the love of God has stayed the same, my understanding of myself and my call has not.

As I looked backwards at my story and started to connect the dots, I began to discern a heart and call to Toronto; specifically to the next generation. I have long been interested in what it means to do ministry in our postmodern, post-christian Canadian context. Toronto is, in a very real way, a microcosm of the whole. How we do ministry here will shape how we do ministry across this country (and potentially beyond).

During the last year, an opportunity presented itself.

Youth Unlimited is an organization that I have admired from a distance for quite some time. Their belief in grassroots innovation, their holistic approach to life change, and their conviction that youth CAN transform the city around them are all values that I closely identify with. Through their 35+ distinct programs, YU works with about 2000 youth across the city every week, seeking to transform both individual lives and the communities of which they are a part.

After much conversation, meeting, listening, and prayer, Tori and I have agreed to follow God into a new chapter of our lives as I have accepted the position of Communications Coordinator for Youth Unlimited. There are several aspects to this role; but a significant part will be finding creative and compelling ways to connect the 'on the ground' stories with the bigger story of what God is doing through YU and sharing them with a wider audience.

This is an exciting opportunity that comes with its fair share of challenges. As a charitable organization, Youth Unlimited requires its employees to raise the costs of their salaries. As someone who has been reasonably comfortable financially for most of my life and struggles in asking people for help, this has been a source of a bit of anxiety for me as we sought to determine if this was the next step for us or not. We have come to believe that this is a place of trust that God is inviting us into that will radically transform us in the process.

So here we go. A new chapter begins. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers during this time and if you are interested in hearing more, I would love to talk further.

Thanks,

[photo credit, Ross Zurowski]