This month, we are taking you to Anchorage, Alaska, to feature the work of Street Psalm Senior Fellow, Joel Kiekintveld. Joel’s particular focus as Street Psalms Senior Fellow is how to gather diverse leaders to effect change in the city of Anchorage, which is an urban context with a rural mentality. Joel has what makes good teachers great – he’s curious! It’s what makes him so good at setting tables for others, especially young leaders who are hungry for a Gospel that is as wild and free as Alaska itself.
Taking his cue from Elijah, Joel loves to “run in the mountains, but isn’t nearly as good at calling down fire on alters.”
Joel lives in Anchorage, with his wife, Stacey, and their three daughters. He is the Founding Director of Parachute Ministries where he served as the Executive Director for 10 years. He also serves as Teaching Pastor at Crosspoint Community Church, and is completing his PhD at the University of Pretoria in Practical Theology.
What are we doing at our Training Hub in Anchorage? Let me tell you the story of a young leader at our biweekly dinner discussion called “The Table” at Parachutes Teen Club and Resource Center.
The topic that night was, “Is there a God?” We didn’t think Ethan had been listening. He had been laying on a couch just outside the group, seemingly content to play on his phone rather than participate in the conversation.
But then he suddenly sat up and blurted out somewhat awkwardly, “I think God is like a song on the radio”. The kid we thought hadn’t been paying attention was now answering the question of the night. Ethan continued, “The first time you hear it you have no idea what is going on. Then after you hear it a few times you start to get the beat. Then you know the hook. After a while you can sing all the words. Then, after you’ve heard it a bunch of times it’s like you never didn’t know the song.” Finishing his thought, he laid back down on the couch.
This flash of a moment illustrates something awesome about the Incarnation – we get to learn from each other in what theologian James Alison calls a “Great Reversal.” In this case, a teen from the street, switched from being the student to being the teacher. That’s what we are learning how to do here – to sit at the feet of those we serve and trust the Spirit at work – wild and free. It’s thrilling!
Street Psalms Senior Fellow
Founding Director of Parachute Ministries
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Learn more about the community that Joel serves
Stories that remind us what is possible when leaders undergo the Incarnational Movements.