Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Kayak-A-Thon is coming, the Kayak-A-Thon is coming!

Saturday will be the 8th Annual Kayak-A-Thon to raise money for CCO's Outdoor Leadership Team. This year we will have 25 paddlers! Put in for the first group will be around 7:30 am from the Southside Park. Most people will try to paddle between 20 and 30 miles on Pittsburgh's Three Rivers. This year's event is being coordinated by Melissa Shoup, Montreat College senior who participated in last summer's trip to Canada with Francois and has spent the fall doing her internship with Joy in the CCO office. She has done a fantastic job.
Here's the press release about the event.
Weather is looking good for Saturday. See you on the rivers.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I'd like to introduce you to the Support Staff of the Outdoor Leadership Team Around Pittsburgh (aka SSOLTAP, pronounced "soul-tap). This is the wonderful team of staff that God has given me this year. I feel a tremendous responsibility to pour into these staff and build them up to be faithful to their callings, much like I did with students when I was on campus. It has been a time of stretching and growth for me to lead them this Fall. I believe God has given me this support team for MY support as well as for the OLT at large.

Given that the OLT is 40 people strong - about a 1/4 of the organization doing outdoor ministry - we are in need of a great support team that works behind the scenes to make it possible for students be transformed by meeting God in different ways in the woods and out.

This is Karen. She is the OLT Adminstrator. She just joined staff in August and is responsible for keeping our staff informed of changes and news about trainings, taking and distributing notes from our meetings, and managing the details for training events. She is also a part time social worker, who loves to be with people and live out her faith in active ways. Karen graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, where she was involved in the CCO's chapel-based ministry called the Outdoor Ministry Team. We are so glad to have her on staff!
This is Kelly. She is our Leadership and Discipleship in the Wilderness (LDW) Manager. She is in charge of our summer adventure programs for college students to Wyoming and Canada. She was a student on our '07 trip to Canada, and joined staff this past summer after completing an internship with us in the spring. She graduated from Gettysburg College where she was involved in the CCO's church-based ministry there. It's rare to find Kelly without a big smile on her face, and we are so fortunate to have her on the team!

Next Post: a few more profiles from SSOLTAP!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Working Restfully

Does that sound like a contradiction in terms? A major paradox? Well, it did to me until this past May. Work had become a total drain on my energy and motivation, not because of WHAT I was doing, but HOW I was going about it.

I spent a lot of time reading and reflecting this summer on how to work more restfully. That simply means to work at a pace that allows me to breathe and be attentive and aware of God’s work in and through me. In contrast, I was working last year with PRODUCTIVITY as my only goal. And, not just my goal, but my measure of success! I had a To Do list way too long for one person, and I would buckle down each day and try and cross as many things off that list as possible. At the end of the year, I wondered what of importance or consequence had I really fulfilled when all I was attending to was the urgent?!

I want to pursue this way of work and life so I can remain for the long-haul. I don’t know how long God would have me stay in the CCO, but I am open. It is not uncommon to hear about burn-out in ministry. Some believe that since it is “God’s work” that it either makes you immune to becoming tired or that there is no good reason to put limits on how hard you work (health of body, mind, spirit, family, relationships, etc.) I believe the evidence that working restfully is actually more effective. It doesn’t mean I don't work hard. It means I work well.

So, I am learning to manage my priorities better, to ask for help and be realistic about what one person can or should accomplish. And, I am encouraging my staff team of eight to do the same. Its not just my goal to set up a sustainable pattern of work for me, but also for the Outdoor Leadership Team as a whole. We have good work to do and I want it to keep going for a long time.

Please continue to pray for me and Francois as we seek to be faithful with what God has given us in our time, money, skills, and even our home. That none of these things takes our focus or becomes what we live for, but that we live for Jesus Christ, and give him thanks for the grace to figure it out on the journey.

You may want to check out these books:

  • Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, Marva Dawn
  • Catch Your Breath, Don Postema
  • Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence

And this website: