2008 – Doctor of Philosophy (Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN)
Department: Pastoral Care and Counseling, Youth and Family Ministry
2002 – Master of Arts (Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN)
Area: Youth and Family Ministry
1997 – Bachelor of Science (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
Major: Child Psychology
Assistant/ Associate Professor | Augsburg College | Minneapolis, MN| 2006 – present
- Teach intro Religion courses
- Teach Youth and Family Ministry (YFM) courses
- Administer the YFM program (major & minor)
- Internal and external recruitment of students for the YFM program
- Mentor and advise students in the YFM major, minor and courses
- Manage the David Huglen Strommen Endowment
- Direct the Youth and Public Church Initiative (YPCI), a project exploring community engagement as the primary method for congregational faith formation
- Direct the Augsburg College Youth Theology Institute (ACYTI), a week-long summer theology camp for high school youth
- Represent YFM program across college, within congregations, synods, regions and ELCA
- Christensen Center for Vocation Fellow(2013 – present)
- Program Director – Augsburg College Youth Theology Institute (2007-present)
Project Director | Samuel Service Project | Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN | 2004 – 2006
- Design and direct two-year service learning project for high school youth in partnership between Luther Seminary, Augsburg College, the Minneapolis and St. Paul Area Synods
- Write grant proposal to fully fund project
- Manage $100,000 grant over two years
- Recruit participatory teams of youth and adults from 10 congregations
- Design and implement quarterly training events for 10 congregational teams
- Evaluate and report program’s success
Adjunct Faculty | Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN | 2003 – 2004
- Design and teach three new youth ministry courses for the Theology department
- Mentor students and interns with an interest in entering full-time ministry
- Create and lead quarterly training events for students and area youth ministers
Director of Youth and Family Ministry | Christ Lutheran Church | Valparaiso, IN | 2000 – 2004
- Oversee all aspect of congregation’s ministry with 6th-12th graders
- Develop and implement 3-year Confirmation curriculum for 6th-8th graders
- Develop and implement mentoring ministry
- Develop and implement small group ministry for 6th-12th graders
- Recruit and train adult and youth leaders for small group and mentoring ministries
- Manage youth ministry budget
- Work with church staff and volunteers to create culture of advocacy for children & youth
- Partner with other congregations in the community on service and advocacy projects
- Plan and lead annual mission trips for approximately 30 participants
Director of Youth and Family Ministry| St. Philip’s Lutheran Church | Fridley, MN | 1997 – 2000
- Oversee all aspects of congregation’s ministry with 6th-8th graders
- Direct congregation’s afterschool program for 5th-8th graders
- Work in partnership with Fridley Middle School to ensure success of afterschool program
- Create and implement new small group Sunday school model for 6th-8th graders
- Create and implement new mid-week faith formation program for 6th-8th graders
- Recruit and train adult and youth leaders for afterschool, mid-week and Sunday school programs
- Oversee budget for middle school youth ministry and afterschool program
- Plan and lead annual mission trips for approximately 40 participants
- REL100: Christian Vocation and the Search for Meaning (Weekend College and Day School)
- REL210: Research Methods in Religion
- YFM205: Topics – (Service Learning in Youth and Family Ministry, Youth Ministry at Society’s Margins, Youth-led Community Organizing, Interfaith Youth Work in Christian Contexts)
- YFM207: Contextual Education
- YFM208: Vocational Formation I
- YFM209: Vocational Formation II
- YFM235: Foundations for Ministry with Youth and Families
- YFM305: Ministry Practices
- YFM358: Life and Work of the Church
- YFM399: Internship
- AUG101: Augsburg Freshman Seminar
Scholarly Contributions & Publications
- Adolescent experiences of God’s presence and activity
- Contemplative ministry practices
- Interfaith youth work
- Constructive theology of adolescents & young adults
- Vocational understanding of adolescence
- Public understanding of church
“A Church for the World,” Connect: Journal of Youth and Family Ministry (Winter 2014), 7-9.
“Teaching Interfaith Engagement as Faith Formation: Towards a Necessary Framework, Knowledge Base, and Skill Set,” The Journal of Youth Ministry 11:1 (Fall 2012), 65-88.
“Cultivating Faith through Interfaith Engagement,” Immerse: A Journal of Faith, Life and Youth Ministry 2, no. 2 (2011), 46-47.
“Ten Theses on Youth and the Church,” Dialog: A Journal of Theology 50, no. 2 (2011), 110-11.
“Have We Given Them Any Other Option?” Concord 32, no. 1 (2011), 12-13, 19.
“The Freedom of a Teenager: Vocation and Service Learning as the Future of Youth Ministry,” Dialog: A Journal of Theology 47, no. 4 (2008), 327-338.
“Discipleship Happens,” Connect: Journal of Youth and Family Ministry (Spring 2008), 5-6.
“Adolescent Experiences of Christ’s Presence and Activity in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,” Journal of Youth and Theology 7, no. 1 (2008), 27-43.
“Backyard and Beyond,” The Lutheran 20, no. 2 (February, 2007), 34-35.
“From Practical to Practicing: A New Adjective for Youth Ministry,” Clergy Journal 81, no. 5 (March 2005), 6-9
“Got Questions?” The Lutheran 16, no. 3 (March 2003), 40-43.
“Rooting Youth in the Spirit,” The Lutheran 15, no. 7 (July 2002), 32-33.
Getting Ready Materials, 2015 – Develop six-month curriculum for congregations sending youth and adults to the ELCA youth gathering in Detroit during July 2015 (expecting 25,000 participants).
Practice Discipleship Initiative, 2014 – Work in partnership with Dr. Colleen Windham-Hughes (California Lutheran University) to develop seven session training curriculum for children, youth and family ministers, pastors and volunteers to be delivered through in-person workshops and on-line webinars.
Practice Discipleship, 2013 – Develop seven session training curriculum for children, youth and family ministers, pastors and volunteers to be delivered through in-person workshops and on-line webinars.
Practice Discipleship, 2012 – Work in partnership with Dr. Terri Elton (Luther Seminary) and Tiger McLuen (Youth Leadership) to develop six session training curriculum for children, youth and family ministers, pastors and volunteers to be delivered through in-person workshops and on-line webinars.
Getting Ready Materials, 2009 – Develop six-month curriculum for congregations sending youth and adults to the ELCA youth gathering in New Orleans during July 2009 (35,000 participants).
“Mission Possible: Called to Serve Our Neighbor,” Keynote address for Northwest Minnesota Synod Middle School Retreat in Alexandria, MN. November 2014.
“Framing Youth: A Vocational-Theological Understanding of Adolescence,” a workshop presented at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network conference, St. Louis, MO. January 2014.
“Hearing the Call to the Public Square,” a day-long workshop for the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin’s Lay School of Ministry in Chippewa Falls, WI. January 2014.
“Framing Youth Vocationally” and “Framing Ministry Publically”, two half-day workshops presented at the Northeast Minnesota Synod’s Bishop’s Theological Conference in Duluth and Brainerd, MN. March, 2014.
“Going Public: Faith Formation in the Public Square for the Common Good,” a workshop presented at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network conference, Anaheim, CA. January 2013.
“Youth and Public Church Initiative,” colloquium at the Religious Education Association conference, Boston, MA. November 2013.
“Going Public: Faith Formation in the Public Square for the Common Good,” a workshop presented at the Minneapolis Area and St. Paul Area Synod’s joint Bishops’ Theological Conference in Trego, WI. September 2013.
“If the Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, then why are only the ‘nones’ rising?” Gustavus Adolphus College, Exploring Religious Questions, 2013
“Lutheran Theology: How is God at Work in the World?” a workshop presented at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network conference, New Orleans, LA. January 2012.
“Lutheran Theology: How Do Lutherans Read the Bible?” a workshop presented at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network conference, New Orleans, LA. January 2012.
“Public Youth Ministry,” five sessions offered over two weeks while on teaching staff at Holden Village Lutheran Retreat Center, Chelan, WA. July 2012.
“Rethinking Adolescence,” a 4-session, 3-day retreat for youth ministry professionals at Rainbow Trail Lutheran Bible Camp in Hillside, CO. March 2011
“Tingling Ears: Hearing God’s Word in an Age of Hypertext and the Hyperreal,” a 5-session, 2-day workshop presented at Rainbow Trail Lutheran Bible Camp in Hillside, CO. March 2011.
“Write On! Creating Engaging Curriculum for Your Church,” a workshop presented at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network conference, Kansas City, MO. January 2011
“Introduction to the Gospel of Matthew,” presented during the adult education hour at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church Minneapolis, MN. January 2011
“The Gospels and Their Context,” presented during the adult education hour at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church Minneapolis, MN. January 2011
“Christ and Community in Time and Space: Camping Ministry with Youth,” a presentation given as part of staff training at Ox Lake Lutheran Bible Camp, Amery, WI. May 2010
“Youth and Religion: From Apathy to Freedom,” presented during the adult education hour at Central Lutheran Church Minneapolis, MN. May 2010
“Keeping our Youth on the Street: Youth Ministry and Community Engagement,” a workshop presented at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network conference, Charlotte, NC. February 2010.
“Intro to Islam,” presented to confirmation students and parents at Trinity Lutheran Church, Long Lake, MN. January 2010
“Hearing our Youth into Scripture,” a workshop presented at Luther Seminary’s Book of Faith Jubilee in August 2009 and at Luther Seminary’s Mid-Winter Convocation in January 2010.
“On Teenage Liberty”, a 12 hour continuing education course for youth ministry professionals at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network conference, New Orleans, LA. January 2009
Keynote Speaker, Texas-Louisiana Synod Youth Worker/ Volunteer Training, August 2008
“The Freshness of God in the Lives of Our Youth,” a workshop presented at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network conference, Anaheim, CA. February 2008
“Implications for the Church, Ministry and Families,” talk given at St. Philip’s Lutheran Church in Fridley, MN. April 22, 2007
“The Current State of Youth and Religion,” talk given at St. Philip’s Lutheran Church in Fridley, MN. April 15, 2007
“The Current State of Youth and Religion,” talk given at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in St. Paul, MN. February 2007