Will You Stand With Us?

In a previous post I shared about my friend Donteau Gladney, Sr. and a decision I made to stand with him on a project that he and I have talked about, dreamed of, and planned for many years.

The last two weeks we’ve talked about the details of the business plan. ll share more details about the F.O.M. business plan and September pilot project in a later post. In this post I simply want to share that we have a date set. More importantly, I want to ask you to consider joining me in standing together for friendship across race and culture and economics.

  • Friday, September 11, 2020: fly into Indianapolis, orientation
  • Saturday, September 12: work all day on the home renovation project
  • Sunday, September 13: visit urban churches in am, lunch, work afternoon & evening
  • Monday, September 14-Wednesday, September 16: home renovation.
  • Thursday, September 17th: fly home

What I’m most excited about is not the work project, or empowering my friend Donteau through business ownership, but it is building friendships and relationships across divides of culture, race, economics. Friendship is a great power and it can change the world. Would you prayerfully consider joining us?

Recover Gracefully or what to do when your plans change

This summer I was supposed to take a sabbatical. The elders at Redeemer graciously gave me three month away. Budget money was set aside to pay preachers and admin in my absence. Sunday, June 6, would be my “decommissioning,” releasing me to rest and renewal. My daughter Jackie and I planned a month long painting trip from San Diego up the west coast. This was going to be her senior trip, celebrating her graduation from Redmond high school and Bellevue College with an AA. Then Covid-19 hit and upended my well-wrought plans.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

The shutdown also messed with the climax of Jackie’s senior year as she’s mourned no prom (or prom dress), graduation ceremony, or senior overnighter. A few weeks ago I realized that I just couldn’t leave the help of leadership at Redeemer with so many unknowns this summer. I canceled my sabbatical. Jackie and I are not the only ones whose life has been upended because of Covid-19. There are many others who are grieving much more serious losses: like the loss of a job, or the death of a loved one. In some way, all of us are having to deal with loss and the change of our plans, maybe even the shattering of dreams.

One phrase that I learned from Jenny, who learned it from a congregation at Redeemer presbyterian in Indianapolis, has stuck in my mind and I want to share it with you. Melanie worked at AT & T. She shared with Jenny a phrase used in her workplace, and we’ve used in our family life ever sense: recover gracefully. I don’t know precisely what they meant at AT & T, but I can tell you what that phrase has come to mean to us. Recover gracefully means that when hard things happen, when you melt down and fall apart, when your world comes crashing down, when you experience trauma, in short, when bad things happen you can recover from them with grace.

There are three steps to recovering gracefully. These are steps Jackie and I are walking as I write.

Step One: Make plans and mourn the change to or loss of those plans

One approach to life being out of our control is not to make plans at all. At least then you don’t have to deal with disappointment and loss. If you don’t have expectations, you can’t be hurt. Go with the flow. Chill. Surf whatever waves come your way. While it is true that it is possible to over plan and falsely believe you are in control, this is more often a strategy to avoid pain or loss. And that’s not the way to live life.

Our days are short. We should number the accurately, and live intentionally and purposefully and wholeheartedly in the few days allotted us by our sovereign God. This requires us to plan, map out our days, set goals, even dream. I believe that we should make plans, dream big dreams, and have hopes and expectations for the future. Having hope in your future is part of what it means to be a Christian, to have faith, to believe in God. Hopes, dreams and expectations open your heart to hurt. Yes, that is true. But we should not avoid hurt, but rather process the inevitable pain and hurt of our losses and disappointments with God. This is called grieving, mourning and lamenting. It is not something we do well in the west. But the Psalms of the Old Testament show us how.

The best place to learn how to process your emotions is the book of Psalms. They model what to do with your interior. They say: don’t stuff your emotions and don’t be dominated by your emotions. Instead, come to God with your emotions. Open your heart to God, share your anger, fears, joys, and longings with God. God is able to handle your emotions. You can melt down with God. You can fall apart with God. You can dump on God. You can yell at God. You can grieve with God. You can dare to be real with God. The Psalms, in short, give you emotional breadth, a language of the soul to verbalize to God. If your emotional life lacks breadth, if you are out of touch with your emotions, if your emotions take you on a roller coaster every day, if you don’t know how to grieve, or if you are compromised by anxiety and fear, then there is nowhere better to go than the Psalms. Read them, preferably out loud. Say the words, even if you don’t feel the emotions. Grieve with the psalmist even if grieving feels unnatural.

Mourning and Grieving My Sabbatical Loss

One of the hang ups we have to mourning and grieving and lamenting our losses is that we tell ourselves in the big scheme of things they’re really not that big or bad. In comparison to other’s losses, the no big deal. We just need to toughen up and move on. I disagree. This approach de-legitimizes the reality of the loss itself and the sadness of it. More importantly, it robs you of a chance to run to God to process.

So Yes, I realize that a three month sabbatical is a high privilege, and the loss of it a rather small matter in the grand scheme of things. But it is a loss, my loss. And in a way, Jackie’s too. A dream trip we would have shared in this summer is canceled. To process this loss, I’m going to share here on paper, what the Sabbatical plan was so that I can mourn its loss.

June 29, Tuesday: Pack. Jason and Jackie leave for Salem, OR (4 hour drive).

June 30, Wednesday: Hang in Salem with family

July 1, Thursday: Drive to San Diego (9.5 hours). Stay at B & B.

July 2, Friday: Paint in morning @ mission basilica san diego de alcala. Visit Coronodo Island. Dinner in Gas lamp district. Also visit beach, Balboa Park.

July 3, Saturday: Leave early, drive to LA. Take Ferry to Catalina Island. Paint on Catalina.

July 4, Sunday: Church on Catalina. Ferry back to LA. Stay with Seiko Konya

July 5, Monday: Paint in LA; See the sights. Stay with Seiko

July 6, Tuesday: Drive to Santa Barbara. Paint in the Evening. B & B in Santa Barbara

July 7, Wednesday: Paint “Our Lady of Sorrows” Catholic Church. B & B in Santa Barbara

July 8, Thursday: Drive to Morro Beach. Camp.

July 9, Friday: Paint & hike in Morro Beach State Park.

July 10, Saturday: Camp at Silver Peak Wilderness. Paint.

July 11, Sunday: Camp at Silver Peak Wilderness. Paint.

July 12, Monday: Drive to Big Sur. Camp. Paint & Hike

July 13, Tuesday: Explore & Paint Big Sur. Camp.

July 14, Wednesday: Drive to Carmel by the Sea. Air B & B. Jacob Swearingen joins us. Meet & Tour with Levi Breck

July 15, Thursday: Carmel by the Sea. Paint & Explore. Hang with Jacob Swearingen. Air B & B.

July 16, Friday: Carmel by the Sea to San Francisco via “Half Moon Bay” (2 hour drive). Spend day in San Francisco. Photograph/Paint in Sausolito. Dinner with Jonathan Eldridge

July 17, Saturday: Breakfast in San Francisco to Fort Bragg, CA (4 hours). Paint & Photograph @ Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg to Eureka, CA. (3 hours, 17 minutes)

July 18, Sunday: Find church and relax

July 19, Monday: Drive through Redwoods. Paint in the Redwoods. Crescent City (1.5 hours),  or north to Coos Bay, OR (8.5 hours)  

July 20, Tuesday: Crescent City to Lincoln City and Wallace Family Gathering @ Seacrest, OR (5 hours)

July 21, Wednesday, Seacrest, OR: Wallace Family gathering, play at beach

July 22, Thursday, Seacrest, OR: Wallace Family gathering, play at beach

July 23, Friday: Salem, OR: Wallace Family gathering, day trip

July 24, Saturday: Drive to Warm Springs, OR for youth mission

July 25, Sunday: Warm Springs, OR

July 26, Monday: Warm Springs, OR

July 27, Tuesday: Warm Springs, OR

July 28, Wednesday: Jackie in Warm Springs, OR/Jason leave Warm Springs early to Cluxewe.

The biggest loss for me is not that we won’t be visiting these places, or painting. It’s that we won’t have the chance to spend time the people in them. For example, my high school friend Jacob Swearingen was going to meet us in Carmel “By the Sea”, CA, to fulfill a decades old oath that we would meet up there one day in the future. And we’re still hoping to join Jenny’s side of the family on the Oregon Coast for a few days. But still there’s a lot of loss, so I grieve.

Heavenly Father, it’s sad to cancel the Sabbatical and this painting tour with Jackie. It was going to be a dream trip, once-in-a-lifetime. It’s confusing. So much of life is upended. I know you’re in control and that you have a good plan for our lives, but I don’t know your plan and am in the dark. Still I trust you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The first step in recovering gracefully is making plans to live out your calling, hopes and dreams, and to mourn and grieve and lament when those plans change and dreams are shattered. That’s what it means to trust God, and walk daily with your Father. He’s OK with you being sad, even mad at him. He cares about you and your heart.

I’ll cover Steps Two and Three in my next blog.

The Implications of Friendship

This week I joined a call with pastor’s processing the tragic shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, talking about race and racism, and what we could and should do to as pastors. As the call went on I found myself first sad, then angry, then flat out pissed off. I’m not going to say the pastors were wrong in how they were processing. I’m just saying where I was at, and that my anger drove me to do something that I’ll share in a moment.

I bit my tongue because I knew that I would just go off if I said anything and say something stupid. I ended up leaving the call early and called my friend, Donteau, and vented. To understand our friendship, here is the back story.

My son Julian was playing on the freshman basketball team at Tech High School in Indianapolis, IN, when I first met Donteau. I noticed this guy with long dreads because he was one of the few dads that showed up. At one game we talked. I learned Donteau was the father of one of the star players on the team and that he had recently been released from Federal prison. He went out on a limb and asked if I could help him get work. I took his phone number and promised to try. I called friends to see if they had work leads. My brother Jed, who was doing handy-man jobs, said Donteau could help him. He started working with Jed. That was the beginning of our friendship. Donteau was from the hood. I was living in a gentrified neighborhood. But our boys were going to the same school and playing on the same team and we bonded over that. He shared his story of a broken family, a mom trying to hold things together, poverty, selling drugs, the streets and eight years of Federal prison. It was also a story of an incredible image bearer who was smart, had a great personality, a great dad, and a father figure to scores of kids.

Over the next two years, our friendship deepened. He brought me into his life and family. I asked him questions about life and ministry. His answers were wise. He called me Big Bro, and I called him Little Bro. Unfortunately, Donteau broke parole and had to serve another eighteen months. I took him to the courthouse to turn himself in. We stopped at Tech HS to say goodbye his son Donteau Jr.  That was the year that the Tech basketball team won the Indiana State basketball tournament. Donteau Jr. played for the varsity team. My son Julian played for the JV team. After Donteau got locked up, his son Jai’ On, who everyone called Onnie, lived with us till the end of the school year. I wrote Donteau letters to keep him abreast of the season and his sons, visited him in prison, and met with him when he was at a halfway house in Indianpolis. When he was at the half-way house, I helped him start an organization, Faith of a Mustard Seed (FOM), which aimed to mentor men and young men through work and sports. We partnered to hold a basketball camp to connect kids from my church and from the hood to make bridges and give strong adult role models. We started a basketball and character skills mentoring time in the church gym for middle school and high school youth.

On May 1st, 2015, Jenny and I hosted a party to celebrate Donteau’s release from the half-way house, his clear record and the next chapter of his life. In June, we met for burgers. I cried when I told him that I had accepted a call to be pastor of a church in Redmond, WA. It hurt to say goodbye to my friend. I asked him to drive the moving truck with me from Indy to Redmond. We took the three day cross country trip at the end of August and had many adventures along the way, including a helicopter ride over the Badlands of South Dakota. We had lots of time on our hands so we told stories and “spit” lines of rap songs we made up. When we were about an hour from Redmond the sadness of saying goodbye to our Indy congregation, the African-American community that had welcomed and embraced us, and Donteau flooded over me. I could not hold back my tears. Donteau might have cried a few tears too.

Before I moved, Donteau and I had made plans for me to stand with him, and support him, in a “social purpose” business venture: to buy homes at good prices in Indy, to recruit volunteers to work alongside African American youth and mentor them in home construction (life on life). The dream was to sell these home at an affordable price to empower the poor through home ownership, building wealth in the African American community, and renewed pride in the neighborhood. Downtown Indy neighborhoods were rapidly gentrifying, driving out the poor who had lived in them before. We planned to keep the cost down by rallying men to volunteer their time and expertise, and to build relationships by bringing black and white men together in a common cause, learning to understand each other, build friendships like Donteau’s and mine.

But when I moved, the legs were cut out from under the plan. Donteau did buy a house and worked with youth on the renovations. But the power of the plan was us working together, standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity, bringing other men and youth into our friendship.

So after the Zoom call with the pastors I called Donteau, vented, then I said. Donteau,

Let’s Do This!

We’re going for this! I plan to spend a week of my vacation, the week when I’m in Indy for the exclusive screening of We are Family, and work on helping Donteau finish up a house that he has on the near west side of Indy. The dream is that house will be home base for FOM (Faith of a Mustard Seed). We’re talking daily and figuring things out. I’m planning to rally other men for Washington to join me for this week of work.

My friendship with Donteau has implications for my life. I’m about to drag some of my friends into those implications with me. I have no idea what I’m doing, but LET’S DO THIS!

Thankful for Green Lake Presbyterian Church and for the chance to share the Name with my brothers from that church.

I’m thankful to be speaking at a virtual retreat at Trinity Church, Seattle, at the end of May. The last five days, I’ve worked hard on another full edit of The Name so the guys at the retreat could have the best possible version. As I worked through the document, line by line, page by page, I realized afresh the impact Trinity (then Green Lake Presbyterian Church, GLPC) had on Jenny and my formation in ministry. It is woven in the stories throughout the book.

Jenny’s breakthrough to the gospel at a Sunday Evening prayer meeting on Easter Sunday, 2000, happened in and through the community of grace at GLPC. I tell that story in Chapter Three. I share about my subsequent breakthrough when I dared to be the broken man I am in Chapter Seven. The GLPC community had shown me it was safe to do that. Then there is the story of my friendship with Nathan Partain, which, again, began at GLPC and concludes the chapter on work. The chapter and tool on place has a number of stories tied to GLPC. From how God called us from Seattle to Indy, how God used Rev. Michael Kelly in my life, how we learned to be fully present where God planted us from saying goodbye to our Seattle friends and congregation.

My understanding of the grace of Jesus, conviction that Christian leadership means being the “chief repenter,” heart for urban ministry, and, most importantly, witnessing how the church is a community of broken people who dare to be honest about their mess because they know how much they are loved and accepted by God was a kind of launch pad for my pastoral ministry.

In light of how my story is so interwoven with GLPC I can only marvel at God’s promise that GLPC is the first church, outside of the two churches I’ve served as lead pastor of, where I get to present some of the material. I wonder if I should be surprised. After all, I believe in the sovereign LORD, whose providence directs all things for his glory.

So today I’m thankful for a community of grace that had a big impact in shaping me and my ministry, thankful that I can give back back in some small way, and thankful that I get to hang with these cool folks.

Is there a vaccine for the virus of shame and pride?

There’s lots of talk today about the need for a vaccine for coronavirus. It is a serious disease and I hope a vaccine is discovered soon. But I’m more concerned about two much more destructive viruses: shame and pride. These spiritual viruses are far more pervasive, insidious, and deadly. They infect almost every act that stirs moral outrage today, but no task force has been formed. Science isn’t racing for a cure. If there was a test for shame and pride, most of us would be in lockdown. But there is a potent cure: God’s love.

God’s love heals your shame

God’s love for you in Jesus Christ heals your shame. Your shame is founded in the real guilt you have as a son or daughter of Adam and Eve, the stain of original sin. Until your guilt is dealt with, there is no possible way to cleanse the defilement of shame. This is, of course, precisely what God’s love for us through Jesus does.  God once and for all addressed your guilt. Yes, you are an inheritor of Adam’s sin. Yes, you are a sinner at the core. And yet, at the very same time God says, “I love you and sent my Son into the world to save you from your sins. My beloved Son, Jesus,  died on the cross in your place, He took upon himself your guilt. When you place your trust in him, you are no longer condemned. I cover you with Jesus’ righteousness.  You are holy and blameless in my sight.” Don’t you see? Even though you are a sinner and unworthy, you are loved by your Heavenly Father. He loved you before the creation of the world. And he is permanently committed to you. He adopted you into his family and gave you his name. He clothes you in Jesus’ beauty; you are clean, spotless, holy before God. You are loved by the only one in the universe whose opinion of you matters. He delights in you. He is crafting you to be a masterpiece for his glory. The message of God’s love for you in Jesus deals with the underlying issue of guilt. It is the only cleansing potent enough to eradicate the fact of your guilt and wash away the pollution of your shame.

Let me speak personally to you. You may feel unlovable, unwanted, even defiled. But God’s love can heal you. It reveals your shame as untruth. You are God’s treasured possession, irrevocably loved by God. Your Heavenly Father delights in YOU, with all the baggage you bring. Accept God’s love. Come trembling out of the dark, into the light. Share the specific ways you have fallen short. God already knows them and still loves you. God’s love is everlasting. It sets you free from the need to immediately get it all right. He will complete the work of transforming you into your unique expression of the beauty of Jesus. Make God’s love the lens by which you see yourself, not shame. His love validates you. Defines you. Encircles you. Bask in it. Let its balm heal the sores of your shame, wash away your pollutions, scrub clean your defilements. Lift up your head with confidence and joy. You are God’s never-ending delight. He not only loves you, he likes you. 

God’s love humbles your pride 

God’s love is also a power able to destroy your pride. It attacks pride at its root. How does it do so? It brings you to the foot of the cross. The cross is God’s final word on who  you are. You are so wicked,  so uniquely depraved and so impotent to save yourself that it took the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of the Son of God to rescue you. You are lost. You need a Savior. The cross is also the demonstration of God’s unconditional love. God does not love you because you are beautiful, moral or worthy. You are not. You are unworthy, depraved, broken. He loves you not based on your merit, for you have none, but freely, of his own gracious will. God’s love crushes all boasting. Salvation is of God, not you! If there was some distinguishing merit in you that made you worthy of God’s love, then you could boast. But salvation is by grace. It comes to you as gift. It is received, not earned.

By God’s love, your pride is brought low, and boasting silenced. When God’s unmerited, undeserved, and unconditional love is accepted by you, the back of pride is broken. At the foot of the cross, where God demonstrated once and for all His gracious love for sinners, you are humbled. You confess that you are a sinner rightly deserving the wrath of God. At the foot of the cross, you feel God’s love in the most powerful way. You taste the forgiveness of sins, are adopted into God’s family and receive the gift of the Spirit. Held in the arms of God’s love, you can let go of your pride. You can rest like a child rests, dependent and happy in the arms of her father.

On the Photographs

I took these photographs of Jackie last week at Mom and Dad’s home. They are part of the series of senior pictures we are taking. I think they turned out great.  

Identity Mapping History

I took myself through a process of naming my identity and setting goals for the coming year, what I now call Identity Mapping, for the first time while on vacation in Sun River, OR, July, 2003. We were vacationing with Jenny’s side of the family at a home of family friends. Early each morning, I rode a bike to the donut shop, sat down with coffee and a maple bar and journaled. I had no idea that this would be anything more than a personal process.

It became my annual rhythm each summer. In 2008, I started taking people from my Redeemer Indianapolis congregation through what I now call “Identity Discovery” sessions. Really what they are is this: I listen for about two hours to a person sharing their story and ask follow up questions. I suggest a few words that seem to me to sum up who God crafted them to be, including their wounds and superpowers. I encouraged them to embrace who they are for God’s glory because they uniquely reflect and represent him.

These discovery sessions were meaningful, but they felt insufficient. So I started to take congregation members through material that I had written. In September 2012, the first Identity Mapping cohort launched. That first cohort of about twelve, studied early drafts of the curriculum, over thirty Sundays. We had a lot of fun, and I learned a lot from their input. I began to spend time with artist and theologian Barb Knuckles. She had participated in that first cohort. Barb and I had long conversations about personhood and identity. I learned much from her.

Marcia Newman, who also participated in that first cohort, began to assist me as the coach for the women. She was a professional coach and brought a lot of experience and excellence to the table. We eventually nailed down five coaching sessions, one for each sphere of responsibility: personal, family, work, community and place.

identity-mapping-retreat-7

A grant from Tim Shapiro at the Indianapolis Center for Congregations helped us develop capacity for the Identity Mapping ministry. The grant funded Sonship training for the coaches, and a retreat. In January, 2014, we held the first Identity Mapping retreat at Twin Oaks Lodge in Brown County, IN.

In July 2014, the elders at Redeemer gave me a month long writing retreat on Camano Island, WA. Over that month, I compiled my writings in 32 chapters. The first draft of the Identity Mapping handbook was officially completed.

In Spring 2015, an advisory committee led by Redeemer congregation member Mike Jones began to meet with me to offer advice on the next steps of the Identity Mapping ministry.  Different models for the Identity Mapping ministry were researched but no final decision was made. The committee clarified that Identity Mapping was a discipleship curriculum that should be made available to Christians outside of the Redeemer congregation.They recommend the first step be a professionally produced handbook, and raised a significant amount of money for that project. Committee members stepped up to the plate: Tom Peck designed the layout of The Name.

David Lichty provided creative editing.

identity-mapping-retreat-5

Barb Knuckles illustrated The Name. There are over 50 illustrations, each specially handcrafted by Barb. We call them “theological illustrations” because they bear so much rich biblical theology. They are perfect to be colored. Over the years people have made beautiful colorings of Barb’s illustrations, each as unique as they are!

barb-knuckles

In May 2015, I accepted a call to pastor Redeemer in Redmond, WA. It was hard to tell this to the advisory committee. I started at Redeemer Redmond in September, 2015. This put a hold on the Identity Mapping ministry for a couple of years. In January 2016, I flew back to Indy to enjoy a last retreat with my friends and fellow pilgrims. That was a sweet time, especially the long, lingering meals with laughter and stories. But it was also bittersweet. Things were never going to be the same. I’m so thankful for the support from Day One of the Redeemer, Indy, congregation. I owe them a debt of gratitude as the birthplace of Identity Mapping. Thank you!

In September 2016, I took the first cohort from Redeemer Redmond on the Identity Mapping discipleship journey. Jenny Dorsey agreed to be my assistant in coaching the women. Marty Cosgrove joined our team as administrator of the class, and a coach of the women. Jim Gibons also joined the team to help me coach the men. It’s been so great to have Jenny at my side. She’s an incredibly gifted as a coach. I love to see her in her sweet spot listening to women, calling for their strength and glories, cheering them on in grace.

cohort-1-3

In July 2017, based on great feedback from cohort participants at Redeemer Redmond, I did a major rewrite of The Name. The biggest changes were that I pulled out the Jacob story. It now is the basis of a second book focused on the family sphere. I also took the twelve chapters on the Bible’s story of creation, fall, redemption and restoration and made them one chapter. The Name now has a prelude, fourteen chapters, and postlude. Each chapter is accompanied by a Gospel tool to apply the chapter’s teaching.

I had planned to launch a website as a platform for the Identity Mapping ministry in September, 2020. However, Covid-19 and the Stay at Home, Stay Safe order changed my plans. I realized that I had a window of opportunity. So I got focused and am thrilled that as of May, 2020, the Identity Mapping website and Facebook group are launched.

I want to thank all the collaborators who came alongside and cheered me on, challenged me, sharpened me, and made this material better. The pilgrimage with each of you has been a joy!

Introducing Myself

I’m Jason Dorsey, a husband of twenty-eight years, father of four great kids, three sons and a daughter, and a presbyterian pastor.

My wife, Jenny, has been my strong ally since we were married June 20, 1992 in Redding, CA. Here’s a picture of us the day we first held hands: Valentines Day, February 14, 1988.

I grew up on beautiful Camano Island in Puget Sound, Washington, in a family of artists. Art has been a part of my life from my earliest days. Here’s a video that shares that part of my story.

I attended Stanwood High School, Stanwood, WA, Class of 1987. My spiritual awakening the summer after I graduated from SHS directed my steps to Corban University, in Salem, OR, where I double majored in the humanities and Bible. After Corban, I still didn’t have a very clear plan for my life. But dear family friends said I could stay with them in Chicago. While there I attend Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I graduated from Trinity in 1995 with a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Systematic Theology. I wrote my thesis on the nature of tradition in the theology of Georges Florovsky. The family friends I lived with in Chicago were leaders of a missionary organization and invited me to live with them in Moscow, Russia for a few months in 1992. Since then I’ve had an interest in Russia, Dostoyevsky, Orthodox architecture and theology, and currently have the privilege of serving on the board of Mission Eurasia.

In November, 1997 I was ordained in the Pacific Northwest Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America. I served for five years as an assistant pastor at Green Lake Presbyterian, now Trinity (1997-2002). I served as lead pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in downtown Indianapolis for thirteen years (2002-2015). A big part of my calling in Indianapolis was to work for the renewal of Indianapolis Public Schools. Here’s a little bit of that story. I’m completing a documentary that tells the story of an inner city high school basketball team that won the state championship against all odds and inspired a city in doing so. I’m hoping to have a screening of that documentary titled We are Family in the summer of 2020. 

In the summer of 2003, I took myself through a process of mapping my identity and setting goals. I began to take my parishioners through this process and built out the content. I now call it Identity Mapping. In Indy, an advisory team provided valuable feedback on how to take the Identity Mapping discipleship curriculum beyond the walls of the church I pastored. They catalyzed the creation of the Identity Mapping curriculum, called The Name.

the-name-cover-4

In January 2015, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I took a call to serve at Redeemer in Redmond, WA so I could be there for my mom and dad. I also decided to move forward with an art studio that I had dreamed of on a plot of land just south of my parent’s home on Camano. I have the fun of serving as the Artistic Director of Sunnyshore Studio.

Over the years I have fine-tuned the Identity Mapping curriculum, led many cohorts through it, coached many people, and had the joy of leading Identity Discovery sessions. I’m glad that finally, so many years since I first began, I have a well trod path to walk journey and the joy of helping them embrace their unique identity in Jesus Christ and step courageously into their calling.