Sunday, November 20, 2011

NYWC Post #1

I just returned from NYWC and there are quite a few things stirring in my soul. I'm going to be flushing some of those ideas out on this blog. Before the conference I penned a few questions I wanted to wrestle with durring the weekend. I also asked 3 fellow journeyers to pitch in some thoughts: Johnny Davy - my traveling partner for the weekend, Alex - my brother and Kelly - my ministry accomplish. Here is the list we came up with for Youth Forum and myself:

1. How does Youth Forum serve the Summer Festival Team? Right Now? 3 months? 6? 1 Year? 3?
2. What is the vision for project Utah?
3. What is the long term vision of Youth Forum?
4. How can we better promote camp?
5. Camp topics? Fun Idea Topics?
6. What is good database software?
7. How do I regularly become challenged theologically?
8. What does personal bible study look like for me?
9. What are you going to do for the teaching at Link
10. What does ministering to post-modern christians look like?
11. What is YF SWOT right now?
12. How do we minister to hurting young people, with out sacrificing main streamers
13. How can we continue to use new technology to connect with teenager?
14. How do we have meaningful conversation with over stimulated youth?
15. What do you do with confirmands who should not be confirmed?
16. How do we change confirmation to more like the early church?
17. What is the role of morality for christian and non-Christians? Summer Fest Team?
18. How do we show family love in a team setting? How to we heal outliers?

This is what rattling around in my head over the weekend. It was great. Glad to be back. I will be processing a lot of these on the blog?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Executive Committee Celabration

Tonight, I had the chance to have a very fancy dinner with a group of people who've I've grown  rather fond of spending time with, the Youth Forum executive committee. This a group of people who've thrown their arms around me and want to see our ministry succeed. They are very smart and have invested a lot of time, energy, love, prayers and patience with me. If you are in ministry - find people like this. It's so life giving to be invited to be a part of a community of Jesus people who are so faithful and so in tune to what God would have for us. They are the shoulders of giants which this camp generation stands on.

They insisted that I read Dance, Children, Dance: The story of Jim Rayburn founder of Young Life

The book sounds pretty foundational to understanding the movement that Youth Forum spawned out of.  I've been quite burnt out on reading, but need to follow through with this one. I will post some thoughts on it in a future post.

God is faithful. For such a time is this. Can't wait for what will soon prove to be a crazy year of following God.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Welcome back Koter

3 months to the day since my last post. Life happens, well more accurately camp happens.

Camp is no longer the dominating force in my life for a few months. I hope to start blogging again. I have some crazy stories to tell, some thoughts to try and flush out, some programing to share and a heck of a lot of rambling to do.

My buddy Dan just got hired at Tout, a new social media company - kinda of like video twitter. It's pretty dang cool.

my tout is

dan's is

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Draft of the Summer Bucket List

Last summer, I started the tradition of creating a bucket list of things to do before Summer kicks the buckets. Between memorial day and labor day, I will try and accomplish as many things on this list that I can.

2011 Summer Bucket List - Draft 1

1. Hold a newborn baby
2. Watch a horse race 
3. Ride a roller coaste
4. See a movie on a roof top
5. See a theater production in the outdoor
6. Go to a baseball game in the rain
7. Call a friend you haven't talked to in 3 months
8. Watch the Sun-Rise
9. Go on a picnic
10. Try at least 3 new non-chain restaurants 
11.  Pay for the person behind you in the drive through
12. Get an autograph of a celebrity
13. Get 50 Postcards from 50 states
14. Learn a new parlor game
15. Order off the menu at a restaurant
16. Wine Tasting
17. Drive in Movie Theater
18. Watch Wizard of the OZ With Dark Side of the Moon
19. Play Chess in a park
20. Drink a Pina Colada and get caught in the rain
21. Get on TV
22. Slow Dance in the moonlight
23. Respectfully attend the funeral of stranger
24. Volunteer for a day at a food shelf
25. Milk a cow
26. Cut someone else's hair
27. Tip a canoe
28. Watch a season of a show your parents liked
29. Ask your grandparent to tell you a story
30. Make a Sculpture
31. Make a treasure map to find something you buried
32. Visit someone else's church 
33. Tell some jokes at an open mic night 
34. Rent a bike from NiceRide
35. Design a T-Shirt 
36. Do someone else's laundry 
37. Start a squirt gun fight
38. Go to a pot-luck
39. Find a new hobby
40. Throw an unplanned party

Right now I have 40 things on this list. My total list will have 50. Any suggestions for the final 10? Also anyone want to join me!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Discipline Adoption

One Saturday a month, I meet with a small group of guys to talk about issues of purity, discipleship and being in relationship with Christ. We're reading through the book:  Disciplines of a Godly Man. The study group is awesome and chalk full of pressing conversation. The content of the book is valuable discusion foder. Hughes makes a few good points, but sometimes the practices that he preaches are too conservative for my tastes. In my humble opinion, his perspective of  discipline can get in the way of experiencing the fullness of Christ. One particular passage, on relationship with women outside of a spouse is particularly troubling for me. I'll blog about that passage at a later date. That being said, I think reading books you don't agree with for discusion groups is valuable practice.

Out of our groups discusion from this Saturday, I felt convicted to spend more time memorizing scripture. The truth of scripture is something that I want to become core to my identity and to be something that I can cling to in all moments of life. I'm going to start memorizing one verse of scripture every month. Many people who start this goal go for one a week. I think doing it in a bit longer time frame for me will do two things:

1. Make the goal attainable. One week sounds like a burn-out rate.
2. Let me really chew on one piece of scripture for a month.

At my friend Mike's suggestion, I'm going to change my default page in my web browser to the piece of scripture I choose as a subtle reminder to read that passage, as well as making it easily accessible to read

My first verese will be:

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.  Romans 5:8 NLT

Thoughts on other verses for the year?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Are you M-Ready?

A great look at what generation M is doing to marketing…. really good stuff

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Strength Finder

According to the Strength Finder assessment my five top strengths are:

Futuristic - one who has a keen sense of using an eye towards the future to drive today's success
Belief - one who strives to find some ultimate meaning behind everything they do
Activator - one who acts to start things in motion
Empathy - one who is especially in tune with the emotions of others
Developer - one who sees the untapped potential in others

I can see most of these playing out in my current postion at Youth Forum. The one that was most surprising to me to see pop-up was activator. After reflection, I can see this one being  my top strength. The description in Strengths Finder 2.0 of an activator being someone who wants to take act immediately as soon as  a decision is made and that fits me to a T. I'm most productive and inspired in the immediate moments after camp program meetings, coffee gatherings with youth ministers, and executive committee sessions. I believe that this is part of the reason why I enjoy meetings more then most. After a session is done, I feel the urge to take action on what was concluded immediately after. Often the longer I wait, the less enthusiasm or gusto I feel towards a project.

Having futuristic pop-up as a strength was great, because I'm sure that if Walt Disney had to take the assessment,  he would also have had that strength. It's nice to have something in common with one of the giants of industry you aspire after. Also, it's something that I see play out day in and day out in providing leadership to Youth Forum. 

Belief I think is very connected to vision. Having both makes a lot of sense to me, as belief is what shapes vision and gives it reason, purpose and meaning. The strength of belief helps answer the question: Why is it important that you want something to look or be a certain way?  Anyone who has heard me ramble on camp philosophy or theology of an environment for even a short time knows that in my opinion the vision of the way things should be done need to be stemmed from an ideal. Really,  I believe is that the future is just a chance to better live out ideals. As far as empathy and developer, these are strengths I can see in myself for sure, but not as strong as the other three. Also, if I were taking a personal inventory, I would of picked a few others higher then them. However, maybe I'm more altruistic then I think I am. Which would be a bit poetic. 

I was very surprised that adaptability did not show up higher, as I feel one of my greatest gifts is solving problems quickly in crisis. When a leader is needed, and decisions need to be made, I step up and can handle the pressure. This was not well reflected in the assessment. 

Colleges and friends do you see these strengths in me? What are your strengths? 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Current Reading List

My current reading list

Streams in the Desert by LB Cowman. A daily devotional book given to me by Darby. Great insight and reflection on scripture.

The Word For Every Day by Alvin N. Rogness. Another daily devotional book given to me by Darby. Just started this one.

Getting Fired For The Glory of God collected words of Mike Yaconelli. Very interesting articles Yaconelli wrote for Youth Worker Journal on
 making sure that we never put our jobs higher then the calling of Jesus

When Kumbaya Is Not Enough: A practical Theology for Youth Ministry by Dean Borgman. A detailed text on theology in a youth ministry context and reminder that one of the primary tasks of youth ministry is to be a theologians.

The Bible: Common English Translation and Phillips Translation. Working thought the book of Acts. The book is has a major transitional motif. Jews to both gentiles and Jews. Jesus to the Holy Spirit.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Eyes on the Horizan

Today was a day of plan hatching, of scheming, of plotting. I love days like this. Days where the future is on our mind. I think half of the fun of being in the event business for me is the dreaming of what something could be or could look like. Anticipation is key.

In the morning, I was up at camp friendship; the possible home of a new winter retreat we're designing at Youth Forum Labs for winter of 2012. It was great seeing their facility and starting to think about next winter.

This afternoon was spent with one of my former professor and a fellow youth ministry alum planning a Bethel Alumni Youth Ministry group for the fall. The community we're talking about starting would be kick'n to be apart of.

Tonight I played some really great laser tag games with a new church that a Youth Ministry connection just started working at. In the midsts of the cosmic battle zone, we planned a few future events with his church and even better... we planned to get coffe to get to catch up.

Then on the way home one of my volunteers and I hashed out a possible prom themed dance for the spring... just for fun!

This admits text messages and emails planning camp elements for this summer, meetings for next week, and plans for tomorrow.

When we prayed today for BAYM, a prayer was risen that this be within God's plans and not just our own. This is a constant prayer of those of us who plan and needs to be something repeated often so we don't loose sight of the one who is in charge.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism-

Here is some really interesting stuff!

I'm diving into this one when I get back! I think it's short of the Full Gospel, but big stuff to tackle. I want to here push back and thoughts


I'm going on a cruise with 7 other close friends for a week. I'm pretty jacked. Time for R and R. Good conversations and lots of FUN!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We r who we r... Dancing Machines!

Yesterday I completed my 5th and final dance of my late winter dance run. The last dance was a four hour set for the Sadie Hawkins dance in Watertown, MN. Girls ask the guys, it's always a surprise. Bellow is my set for anyone who is interested. Most were radio edits, or personal edits to make a few of the songs appropriate for a school setting, 3 hours and 58.5 mins....

Dynamite Taio Cruz
Love Like Woe The Ready Set
DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love (feat. Pitbull) Usher
Do the John Wall Troop 41
Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo) B.o.B
Cupid Shuffle Cupid
Could It Be You (Punk Rock Chick) Hwood
Grenade Bruno Mars
Teach Me How to Dougie Cali Swag District
Who Dat Girl (feat. Akon) Flo Rida
The Time (Dirty Bit) Black Eyed Peas
Hold It Against Me Britney Spears
Back to December Taylor Swift
Rude Boy Rihanna
Sandstorm Darude
We R who we R - Safe Ke$ha
Don't Stop Beleiven Journey
Satisfaction BENNY BENASSI
More Usher
Crank That (Soulja Boy) Soulja Boy Tell 'Em
Pretty Girl Rock Keri Hilson
Down (feat. Lil Wayne) Jay Sean
Black and Yellow Wiz Khalifa
Whip My Hair Willow
Bless the Broken Road Rascal Flatts
Low (feat. T-Pain) Flo Rida
Firework Katy Perry
Pon de Replay (Radio Edit) Rihanna
Hey Ya Outkast
Billie Jean Michael Jackson
Your a Jerk (Electro Remix) Hoodfellas
Yeah 3X Chris Brown
Bass Down low Dev
Higher (Bonus Track) Taio Cruz & Travie McCoy
Just Dance Lady GaGa & Colby O'Donis
Pretty Boy Swag Soulja Boy Tell'em
Everytime We Touch (Radio Mix) Cascada
Break Your Heart (feat. Ludacris) Taio Cruz
Lost In This Moment Big & Rich
Aint going down till the sun goes up Garth Brooks
Yeah! Usher featuring Lil' Jon & Ludacris
Airplanes (feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore) B.o.B
SexyBack Justin Timberlake
Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond
Club Can't Handle Me (feat. David Guetta) Flo Rida
I Like It (feat. Pitbull) Enrique Iglesias
Check It Out (Main Radio Mix) & Nicki Minaj
Just a Dream Nelly
Tonight (I'm Lovin' You) Enrique Iglesias
Thriller Michael Jackson
Stand By Me Ben E. King
Ridin' Solo Jason DerĂ¼lo
Hands in the Ayer Flo Rida
All I Ever Wanted (Radio Edit) Basshunter
Somebody to Love Justin Bieber
Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor) [feat. T-Pain] Pitbull
Ring of Fire Johnny Cash
Hero Skillet
I Gotta Feeling Black Eyed Peas
Arms of an Angel Sarah Mclachlan
Love Like Woe The Ready Set
Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo) B.o.B
DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love (feat. Pitbull) Usher
Dynamite Taio Cruz
Happy Trails Roy Rogers
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing Aerosmith

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Some would say, Youth Forum is now in the ministry of toys.  We find really cool stuff for youth groups to use, get enough of it so that 20-30 people can enjoy it at one time, try to convince youth ministry friends and colleagues to rent it from YF dirt cheap to enhance their regular programing. Some of our most recent purchases are:

4 orignal x-boxes that can play Halo against each other

Multiple Copies of Banana Grams

DJ Laser that covers an entire room in laser dots.

All of this stuff is really cool. At least cool to me. But I can't help wondering about a bigger conversation that is happening in Youth Ministry conversations: Is using toys to draw teens into a youth group healthy, beneficial, practical and theologically responsable? This is a question I'm chewing on quite a bit. It also has major implications for the YMS ministry Youth Forum started last year. I'm going to take a few days and really mull it over and hack out some thoughts for this blog.

My gut re-action is: if a toy creates an environment that a teenager wants to be in, that they might not otherwise consider, it becomes a vehicle for the Gospel and discipleship. As long as the means doesn't become the end. In other words, toys can not become our God. God must be our God. Having focus and balance on the right things is key. I will pushing against these thoughts in a later post, but I'd love to hear your opinion...

Things to consider: is this really secret materialism? Are we cheeping the power of the Gospel on it's own? Is the risk of losing focus to great? Is this simply only "in the world" thinking? Did Christ use toys, the disciples, Paul, early church leaders?

Join to conversation! When you were in high school, were you involved in a Youth Group? What got you there? Did you stay? Did you stay long term? Why?

To those friends in ministry, do you use toys? In what capacity?

Yes, I am still alive.

Dear blog-o-sphere friends. Yes, I'm alive and thank you for you concern. Looking back at my last blog post of request for petitions of prayer about surviving a crazy night of lock-ins and then silence from me, I too might have wondered if this should be a cause for alarm... Hahahaha, only on the internet. 

We'll now that I've made it through lock-in season. I'll be getting back in the habit of posting again regularly and I've got some great topics to cover. I've been to the front, I've got some war stories to tell, some thoughts to ponder as a group, and some obscure references to make. 

Keep those rabbit ears positioned just right because it's time to get tuned it.  

Friday, January 28, 2011

Prayer Request

Outside of camp, tonight is one of the largest amount of programing the Youth Forum team has attempted to do in one night. If you think about it, please say a prayer for the team working on the lock-in's tonight, it'd be much appreciated. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

irregardless to your thoughts

A classic debate that I've been having for years! Please Enjoy this email thread. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Enjoy:

Dear T-Duck

In the past you have mentioned a grammatical wondering about the two words in the subject line.  Today I received an email with this in it:

Communications Tip

Irregardless: A double negative. Using regardless is correct.

This edition of the Communications tip is courtesy of Scottie H. from the TLC.

If you have a communications tip you would like to share, please e-mail him.

Sorry to burst your “irregardless” bubble.

My quip back:

Oh - Scott. Oh -Casey. I'm no stranger to your elitist regardless philosophy. 

We need to have a conversation about proper and standrad English. In proper English, irregardless technically means without regard and adding the prefix (ir) means makes a word the opposite, making our word without without regard, which indeed is a double negative. So technically speaking, you're right. But it's Ivory tower BS.

Who do I say that? Because it's a commonly accepted word in standrad english, the language of the people. You ask for proof? 

Please look up irregardless in: American Heritage Dictionary, the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, or the Oxford English Dictionary.

The reason we don't have mass in Latin anymore or read the scriptures in Greek, is the same reason why I can use Iregardless and not be an idiot. 

Welcome to the basement! Boo-yah!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Death of a friend.

The T-Duck rules van officially died on 1.9.11. It had a good life and lived to be 180,000 miles long. It died suddenly of a trasmission attack. Please take a moment of silence as we mourn the passing of a close friend. Feel free to post any pictures of you and the van or share any memories. Official Obituary to follow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I joined a Youth Ministry Network a few years ago. YMN is a group for Catholic Youth Ministers in the arch diocese of Minneapolis. It has been an awesome experience and I've come to really be drawn to that community. We meet once a month and network, do an ice breaker (read free programing) have a business meeting, listen to a presenter and then have lunch. It's been a place for me to laugh, network, hawk Youth Forum and grow. I think for anyone doing ministry, a community like this is important.

The morning session I went to last week was on the theology of sacraments. I found it quite interesting. Even though I'm a protestant, there was a lot that I pulled out of it and think a lot that applies to the Church as a whole. The catholic tradition has 7 sacraments that are almost pillars of their traditions. The talk focused on sacraments should be an extension of the community that they are practiced in. A main point, was shifting thinking on focusing on the idea that communion should be less about obtaining a holy object but about more about the church community being in unity. In our very individualistic culture, we tend to see sacraments as only vertical (God and I) but, built into In every sacrament there is a communal piece.
The three sacraments that our speaker focused on, and the three that I think are very universal are the sacraments of Baptism (and confirmation), Communion and Marriage.

An idea that he reemphasized several times is that baptism is the call to discipleship, not church membership. When we think of membership we equate it with I pay my dues for a service. That is not what this is. When joining a community, we should be asking not what can this community do for me, but what can I do for this community. It's not a sin to miss church, but the community misses what you bring when you are not there. This pushes heavily against the idea of mega church, or at least demands that small "churches" develop with-in the community of mass church.

Thinking less traditionally, I think we all have sacraments in our lives. Traditions that are extensions of community. What are some of yours?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Open Heart

My friend Micah said something interesting today: Tony always has a spot for another friend, but then again he always has another spot for another friend. The point he was trying to make was my friend circle is very fluid. I have a lot of strong relationships, but I constantly enjoy hanging out with new people. I've lived with a different group of people every year for the last 7 years. I like new people. It's not that i don't value other relationships, it's just that life changes.

However Micah's comment made me think. Do I not invest in my relationships enough? Am I too fluid? Is it hard to be my friend? Interesting. Something to wrestle with.