Growing up in the hills of southeastern Indiana, Justin spent the past 12 years serving in a wide-variety of ministry settings in Indiana, Oklahoma, California and Illinois. Justin received a B.A. from Taylor University in Christian Ministries, an M.A. in Leadership and Organizational Studies, and is currently finishing his M.Div. at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Justin is in the final leg of the ordination process for Minister of Word and Sacrament with the Presbyterian Church (USA). In 2001, he married his college sweetheart Sarah who has served on several university campuses across the country in the field of Student Development and is currently serves as a Resident’s Director at Trinity Christian College while working on her licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Justin’s favorite activities in life are sampling new restaurants, reading anything that is even slightly interesting, and taking walks with his wife Sarah and his dog Vanilla.
M. Div. Divinity
McCormick Theological Seminary—Chicago, IL
M. A. Leadership and Organizational Studies
Fresno Pacific University—Fresno, CA
Concentration: Conflict Management
Thesis Title: Consumerism & The Christian Practice of Stewardship
B. A. Christian Ministries
Taylor University—Fort Wayne, IN
Concentration: Christian Education Minor: Biblical Literature
Columbine United Church—Littleton, CO
My primary duty is serving as the principal pastoral care provider to families with children. This entails overseeing the children, youth, and family ministry area, supervising staff and volunteers working with families and their children, directing programs, and providing spiritual formation experiences. In addition, I preach at Columbine's three distinct worship services 12-15 times annually, share in pastoral visitation responsibilities, serve on the church leadership council, and work with several committees.
Family Life Ministries Coordinator
Christ United Methodist Church—Deerfield, IL
I served as the coordinator for family ministries at Christ UMC. My duties included overseeing the children’s ministry—Sunday School, seasonal faith formation activities (Advent Workshops, Lenten Prayer Labs, etc.), children’s productions such as Christmas Pageant, Vacation Bible School, and more—and the ministry programs for teenagers such as Confirmation, Sunday School, formational events such as retreats and bible studies, mission trips, and service projects. I implement programs that were all-family inclusive so that parents and children could participate in congregational life together and that helped families bring spiritual formation into the home. In addition, I served on the Church Council, lead the Family Life Committee, served on the Creative Worship Committee, provided leadership in the areas of hospitality and member integration, and preached 6-8 times per year.
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary—Fresno, CA
I co-instructed PM 650—Missional Church Leadership with another adjunct faculty member. We redesigned the syllabus for the class, re-tooled the assignments and projects, and created new teaching material for the course. The course teaches seminary students the new competencies required for ministering in the changing church and cultural environment. We addressed the many emerging realities facing families in today’s congregations, creating partnerships in the community, and leading volunteers in the modern non-profit organization.
Director of Youth Ministries & Congregational Resourcing
University Presbyterian Church—Fresno, CA
I served in a multi-faceted position working with youth, families, urban programs, stewardship, and organizational re-visioning. This entailed focusing the church on family-based programming, intergenerational involvement, and interfaith dialog; creating vocational conversations with families; developing curriculum that engaged students in ways faith impact daily realities including social justice and community service issues; and crafting rites of passage for teenagers and their families. I worked to create and develop SNAP—an urban neighborhood program that provides supplemental educational and recreational programming for at-risk children and teens. I led the congregation's stewardship team in new fundraising practices that produced high-levels of volunteer involvement. As well, I was part of the emerging worship service team where I served in a teaching and preaching role, as well as partnering to creative imaginative worship and prayer experiences. Finally, I served on an organizational audit team evaluating the effectiveness of staffing and leadership structures, organizational processes, and ministry strategies where I restructured our congregation for family-based programming.
Grace Christian School—Tulsa, OK
I instructed classes in the following subjects: Bible, Public Speaking, Drama, and Computer Applications. In addition to these responsibilities I produced and directed high school drama productions and coached a drama and speech competition team that competed in the state and region. As well, I served as a leadership advisor for sophomore class officers and helped facilitate fund-raising and events.
Cornerstone Alliance Church—Roanoke, IN
I supervised and taught many different classes and age groups using a variety of teaching strategies and methods. As the coordinator of the youth programs, I expanded the number of programs and increased attendance from eight to twenty-five within three months. In addition to these duties, I created and redesigned church publications to be outreach oriented, mentored youth through small groups and on a personal one-on-one basis, coordinated small group ministries and trained small group leaders. My administrative duties consisted of supervising ministry teams, youth council, and the student leadership team. Finally I directed the Christian education department. Periodic preaching assignments, pastoral visitation, and counseling were also assigned to me.
Dearborn Baptist Church—Aurora, IN
Dearborn Baptist Church—Aurora, IN
My principal duties were coordinating staff development sessions each week on doing ministry in the 21st century church—a cutting edge topic at the time, directing the summer youth ministry program where I coordinated young adults to serve and lead youth ministry, and creating new curriculum for adult education classes on evangelism and social justice. In addition, I preached several times throughout the summer, and taught various adult and young adult Sunday School classes.
Campus Life Volunteer
Youth for Christ—Fort Wayne, IN
My start in youth ministry was serving as a volunteer for Youth for Christ at Elmhurst High School in Fort Wayne. Each week, I coordinated games, led small groups, and welcomed students from diverse backgrounds. Serving over 100 students in our meetings each week, I learned pastoral care and counseling as the leaders took small groups of students for pizza each week.
Training & Certifications
Ordination in Presbyterian Church (USA)—June 2011
I am an ordained minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Prepare/Enrich Certified Counselor—June 2008
Prepare/Enrich is a premarital and marital counseling program. This certification allows me to do counsel individual couples and provide group instruction using the curriculum.
Basic Institute in Conflict Management & Mediation—January 2006
This training fosters skills in managing mediations between individuals, as well as providing conflict management for organizations. I received special training in church conflict management.
Rock Harbor Church—Costa Mesa, CA
Rock Harbor is a congregation of over 7,000 people in southern California and is considered to be one of the most innovative churches in North America. The department of Involvement and Integration needed my services in order to revamp several of their membership classes regarding topics, structure of classes, methods of teaching, and roadmaps for integrating new members into the life of the congregation.
College Community Church—Fresno, CA
This United Church of Christ congregation was struggling to develop a new worship service and ministry to young adults in the Fresno community. Using a narrative-based approach that sought to harvest the indigenous values, vision, and strategies from the congregation’s DNA, I helped them put together a strategic plan for starting an emergent-based worship service that was unique to their congregation but also reached out to young adults in new ways.
As with many mission organizations oversees, the Navigators in Thailand were struggling to find ways to reach out to youth, utilize technological innovations, and more efficiently function as an organization. I was a part of a two-person consultant team that analyzed their current strategies. In the end, we overhauled the ways they used technology to better target teenagers as well as recommended concrete implementation steps for establishing new dialogue with several youth organizations and government agencies in Thailand.
Mennonite World Conference
The conference is composed of many Mennonite groups all around the world that work in communion together to accomplish the task and goals of Mennonite theology and values. As part of a four person consultant team, I analyzed the technological and communication functions of the organization assessing past and current practices, as well as recommending very specific communication and technological strategies that would enhance ministry cooperation and teamwork while also better utilizing funding in order to be a more efficient organization.
Sort, Keep, and Toss: A Road through the Resource Pile
Publisher: Immerse Journal. July/August 2010.
If These Walls Could Talk: Providing a Linguistic Framework around Sexuality
Publisher: The Journal of Student Ministries. July/August 2007.
Doctrine as Scripting Agent
Publisher: The Journal of Student Ministries. September/October 2006.
Reprinted by Immerse Journal in June 2010