The summer before my senior year I went to youth group for the first time ever. It was there I met Jeff, a youth pastor who’s boldness and outright audacity changed my life forever.
He did something that most youth pastors and for that matter most books on evangelism would say not to do. In our first ever interaction, he challenged me that while I was on a trip to Shasta Lake over 4th of July weekend to pray “if I had the courage to”. He told me to say “God, if you’re real, prove it.”
While I sat alone on a sandbar in the middle of the lake, I couldn’t shake the audacity of this man. What made him so confident to challenge me and call out my courage? Who did he think he was to call me out? So of course… I took the bait and I prayed. “God if you’re real, prove it”.
I prayed - God proved it (if you’d like to know how come ask me). My first prayer to Him as he extravagantly proved his existence to me was about as irreverent as it gets as I blurted out “Oh %$#@!!! You’re real”.
I set out at that point to tell other students or anyone who’d listen about Christ. It was then that I realized my love for youth ministry. First it was telling my peers, then it grew. I wanted to be like Jeff, I wanted to be a youth pastor that pointed students to Jesus ever since I was a student that a youth pastor pointed to Jesus.
Since then I’ve enjoyed many years of the adventure that is the Christian process. I’ve struggled but I’ve grown. I’ve wept and laughed. I’ve tried to run away from God, only to be brought back home by His grace, mercy and love.
My wife Jen is hands down the most amazing woman of God I’ve ever met. She is a powerful prayer warrior and my best friend. It is safe to say I married UP. Jen and I have served in youth ministry and young adult ministry together and thoroughly enjoy that aspect of our marriage. We have two fantastic kids that love Jesus. Mekenna is about to graduate high school with honors and head to college, she loves to worship and sings angelically like her mom. Grayson is a young man wild at heart with a gift for memorizing scripture. Both are going to majorly impact this world for the Kingdom of God, I am confident of that.
Through prayer and some major God movements, I began to send my resume to churches in the Bay Area to take the next step in the adventure God had for me and my family. In May I was hired at Trinity Church. In December, the church voted me in as the new Youth Pastor. This in my opinion is nothing short of miraculous and we love being a part of the body at Trinity.
Random tony facts
I love the mountains and the beach. I married my wife in the woods and proposed to her on a beach.
I proposed to Jen in Venice, Italy.
I have lived in Alaska as a short term missionary in Nome.
I am an avid sports fan (Giants, Niners, Warriors, Sharks… you know, the good teams)
I love music and appreciate almost all varieties… don’t believe me? Check out our record collection.
I think it’s a fun adventure to try the food of the places we visit. Due to this, I’ve tried many fun dishes and have eaten seal, whale blubber, caribou, moose, bear, walrus, shark, squid in it’s own ink, tundra berries, and many other random local treats.
I sometimes like to write poetry or “spoken word”. I also have been known to parody songs at random though I can’t sing at all.
I absolutely love to travel.
Photography is my art of choice. I love to take pictures and see God’s work through a lens.
I own and still wear some t-shirts that are older than my daughter who is about to head to college. Much to the chagrin of my daughter and likely my wife. :)