The Good Questions Lead You: Interview with Joey DeYoung

“So much of life is about answers, but it’s the questions you ask that lead you to where you are… Asking good questions will open so many more doors for God to work in your life.”

Cascade Fellows’ Program Coordinator, Shannon Vandewarker, sat down with Joey De Young, Executive Director of Urban Hands Fellowship in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. We talked about the new Urban Hands Fellowship program and how being a part of the Cascade Fellows program has helped Joey refine the ways he connects his faith and his work.

Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood

 

Putting Down Roots in Greenwood

While many people feel called to a particular career, Cascade Fellows Alum, Joey DeYoung, feels called to a particular place, specifically the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. It’s a sense of calling that has come with a real sense of rootedness.

“Being rooted is not easy in a big city,” Joey admits. But being committed to Greenwood for the past eight years has allowed Joey to develop meaningful relationships.

“My work life, my church life, and my personal life are all very tied to that place. Of course, there need to set some boundaries, but really, life is just interruption. And being willing to be interrupted because I value my relationships with coworkers and other business owners is important.”

After a gas leak explosion in March of 2016 that caused a lot of property damage in the neighborhood, the community rallied together.  Joey, Urban Hands, and other community leaders, were at the forefront of bringing the neighborhood together.

“Not only is the community rebuilding, it even seems to have hit a growth spurt.” Joey says smiling. He is very hopeful about Greenwood’s future.

“I feel like we’re on the cusp of something. There’s a lot of development and rejuvenation. What you see so often when that happens is that the people on the margins get pushed further to the margins, or they get pushed out. But there’s an opportunity right now to do something that could be really formational for the neighborhood for a long time. It’s gonna change for the better, regardless of whether I’m there or not.”

“It’s not just about real estate prices and trendy bars and seven-dollar cups of coffee–there are businesses and churches that are working behind the scenes to make this place a place that is welcoming for all people, including those who might not have the same opportunities somewhere else.”

Out of this commitment to the neighborhood, Joey gathered a community of people who’s common faith inform the ways they live and are committed to the Greenwood neighborhood.

“We’ve started a prayer breakfast, meeting once a month, thinking about how we can pray for each other, and talking about work from a faith perspective. It’s fun seeing others have that experience, too. We pray specifically for our neighborhood and our work and what is happening there. We ask each other, how has God been working alongside you?

The hope is that by connecting these organizations, the Urban Hands Fellowship can be an outgrowth of the community at large- the result of likeminded people rallying around a growing need to foster and build into the next generation.

The Urban Hands Fellowship

The Urban Hands Fellowship is designed to connect young people in difficult situations with local businesses, giving them access to jobs.

“It’s an enrichment program that provides full-fledged employment with partnering businesses in Greenwood. While Urban Hands provides the support necessary for people coming out of difficult circumstances, we will also provide case managers, mental health counseling, financial coaching, and educational opportunities.”

“Getting them a job is a great start, but there’s a lot–depending on the person–that they could need in order to be successful at that job.”

In forming the fellowship, Joey used much of what he’s learned in Cascade Fellows, to bring different organizations together. In a lot of ways, Urban Hands is a community endeavor. “I have a team of people from various fields–juvenile justice, education, homeless outreach–reaching out to young people, building a bridge between them and local businesses.”

Joey explained that candidates will interview for the program first, and then be put in touch with local business owners to apply for the jobs that interest them. This also allows the people involved in Urban Hands to screen the candidates, making sure they are ready for that next step. While some may not be prepared for the program the first time they apply, Urban Hands is also thinking of ways to get these young people to the place where they are job-ready.”

Joey’s Cascade Fellows Experience

It was during Joey’s year in the Cascade Fellows program that the Urban Hands Fellowship started to take shape. He had the opportunity to really process this and pray over the development of the program with his cohort.  It was these discussions that helped Joey turn his vision into reality.

“I was able to think about the program as something real and tangible, versus something nebulous. That’s the purpose of Cascade Fellows. Thinking about actual things you’re doing at work and why they matter to God. It’s a community of people who know you really well and can ask you the hard questions.”

“So much of life is about answers, but it’s the questions you ask that lead you to where you are. We all want to have the answers. So, leaving Cascade Fellows with a sense that it’s more important to ask the right questions at the right time was comforting. Asking good questions will open so many more doors for God to work in your life than sharing the right bits of wisdom. And with that comes the language with which to talk about your faith.”

“As I completed the program, I thought that I wouldn’t have to ask the big questions as much anymore, but what really stuck with me is not that we no longer ask questions, but that we learn to ask good questions, and listen to the responses of others.”

 

The launch of Urban Hands Fellowship this next month will certainly bring new opportunities for Joey to work alongside God. 2017 is sure to be an exciting year for Joey and for Greenwood.

For more information about the Urban Hands Fellowship, visit: Urban Hands Fellowship

To learn more about Cascade Fellows, visit our website.

Faith at Work One Day Event

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Faith at Work: Does My Work Matter to God?

An Introduction to the Theology of Work

Many of us spend most of our waking hours at work, and for many, work is a big part of our identity. But, does God care about our work life? Does the Church have anything to contribute to what makes our work meaningful, successful or rewarding? How do we think about our identity in our work in light of our identity in Christ?

When what we do and why we do it come together, there is real power. God made us in his image to create and to love, just as he does. Our work is a key part of that.

What if a new perspective on your work gave you more energy, meaning and satisfaction?

Hundreds have been exploring the intersection of faith and work over the last 3 years through the Cascade Fellows program, and have found new meaning, purpose and depth to their work. Come explore the conversation with us at our one-day overview event and see for yourself!

Topics Include:
  • Spiritual practices in the workplace
  • What the Bible has to say about work
  • The Church and Work
  • Vocation and Calling
Cost is $50 and there are two identical days to choose from:

 

March 11th, 9am-3pm at Bethany Community Church

Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite using this link

Schedule

9-10:15am The Bible’s Story and Our Work, Matthew Kaemingk

10:30-11:10 am Vocation and Calling, Al Erisman

11:15-11:50 pm Spiritual Practices at Work, Shannon Vandewarker

11:50-12:45 pm Lunch

12:45-1:20 pm The Vocational Reformation of the Church, Uli Chi

1:25-2 pm The Church and Our Work, Steve Aeschbacher

2-3 pm Panel Discussion: Showing Grace and Hospitality at Work; Finding Wonder, Heartbreak, and Hope in Our Work

About Our Presenters

Shannon Vandewarker

Shannon Vandewarker is the Program Coordinator for Cascade Fellows. She believes that if God meets us anywhere, it’s right smack dab in the middle of our ordinary lives. Shannon is mom to Declan and Koen, and wife to Dan, a pastor. A transplant from San Diego, she speaks and writes on the topic of finding God in the ordinary, and loves living in rainy Seattle. She holds a BA in Biblical Studies from Azusa Pacific University and an MDiv from Bethel Seminary. 

 

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Uli Chi has lived and worked in the intersection between business, the academy and the church. He has had the privilege of serving as past Board Chair of Regent College in Vancouver, BC, as Vice Chair of the Board of the Max De Pree Leadership Center at Fuller Seminary, and as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Center for Integrity in Business at Seattle Pacific University. He has also been involved in all aspects of local church leadership, including as a member of the adult ministries team’s teaching faculty at John Knox Presbyterian Church.

 

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Dr. Al Erisman is the Executive in Residence and the past Director for the Center for Integrity in Business in the School of Business and Economics at Seattle Pacific University. He is on the board of the Theology of Work Project and is a contributor to this project. He and his wife, Nancy, also spearheaded the founding of KIROS for Christians working in Business. He is the author of The Accidental Executive: Lessons on Business, Faith and Calling from the Life of Joseph. In April 2001, Al completed a 32-year career at The Boeing Company, where for the last 10 years he was Director of R&D for computing and mathematics.

 

Matthew Kaemingk is the Director of Cascade Fellows and the Fuller Institute for Theology and Northwest Culture in Seattle. He earned an MDiv at Princeton Theological Seminary along with doctoral degrees in Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary and Systematic Theology from the Free University of Amsterdam. Matthew teaches courses at Fuller Seminary Northwest in theology, ethics, and culture. Matthew lives in Lynnwood, WA with his wife Heather, their three sons Calvin, Kees, and Cademan, and a dog named Henry.

 

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Steve Aeschbacher served as a trial lawyer for 30 years, first with a firm in Salt Lake City and then in-house at Microsoft, where he focused on antitrust and commercial disputes. He handled many high-stakes cases, including taking several private antitrust trials to judgment in favor of Microsoft. Steve is now in the process of becoming a pastor and is seeking a call. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and Fuller Theological Seminary. Steve is an alum and past leader of the Cascade Fellows program. He also attended the Center for Faith and Work’s intensive ministry training. Steve lives in the Seattle area with his wife, Alice, and daughters, Annie and Gracie.

Finding God in the Joys & Struggles of Business Ownership: An Interview with Michael Lee

20160131_004119950_iosMichael Lee, owner of Express Employment Professionals and 2016 Cascade Fellows alum, will join Gideon Strauss on September 15th to talk about how they have brought their work struggles to God.

As an experienced entrepreneur with a vibrant Christian faith, Michael takes the connection between faith and work seriously. In fact, Michael sees the business world as his mission field. Owning his own business for the past decade has been a crucial part of his discipleship.

God has revealed more of himself to Michael through the joys and struggles of business ownership. And in both the highs and the lows, Michael has experienced God’s faithfulness.

It was a leap of faith for Michael to dive into business ownership, in the first place.

Leaving his comfortable, familiar job with no clear plan for what was next was–as Michael puts it–like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

“I was making decent money, my boss was happy with me. But I began to feel rumblings in my heart that there was more, and that more was outside of the company.” 

“I resigned from that position without a clear idea of what I was going to do. For me, it was important that I made that jump before I knew what was next. But that was a Michael thing–I do not recommend it for everyone.”

“God was teaching me to trust his heart. He’s arranged appropriate leaps of faith for me along the way.”

As Michael felt the call to purchase Express Employment Professionals, he found himself redefining success. It wasn’t about the outcome for Michael, it was about the process of stepping out in faith and facing his fears.

“In buying Express, I knew ‘success’ was not the endgame. I was following the Spirit–I wanted more of God. If I went down in flames, so be it. But, hopefully, I could do it in a way that brought glory to God.”

Luckily for Michael, there were no flames. His leap of faith resulted in both a strengthened relationship with God and the acquisition of a successful business.

But that wasn’t the end of the story.

When Express began to flounder during the recession, God used the struggle to realign Michael’s priorities and to allow Michael to relinquish control of the business.

As a newly successful business owner, Michael’s lifestyle was changing.

“I got invited to parties in downtown Seattle. I wasn’t making the best choices. I bought a nice car. Got three speeding tickets…it was probably a blessing that I got rid of that thing. The recession was a great attention-getter.”

The recession didn’t worry Michael until he realized that he was also about to lose his main client–the one pillar he’d hoped to cling to during the economic downturn.

“I did everything I could to keep that client.”

“In the midst of that difficult time, I woke up in middle of the night. Scared and full of anxiety, I started praying.”

“The Lord spoke tenderly. He asked, ‘what do you want me to do?’ I said, ‘Lord, I need you to save this client for me.’ To my surprise, he said, ‘wrong answer.'”

Reluctantly, Michael accepted God’s judgment and then spent the next half hour deep in prayer.

“I had a personal Bible study with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit said, ‘we don’t want you to ever beg for business. We want you to trust us. Pray for the best for your client; pray for our best in their lives. If that’s Express, then we will open the door. If not, then you will rejoice that it went away. You’ll never have to beg for business.'”

As Michael laid his struggles at God’s feet, he came to a better understanding of God’s heart for him and his business.

By the end of the night, Michael had peace. Even though he knew he would lose his biggest client, Michael’s anxiety was gone. He knew God was in control.

The slow in business gave Michael a chance to rebuild from the ground up, learning more about a company that was still relatively new to him. He also learned more about how to do business God’s way.

With a Biblical Literature degree from Azusa Pacific University, Michael thought he would go into the ministry after college.

And the funny thing is, I am in ministry–God just needed to expand my view of what ministry is. It’s more than just working for a church or as a missionary.”

“It was my faith that drove me into business. I saw myself as a disciple of Jesus, stepping into business because the Holy Spirit was leading me that way. And trusting that he could make me the business person he needed me to be.”

“At Express, God has called me to pastor those people whom he identifies. I’m constantly asking, ‘Lord, is this person part of our flock?'”

When asked about his experience of Cascade Fellows, Michael said his greatest takeaway was the community he developed through the program–a community with which he continues to connect today.

“Cascade Fellows was such a joy. So glad I did it. It was about community, not a religious exercise. Just last week we got together for a barbecue.”

Michael’s Cascade Fellows group even provided him with meals after a skiing accident that left him with a broken neck.

“The content was also great–challenging and encouraging. I love the format. I’m a busy business owner, but there was time. It wasn’t like school where there were tests to pass. It was about meaningful dialogue that would take place, inspired by the content.”

A concrete example of how Cascade Fellows has impacted Michael is the new spiritual practices he has developed.

“I started doing devotions at my desk. Hearing people at Cascade Fellows who do that was an encouragement to me.”

This practice helps to break down the barriers between Michael’s spiritual life and his work life.

“There’s no separation between sacred and secular. We can make spreadsheets to the glory of God, and we need wisdom for that. There’s nothing too small that he doesn’t care about it, and nothing too big that can’t be better with his perspective.”

“It was encouraging for me to see the Holy Spirit moving. Cascade Fellows is an expression of the Holy Spirit’s heart for people in the Pacific Northwest.”

“God has not forgotten us. He’s moving. As a believer, why would you not want to be a part of that?”

Michael looks forward to being an alum and continuing to develop the Cascade Fellows community that has meant so much to him.

To hear more of Michael’s story and how the Psalms of lament can be a catalyst for your work, please join us at “When Work Is Hard: Talking to God About Frustration & Disappointment at Work” with Michael and Professor Gideon Strauss.

For more information about the Cascade Fellows program, visit our website.

Special Invitation – Bellevue, May 28th

A Special Invitation


Callings and Careers: 

Making Sense of Who We Are and What We Do

 

 Dr. Steven Garber. 

Bellevue Presbyterian Church. 5/28/15. 7:00- 8:30pm. 

What is your calling? steven-garber (1)Where is your career taking you? You are invited for a rich evening of discussion on the intersection faith, career, and calling.

The evening will feature an opening address from Dr. Steven Garber, a nationally-recognized speaker and author on the topic of faith, work, and vocation. Dr. Garber’s latest book Visions of Vocation charts the ways in which ordinary people in a wide variety of careers seek to serve their neighbors and the kingdom of God in and through their work

Dr. Garber’s address will be followed by reflections from some of Seattle leading voices on the question of faith and work including:

–       Denise Daniels from Seattle Pacific University

–       Al Erisman from KIROS

–       Jessica Hsieh from Cascade Fellows.

–       Jon Sharpe from C3Leaders

This public event is hosted by Cascade Fellows and is sponsored by C3Leaders, KIROS, and Bellevue Presbyterian Church. There is no registration required and no cost for this event. All are welcome to join the conversation!

 

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Bel Pres

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A Vision for the New Heaven and New Earth: At Work

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***This is the third in our series of Psalms written on the Winter Retreat. Like the others, this has been posted anonymously.

I saw a vision of the new created heaven and earth. And the large and successful company, that I spent my day hours of work, was led by Jesus. He reminded us daily of His values, and how he built convictions and purpose into our existence. He prompted us with His Holy Spirit daily, hourly, immediately. We ached inside to honor our leader in all that we did.

We measured our success by the warmth and joy that He poured into us. We petitioned for new projects based on parts of the observable creation that we had been gifted to improve. We pooled the resources around us and honestly and openly committed to building things that were our mission to build.

Jesus made sure that our personal and corporate drive wasn’t motivated by capitalistic competition and the possibility of failure; but rather, it was motivated by a perfect fit to our gifts.  The needs we met were honorable by God’s economy. There was no fear of unfairness, of litigation, or of operational inefficiency.

In God’s economy, God’s character shined and His greatness was our reward. We had no fear of second-to-market or lack of creative interpretation.  Everyone’s skills and talents contributed to the success of our work. Differences could be experimented on without fear of “losing” and without fear of scarce resources being completely spent to discover success.

Instead, Jesus redefined success to what we’ve always known in our hearts and have always longed for – a world driven by God’s perfect justice, His abundant provision, and our corporate enjoyment of all His gifts. No divisive or selfish distribution of God’s wonderful resources drove us, but rather a wholesome appreciation and use of his limitless creation. God was the final voice for all decisions, and we humbly, gladly and praisefully submitted to His ultimate wisdom. His perfect leadership and perfect love embraced us all in endless worship and endless joy. In timeless eternity, we all worked together and enjoyed, like children, the bounty of our family, together.

A Psalm of Lament: For Work

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***This is a part of our series of Psalms written by the Fellows on the Winter Retreat. Like the others in the series, it has been posted anonymously. 

Oh Lord, God of my salvation.

How long must I labor in vain?

How long before You make the path clear?

I run like a cheetah on a circular path.

Round and round while my enemies taunt my progress.

When will I see the end?

 

A great shadow has come upon me.

And I know not which way to turn.

Where is my light? Where is my God?

Why have You forsaken me to struggle endlessly with broken systems?

Why is there no one to guide me through the labyrinth of tax preparations?

 

The mountains are growing, Lord.

And I have not the time to traverse them.

I struggle in the thistles while my coworkers pass by.

Why must I stay full of ignorance and doubt?

Fear guides my days, while restlessness haunts the night.

 

Come my Comforter, my Shelter.

Come hear Your servant’s plea.

Light Your way before me and give me strength to journey on.

Be not far from Your servant, for it is You whom I serve.

A Psalm of Hope: For Work

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*** This is the first of the Psalms in a series, which were written by the Fellows, on our Winter Retreat. This, and the others in the series are published on the blog anonymously. 

God I trust you to be near to me.

I wait for You in the silent shadows of the night.

I know your song by heart, and I keep it on my lips at all times.

I proclaim your goodness in every circumstance and breathe hope, when I am surrounded by toxic fumes.

My eyes are fixed on your bright promises in front of me.

I have resolved to claim them for your servant.

Guard me from shame, do not let it overtake me while I am following your good path.

I love you Lord. Remember me when I am stumbling.

Weary and harboring great joy, my feet draw me nearer, to you, my God.