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I grew up in a small town in California. As a pastor’s son, I was at church whenever the doors
were open and sometimes when they weren’t. I attended a Christian college and majored in
Biblical Studies. Then I attended seminary to study ministry. I assumed I was preparing for
ministry in a local church like those I had grown up in.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

In 2002 as I was finishing seminary, I moved to Chicago to start my first full time ministry. I
knew urban ministry would be different than anything I had experienced in the rural/suburban
churches of my upbringing, but I couldn’t have imagined what was in store.

Looking to connect in Wicker Park, I soon found myself involved with the Wicker Park Garden
Club and Mental Graffiti Poetry Slam. Neither gardening nor poetry had ever interested me
before, but I discovered when you follow Jesus, He often takes you to unexpected places and
causes you to question things you have always believed.

I thought my mission was to take Jesus to Chicago and help Him transform the people I met. I
found Jesus was already there, and His plan was to use the people I met to transform me.