The Number Four

Taking a four month sabbatical from blogging certainly did nothing to make my life slow-down, in fact, over the last four months there have been some really great things that have taken place. So, in celebration of the number four, I give you the Top 4 for the Last Four (months).

#4 Costa Rica Mission Trip

Costa Rica kids!

In April I was able to lead a group of eight college-age students to Nicoya, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. This Youthmark Mission is one-0f-a-kind. Distributing Bibles, speaking in schools and reaching out to entire communities where the Gospel had not been heard was such a blessing!

Joe and Hilary lead at the Portland M:51 Training

#3: Mission51 Retreats

This year’s LIFE Backwards theme will be a blog post in itself. But the “Six City Tour” was simply amazing. Many said “our best yet.” Coincidentally it was our fourth year of offering these things as well! As Youthmark continues to grow, morph and develop, we hope to teach many to do LIFE Backwards!

#2 Consulting & Coaching

w/ Grilled and Regular onions of course!

One of the areas of ministry that brings me life is the area of coaching and consulting. I am fortunate to be doing this on an informal basis with several but also in an official (contracted) capacity as well. One such “official” capacity is with Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, CA. I absolutely love the people there and have bonded well with their staff! A side benefit, of course, to traveling to SoCal is the frequent stops at In-N-Out!

#1: The Family!

The thing that brings me the most joy and the most life is time with my family! Over the last four months I’ve gotten to have several family outings, daddy-daughter dates & daddy-dude outings (can’t call it a “date”). Now, if Elisabeth and I could only find some more time (and free baby sitting… hint hint) for some more Mommy-Daddy Dates!

My hope is the next four months are just as much of a blessing as the last four!



Partnerships Expanding… You Can Join!

As many of you know I have been involved with a start-up Bible School (geared toward the “gap year” between High School and College/Career or between Community College and University or between University and Life). It’s been an exciting year with this first class out in Ravensdale, WA (Southeast of Seattle).

Besides the growing relationships (I’ve really enjoyed the shepherding aspect of my “consultant” role) and am quite excited about taking these students on a culminating mission project (we have two trips going out simultaneously, one to Bithlo, FL and the other to Costa Rica). I invite you to read what I posted today on the Youthmark Blog about this.

We’d love your prayer support, the partnership needs to grow in order to accomplish this great mission!

Here is the post:

Hey friends and family!

Brian here on behalf of the CR team from Adelphia!  We are just about 2 months away from our adventure that will take us to Nicoya, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Having been to this region of Costa Rica, I can tell you that our team will be blown away by the beauty of God’s creation and humbled by the spirit of the Tico’s (native inhabitant of Costa Rica).

While serving in Costa Rica our team will likely have two or three main purposes each day. We’ll likely spend half a day in a public school (teaching english), half a day distrubiting Bibles and half a day doing a special project (like painting a school or community).

Before you get after me for my poor math– you can’t have three “halves”– we will do two of those three each day and rotate through so that our days are split up nicely.

In addition to these multi-hour projects, we’ll spend time visiting a couple local churches and will be able to play soccer against some much-better-than-us Latin American soccer (football) players!

Your support is needed! We are desparate to see the Holy Spirit move in Costa Rica. The Bible distribution project is an incredible undertaking. Teaming with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and Changing Lives in Costa Rica (CLICR)we are on the front edge of a 94,000 Bible distribution effort. Each Bible represents the approximate number of homes in Guanacaste (each home representing about 6-7 persons). Thus far, the effort has seen about 20,000 Bible distributed. The stories are amazing, not only are Bibles being distrubuted, but teams are sharing (often) an hour of their time and the Gospel with these families. Many have trusted in Christ.

Our American mindset and door-to-door salesman fears need to be prayed away; this is simply not the case in Guanacaste. Tico’s there are genuninely happy that we’ve come all the way from the US to share life with them. They are happy to hear about Jesus. Our prayer is that we have the opportunity to not just bless them with the Word of God, but trust that the Spirit of God will lead them to trust in Christ!

  • Will you pray with us?
  • Can you give towards this? (Each Bible distributed carries about $3-$4 actual cost to it–including shipping).

If you can give ANYTHING towards this Adelphia Bible School trip (Youthmark is leading), please send a tax-deductible check written to Adelphia Bible School.

Send to:

Brian Aaby

ATTN: Costa Rica Team

Box 58926

Seattle WA 98138

These funds will help get the team of 10 to CR and will cover costs for food, Bible Distribution and projects!

Thanks so much! Keep the prayers coming!


Connecting The Ministry Dots

[The following is a post I wrote for, it appeared here on Monday, January 22]

My three year old son is consistently drawing and coloring pictures for us to display on the fridge. Couple that with his growing ability to count and I believe he is about ready to take on the “connect the dot” exercises. C’mon, you remember those gems, don’t you?

As a much-older than 3 year-old, I still like connecting the dots. As a local Network Leader, I love connecting the dots with ministry leaders in our area. I do believe the Christian world can be better connected so we can see a complete picture of the gospel lived out in our picturesque world! We truly can be better together!

My own personal and ministry dots connected recently when one of my local Youth Leader Networks was invited to have our lunch at Adelphia Bible School. This was a brilliant move by the school and one that has already led to many ministry dots being connected.

My thought is that a silly little lunch will lead to many ministry dots connecting for a long time. Additionally, I bet our network is not the only one that could benefit from this sort of relationship–thus this blog post to get your juices flowing!

The following is just a sampling of the dots I have already seen connected:

  • Adelphia students need and want to get out of the Christian College bubble (if you went to a Christian College, you know EXACTLY what I mean). Well at Adelphia, many of the students serve as interns or on the volunteer staff for the Youth Pastors/Ministries represented by our network.
  • Youth Pastors are consistently asked about colleges and universities, having the Youth Pastors on their side is a wise move by the college.
  • As I mentioned, this was a bonus ministry-dot connection for me personally, I am a consultant for the college and the school is doing their year-end mission trips through my organization, Youthmark. Well, because of this lunch, it looks likely that one of the local Youth Ministry interns is going to help lead one of these missions so that he can gain valuable experience to help propel his future career as a Youth Pastor.
  • Adelphia plans to expand the ministry dots by inviting these local Youth Pastors to speak into the lives of their students through future seminars and trainings.

Bring it home:

  • Is there a Christian College or University in your area that you could work out a relationship like this?
  • Perhaps you represent a Christian College, what would it look like for you to reach out the local Youth Pastors and provide a great place for a meal (or coffee) and just see where the ministry dots may connect.
  • Colleges are not the only avenues to explore, think of the ministry-dots you can connect with a camp, a community center or local coffee shop! 
I am ready to see a grown-up version of Connect-The-Ministry-Dots create a beautiful picture of the kingdom come!

From Concept to Community

As I sat in the Fireside Cafe for dinner with my family and several new friends this last Monday I found myself smiling and reflecting…

In late March I had a conversation with a friend involved in an upstart Bible School. “Adelphia” was a concept that he and others had been hoping would become reality in either the fall of 2011 or 2012. During this coffee conversation Eric let me know that they had made the decision to “go for it’ and attempt to start in 2011. Over the next few days and a few conversations I was invited to play a part.

Over the next two weeks the DNA would form a logo and marketing campaign began. A commercial needed to be written and produced and recruitment of students began. Decisions were made on a minimum number needed to begin, who would be in charge of different aspects and what the curriculum would be.

From the get-go it was bathed in prayer. My prayer all along was that Adelphia would be a place where students could come and IMMEDIATELY live out the stuff they were learning. My hope was to avoid the mantra of “get away for a year (or 4) so that you can learn the stuff you can use after you’re done.”

We’re just completing our second week at Adelphia. The teaching has been phenomenal (new teacher and subject each week, creating 22 “intensives”). The students are already jumping into church leadership roles in local children, youth and worship ministries. I had eight students go with me for Youthmark’s LIFT event in Portland last Sunday and it was plainly evident that the community was already tight! We even have a basketball team participating in the culture of Maple Valley through a city-league.

I am thrilled to have an advisory role with the school. I get to lead the cohort program and participate in leading the the in-house times on Monday mornings. We’re currently going through a process of discernment as the students each decide on a mission opportunity for their last two weeks of the Adelphia program year. It truly is an exciting time!

In March it was a concept. Today it is a community, seeking to impact the culture for Christ!


LIFT- Concert :: Worship :: Training in PDX!

Ahhh yeah! It was highly successful in the greater Seattle area, so why not give it a go in Portland? Spread the word for this great one-evening training event that includes great worship and a kickin’ concert with Everfound! LIFT is back!

If you went to the Seattle event, be sure to pass the word on to anyone from Centralia (North) to Eugene (South). We’d love to see Christ LIFTed in Portland with groups from all around! Mission51 is the key, we want people sharing the gospel not just on the one-week mission, but the 51 weeks beyond the week long experience.

Check out the Facebook event page and get others invited to the Sunday, October 16, 6pm LIFT event!


Young Adults In Transition

It’s the middle of September, do you know where your college-age young adult is?

Whether you’re a parent, a pastor, a youth leader or just a friend of an 18-24 year old you may know exactly where that person is physically right now, but do you know where they’re headed overall? Do they know where they are headed in terms of hopes and dreams?

The reality is, I know a lot of 18-24 year olds who are visioning and re-envisioning what they want to do. Just today I met with a young man who thinks he wants to be a Youth Pastor. Last week I talked with a gal who is thinking that she’d like to work in vocational children’s ministry. Neither of these young adults have the $25,000-$35,000 per year to spend on a Christian College so they feel somewhat lost.

At the same time I know plenty who want to be an engineer, cop or teacher AND be a strong witness for Jesus but don’t feel well versed and equipped enough yet in their faith to really know the answers they want to know before heading into life!

Enter in Adelphia Bible School. As many of you know, I have been working with the school as a consultant for the last few months. In less than a month (Oct. 9) we’ll see the first class of students move into the remodeled rooms and go through the orientation. I’m excited to see the fresh-flock of young adults come with great anticipation. I can’t wait to see them grow as a community and plug in to jobs, churches and even the local community colleges as missionaries! The school is very unique in that the goal is to not just get these students away for a year to gain the foundation for life, but to actually live out the foundational stuff NOW! Mission51 at its best!

I know of an Adelphia student who will likely be a Youth Ministry Apprentice at a local church (helping get the youth ministry started at a small church) and work the afternoons in the work-study program at Lake Retreat Camp (where Adelphia is housed). All in all, this young man will receive great teaching, real community, an iPad, a two week mission and invaluable experience leading youth at a church and do all of this and more essentially for free (because of the pain apprenticeship and the work-study program). How cool is that?

If you know of an young adult who RIGHT NOW is still contemplating what he or she wants to do, Adelphia may just be the place for him or her! Check it out here and apply today (it’s not too late)! It’s a one-year (24 week program, spread over 7 months) experience that will truly bear fruit not just for years to come, but NOW!

Please share this with someone you know who may benefit from this great opportunity! Don’t say “no” for them, let’s dream big for these young adults, they can be extraordinary missionaries for Jesus!


Worth more than $5!

I’m finishing up another week of speaking at a camp; this time in my beautiful home state of WA! It’s nice to not have to go “over there” to share the best news ever. Sometimes “over there” is a lot of fun, but I’ll tell you, it’s a lot of fun to be sharing with teens right now who get to share “right here” with their friends and family!

In a few short weeks, teens will be heading back to their “mission” on their campus, at their clubs, building into their community and probably participating in the new programs at their church… I am praying RIGHT NOW for this mission.

However, I am not just praying, I am doing my part to actively train them (and I hope even more importantly, participating with them by pursuing any opportunity I have to share the good news too)!

If you are in the Northwest, I’d love to have you participate with me in a training event we have at Youthmark. It’s not just a training event, it’s a concert  and also will have a time of wonderful worship through song! My friends, Everfound, will be there as well as soon-to-be-friends, Kye-Kye! I can’t wait. LIFT takes place in just one week (Wednesday, August 17, 7:00 PM) at Faith Church in Kent. It’s only $5!

Here’s the promo materials.

Whether you’re young or old, this event will entertain and equip! Mission51 exists, let’s reach our community now!


Got Grads?

Hey Youth Pastor and Youth Leaders!  Do you have some students who are still struggling with “what’s next?” I remember each summer as a Youth Pastor, the mission trips, camps and retreats were coming to an end and I was in the planning stages for the fall program. The “Jordan’s” and “Taylor’s” who hadn’t decided what to do next were still attending (and probably planning on attending) Youth Group even though they had graduated already.

There wasn’t anything wrong with Jordan or Taylor, they just didn’t know if college was what they wanted to do next, or even if it was, they wanted/needed a community to be a part of while they commuted to the local community college.

As a Youth Pastor, I wanted to see these grads have the opportunity to grow and be a part of a community but I also didn’t want them to be in Youth Group anymore. I wish a place like Adelphia Bible School were an option back then.

Over the last four months I have been able to lend my voice to Adelphia and I’m excited about the one-year program they are offering. Not only will the students receive a year foundation in the Scriptures (22 different weeks of teaching, with best-practice teachers coming new each week), but they get to practice what they’re learning NOW, not just later.  The Cohort program that I’ve been able to help develop will give students the opportunity to intern or apprentice at a local church (perhaps even their own “home” church). I love this, because I know a number of young adults who think they want to go into full-time ministry, well now they can find out at a very affordable cost, instead of the $35k some schools charge per year.

Each afternoon at Adelphia is intentionally “open” so students can be in a job, get ahead on credits through local or online schools, and/or serve in a local church (Cohort program).  All this is done within the context of a great community on the campus of Lake Retreat.  The year ends with a two-week mission experience to one of three places the students will choose! Adelphia is all about Mission51 as well!

On top of this… a free iPad2!  They’re going green (plus I think it just adds to the “cool” factor).

Because I’ll get to be involved I am biased, but I really am being serious when I say that if you are a Youth Pastor or Youth Leader (or parent) and have some recent (or even not-so-recent) grads/young adults in your sphere of influence, please check out what Adelphia has to offer! I believe this is going to be a top-notch experience!

Adelphia will be at the LIFT event that I get to speak at, I’d invite you to this event as well (bring your group). You can meet with an Adelphia representative as well. Here’s the info!


LIFT… Worship :: Training :: Concert

Two years ago I had the hankering to invite all the Western WA participants from Youthmark Missions to sort of a reunion and “ReLaunch” into their mission field that is their campus, club, community and church. We rented a coffee house and thought we’d have 50-75 people show up to watch some videos, hear some testimonies and be challenged to “live it out” as they head back to school.  Well, it was a success. Nearly 175 people showed up that evening.

The idea has now expanded! Along with co-sponsor Adelphia Bible School, we are hosting an event entitled “LIFT.”  This event will take place on Wednesday, August 17 from 7:00-9:30 pm at Faith Church in Kent. It’ll include an opening concert from Kye Kye (many of you saw them at Creation) and a practical challenge/training session from me (I can’t wait!). In addition LIFT will include a few testimonies, video’s and a closing concert (performance) and worship concert (lifting praise) by Everfound (I’ve spent four weeks over the last two years with these guys, so genuine in their heart for the Lord and passion to serve Him).

I’d love it if you could spread the word, I’d love to see the place packed. It only costs $5!  Here’s the promo materials.

Whether you’re young or old, this event will entertain and equip! Mission51 exists, let’s reach our community now!



Now, Not Just Later!

“I don’t want to be a pirate!”

Seinfeld is one of my favorite TV shows. In one episode Jerry inadvertently volunteered to wear a Puffy-Shirt on the Today show. Several people commented that he looked like a Pirate (thus the quote above). In a different episode Kramer had ousted all of Jerry’s shoes and all that remained were some Cowbooy boots causing Jerry to say…

“I don’t want to be a Cowboy”

Like Jerry, many of us have discovered what we don’t want to be/do. Too often, it seems, the discovery comes after years and years of doing it. What if we could find out sooner than later?

One of the appeal points for me about Adelphia Bible School is that it affords the students, at an early point and an affordable price, the opportunity to discover who/what they want to become. The Cohort Program Adelphia is starting will give students the opportunity to discover at a young age (many at age 18 or 19) some things that they may not discover until they’ve paid upwards of $100k in school.

Besides a fantastic line-up of teachers (each week they bring in a top notch speaker), the school is really geared to give students not just a foundation for later, but tools to live out his/her faith now and to discover calling, gifts, skills and possible career field NOW, not just later.

The Cohort Program will specifically give students that exploration. Upon acceptance to Adelphia the students will be asked to consider being a part of a Cohort. In the Cohorts the students will meet with best-practice partners in a specific field he or she is thinking about pursuing.

Let me give you a couple specific examples: “Joe” (protecting the guilty) is thinking about being a Youth Pastor. He is just one-class short of his Associates degree. This next year, Joe is going to enter the “Youth Ministry Cohort” and serve his local church through a formal (apprenticeship) or informal internship. In addition, he hopes to work 12-18 hours a week at a local business in order to make some money and be a missionary in the workforce and still have time to pour into his students! Through the Cohort he will get training outside his specific church from best-practice Youth Pastors and also get training in the internship from his own Youth Pastor.

“Sarah” is thinking that she’ll go into teaching after she completes a bachelors degree. However, she really wants to be a strong Christian in any field God may call her to. Sarah is going to sign up for the “Career Workforce” Cohort where she’ll be exposed to many different community leaders who hold secular career positions and see their places of employment as a mission field. Sarah plans on working 20-30 hours a week just 10 minutes away from the school.

Both of these scenarios are COMPLETELY possible because of Adelphia’s unique approach. Students will have interactive community classes each morning (9-12) and then have every afternoon and several evenings “off” so they can do any/all of the following:

  1. Intern/Apprentice  in a local church/parachurch (paid and unpaid positions)
  2. Work at local business and earn valuable income
  3. Classes at a local community college, university or online to get ahead on even more education
The Cohort experience gives students the opportunity to discover now the possibility of a vocational ministry career and how to be a missionary in any setting! Practical skills not just head-knowledge! Cohorts are being developed for each of the following and more to come: Student Ministry, Children/Family Ministry, Missions/Church Planting, Worship/Music Ministry and Career Workforce.
I hope you’ll pass on the Adelphia site for young adults to check out! Don’t hesitate to ask me questions about it as well!