What does being one of Pepperdine's 40 under 40 honorees mean to you?
In the eyes of Pepperdine and the alumni, I must be doing something right.
Describe your success:
I'm a young pastor at a great church in a neighborhood that experiences too much chaos. The first year of my ministry, someone was shot outside my apartment once every two weeks. I don't claim much personal success outside of the fact that I have made friends with the ones doing the shooting. What I am most excited about moving forward is the direction my church has chosen to take. Instead of retreating towards comfort and safety, my church is advancing towards the pain and violence in our neighborhood. One way we are doing this is by starting a residential urban ministry program called Uptown Porch, a residential program in the middle of Chicago. It's a year long program for 12 serious Christians (21 to 30 years old) who will experience life together in the city while learning what it means to be a servant to their neighbor in one of the most diverse corners in Chicago. If you care to learn more, check this out: www.uptownporch.org
How does Pepperdine play into your success?
People are infectious. If you are surrounded by great men and women it is only natural that you would catch their greatness. Pepperdine exposed me to great men and women. The University made it easy for me to sneak into the lives and circles of great men and women. And by God's grace, I think some of it rubbed off on me. To name a few who were great, Marv Dunphy (who should be president), Linda Truschke, Michael Lasley, Maurice Hilliard, and of course Cindy Cordner, a.k.a "world's best lunch lady."
Who inspires you and why?
Over the course of my life, my brothers have consistently inspired me. Aside from my brothers, most recently Phil Skei has inspired me. He is a pastor in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Fresno, California. His ministry (along with other amazing women and men) is lifting their neighborhood out of poverty and into hope. The church he pastors is called On Ramps Covenant Church. His ministry has inspired me to believe that the gospel can actually change lives, homes, neighborhoods, cities, countries, and the world. That's a powerful spirit to be possessed by.
What's next for you? What's your five year outlook? What's your ten year plan?
I minister in a neighborhood in need of healing. In the next five years I hope that the graduation rates increase significantly in my neighborhood, the gun violence drops by 50 percent, and people on the margins are brought into leadership within my church. In 10 years, I hope that I can inspire other churches to play a bigger role in lifting their neighborhoods out of poverty and violence and into healing and hope. A concrete goal of mine in 10 years is to plant several other residential urban ministry programs similar to one our church has started, Uptown Porch.
I hope to help change the way society in America perceives church. In 20 years I want the church to be so committed to Jesus' mission that local governments begin to ask Christians for help. I want non-Christians to plead to have a church planted in their neighborhood because they have discovered that if there is a church nearby then peace and prosperity will grow.
How do you prepare for a busy day?
Like anyone else I know, four scrambled eggs, a cup of coffee, and blasting Celine Dion in the morning.
What is one of your hobbies?
I love playing volleyball and tearing up the dance floor.
What is your favorite quote?
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
Also, "I'm too legit to quit."
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Collegiate volleyball coach