Today is, technically, my fifth day on the job. Truthfully, I can’t believe I get to do this. Between designing workflow charts, attending brainstorming sessions, writing analysis e-mails and preparing fruit platters, I’ve been thinking about all the experiences in the last 5-10 years that have brought me to this place.
I’m thankful for my fellow Summit students who put up with so many e-mails from me after the conference as I tried to figure out what I thought about life the universe and everything.
I’m thankful to my sister, Michelle, who gave me a ticket to come down the second time in 2005. I attended with my brother, Josh, and my friend, Jon –two guys who still answer my calls and help me sort through knotty issues. Michelle also taught a two-semester worldview course that pushed my thinking even further.
I’m thankful for my worldview classmate and friend, Michael, who took that baton and allowed me to substitute teach for him. I’m thankful that he had me take the course from him and launch into what would become the Worldview Class.
I’m thankful for the 70 students who took that class over the last 5 years and taught me more than they’ll ever know. And I’m thankful for their parents who put up with them and me.
I’m thankful for my church leadership who not only put this loose cannon on their preaching deck, but gave me a seat at the table and taught me invaluable lessons about leading an organization and shepherding a flock.
I’m indebted to the long line of Oregon NCFCA leadership who consistently invited me to try my hand at organization and leadership: Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Haugen and Shelley, I cannot thank them enough.
I’m very thankful for my friend, brother, mentor and former boss, Rowan Gillson who brought me onboard with the World Changers’ Summit and resolutely kicked my butt for a year. It was exactly the conditioning I needed before coming to Colorado this summer.
I’m thankful for Bryan Coots, the Guy’s Staff director here at Summit, for accepting my application and hiring me to work for Summer program. His encouragement, if not endurance, was never far from me.
I’m thankful for my summer boss, Jen Honken, who’s laugh has always greeted me, who’s gratitude has never failed me and who’s humility has never rejected me, even when I’m being especially critical.
I’m grateful for Julianne who not only guided me through all things Summit but consistently and patiently called me to higher standards in both worship and life.
I’m thankful for my fellow summer staffers who eagerly and warmly invited this newbie into the Summit family –especially the classroom directors who graciously sat under my first-year leadership
I’m grateful to Jason Porch, my predecessor, who reached out to me and provided kind and candid insight into my new role.
I’m thankful for the office girls who have always been there for my always bizarre requests and have been cheering me on all summer.
I’m thankful for Mr. and Mrs. Honken who’s familial love has been the precious suave on my homesickness and who’s benevolence has kept me fed, sheltered, bathed and employed while transitioning from Summer Program to full-time staff. They even put me up in my very own cabin that even has enough room for me to pace.
And I’m extraordinarily grateful to my family. Even though I was living in our basement, making pennies and hour and flunking out of Bible college, they never once questioned my path. Their support, while always honest, has never failed. My parents, especially, have shown me the meaning of endurance and have afforded me every opportunity, pushed me (but never forced me) towards every goal and cried with me over every stumble.
It’s been often reported that Charlie Jones said, “You will be the same person in five years that you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” By the grace of God, I’ve lived that over the last decade. And it’s because of that grace that I feel like the richest man on planet earth.