Student Leadership Team

Sunday was a first for Ali and I. We finally had people over for a meal! It was awesome. Yes, we've had people over, but for dessert, hang out time, or other things.

This was the first time that people used our new dining room chairs. They match our table almost exactly and we got them for the price of dog-sitting. That's a great price!

Sunday was fun. We had our High School Student Leadership Team for a meal and meeting. I enjoy having our meetings, but having them in a home is much better. It's great hearing from them their thoughts on the group, how it's relevant (or not) and what is important to them.


Day of the Town - part 2

We finished our day of the town at Bridgetown last night. It was a wonderful evening. You never know what to expect. In fact it was the first time that a homeless person ever gave me money. It was just a penny, but wow, what a neat lady.

Pictured here are Amy & Breann (youth leaders), Brady & Nicole (students) and Alison making peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for the evening. Along with the sandwiches, we served homemade chicken chowder soup, biscuits, cake and coffee.

I had the job of Disney duty which means sweeping up the trash under the bridge. It is one of my favorite things to do there because you get to walk around and see all that is happening. You also get to stop and have conversations with different people while at the same time letting people know that they are important enough to have a clean living space.

Alison and I along with my brother and two rockers from church helped lead worship for our gathering of cross-denominational servants. It's so cool when people from different backgrounds get together in unity to be the church and not worry about our differences. It made me reminisce of leading worship in Mexico. Both are a beautiful picture of what Jesus prayed for in John 17.


Day of the Town

Ali and I are having a very towny day. She took the day off so we could have some much needed rest together.

After sleeping in, we made our way downtown for our first ever visit to Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Pictured to the right is my 16oz. mocha. The latte art reminded me of this video. Alison enjoyed a plain coffee (very good if you ask me) and I ate what I think is the best croissant I've ever had.

We then made a quick stop at Border's Book Store and drove home the scenic way, up behind the OHSU campus and stopped on the top of the hill for an incredible view of mountains Hood, Adams, St. Helens and Rainier! Astounding!

Our last town stop will be with Bridgetown Ministries under the Burnside Bridge. We're taking our youth group there to serve and love some of Portland's neediest people. It's always an amazing experience...always better than I could hope.


NYWC Day 4.0

Final day. Final thoughts Many more thoughts to come.

Brian and I started the day with the 10 minute walk to Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte and a scone, then onto the final seminar session; it was our first together for the weekend. We chose Doug Fields' course on developing a strong volunteer team. He had a lot of good things to say, but one that Brian and I agree with whole-heartedly was that volunteer in youth ministry are never chaperons. They don't just help out the youth leader. They are the ministry. Without them, the ministry would flounder. Students need adults that love for and care about them. God bless them! To see the profiles of our great team, visit our staff page.

Our final session brought Marko (Mark Oestreicher)—president of Youth Specialties—to the stage.

He described the three basic questions of adolescence: Who am I? (Identity) Do I matter/have purpose? (Affinity) Where do I fit? (Autonomy).A person (regardless of being a teenager or not) won't enter true adulthood until they answer these basic questions. For more on that, I recommend reading Hurt by Chap Clark.

Marko then profiled youth ministry from its birth in the 50's to its needed direction today.

Youth Ministry 1.0 began in the 50's and lasted into the mid 60's. It fixated on answering the Who am I question. Culture informed its language and topics. It had a proclamation style, focusing on evangelism. It's "theme passage" would be from Matthew 7 about the wide and narrow gates.

Youth Ministry 2.0 began in the late 60's and continued on until recent years. (Although some would say that the next shift in youth changed long before.) This era fixated on the Do I have purpose question. Culture informed its models & measurements. It focused on discipleship and peer groups. Ministry was program-driven and the "theme passage" could be from Matthew 28 about making disciples.

Youth Ministry 3.0 is the shifting model described next. Marko reminded us that he didn't have a crystal ball, but as the times change, students change, and ministry methods need to change.

Culture fixates now on the Where do I fit question. Culture programs our students now for Community. Marko suggests that Communion and Mission (with the whole church) are good models to use. Instead of being program-driven, be present: Present to God, to the needs of the moment, to each other, and to life in the way of Jesus.

If I can take a quick aside, another speaker talked to us about being present and that having a CEO-like vision isn't as important as you think. He said that people point to Proverbs 29 which speaks about the destruction when people lack vision. But as he pointed out—and I confirmed—the word vision is used in the King James, which was written before our modern day corporate world business mentality. If you check out modern day translations, they use the word Revelation. When the people don't have Revelation...a message from God, they flounder. Therefore, we need to constantly bring the Word of God to His people.

Finally, the "theme verse" for this era could be Acts 2:44-46 and John 17:18, where the church comes together in all unity.

Marko's final thoughts were that the days of one size fits all ministry is gone. What we need to do is contextualize ministry for the students God gave us, do less, be communional—yes, that's a made up word emphasizing community and living out our recognition of what Jesus did—be missional at all times, and be present—live today, in the now.

Was that a lot to digest? Yeah, me too. I'm thankful to work with a great team and that I have many praying for me and the students I serve.


NYWC Day 3.1

I'm just about finished with the book Living With Questions by Dale Fincher, one of the seminar speakers. Between down time and the plane ride, I'm enjoying his philosophy/apologetic written for teens. It's kind of like taking an easy, condensed version of my college philosophy class. I'm still debating whether or not I want to use the book as a basis for a teaching series or a small group material.

That night, Mark Matlock of Planet Wisdom spoke on what the American church can learn from the church worldwide. He made reference to the body of Christ, and that a body needs all its parts to be healthy. Its parts aren't just about gifts, or types of people, but includes all races and nations. So to be healthy, we need to learn from the church as it is in other cultures.

Mark also spoke about how the Acts 15 church addressed the gospel heading into a new culture. From that, he developed a comparison of how our culture tells us to run church verses the way of Kingdom of God.

Defend identityDeny self
Control the processSubmit to God and others
Critique othersServe others
Achieve outcomesTrusts God for outcomes

It's easy to get stuck in a rut of doing things out of our own wisdom and power in the church. Though I want success in my ministry, I don't want to play the numbers game. May we remember that it's His church and not our own.


NYWC Day 3.0

I'm a little late in getting my day 3 wrap up to you. Day 3 was long but good. In fact, I'm sitting at San Diego's airport right now waiting for our delayed 6pm flight back to Portland. 250,000 plus people have been evacuated from their homes because of the wild fires in the area. The hotel we stayed in even offered conventions travels an extra night's stay at a discounted rate. Many major roads are closed because of the fires. In fact, Brian and I visited the mall for lunch and it was practically empty. We'd estimate that around 40% of the stores are closed due to employees needing to be watching out for their homes.

While at the convention, we got news of two churches, one in the San Diego area and one in the Malibu area that burned to the ground. Their youth staffs were at the convention, so we had the chance to pray for them. The only item standing at the Malibu church was their cross. I know that these churches will have a hard time, but a chance to live out the reality that the church is not buildings, but people.

Now to actual day 3 things:

Gary Haugen of International Justice Mission spoke about the world slavery crisis and how our generation is called to wipe it out. 27 million human beings live in slavery, 2 million of those being children that are involved in the sex trade. It was a horrible feeling watching the presentation of how some people are treated. Fortunately, IJM directs an amazing team of courageous lawyers and others people to put together cases against the slave owners and raid properties to free slaves.

He called us who might be on the trip of Christianity but missing the adventure to step up wherever God calls and walk down a path where we will slip if God does not show up! Wow!

Well, that’s enough reading for you right now and my connection is messing up. More later...Out.


NYWC Day 2.1

The long day is over. Bedtime is coming. The day of rest begins soon.

For the record I have to admit that Doug Fields' talk convicted me. You see, he spoke about envy. He spoke about it in terms of ministry envy that we as youth workers might have toward each other. Envy kills. Maybe not literally, but my envy of another can cause me to kill their ministry and success when I talk bad about them, when I set them up to fail, when I only point out our differences and never celebrate their successes.

But I'm convicted because I have envy. The key to cleansing the envy from my heart is to celebrate others' victories and strengths. But I'm not there. I can only admit for now that I have envy.

So my fellow youth worker who's 6-digit raffle ticket held the winning number to my brand new iPod Touch, I am envious.

There, I've admitted it. My celebration for you may come some day.

P.S. Giving 3,000 finger rockets to 3,000 youth workers turns us into a bunch of mid-schoolers...and we all loved it!

NYWC Day 2.0

I'm sure I'll be back on later tonight. I've really enjoyed my re-entrance into the world of blogging.

Frances Chan spoke today. What a beautiful message of whole-heartedly perusing God and Him alone. He made many points, one of which Brain spoke to:

If Jesus had a church in Tigard, ours would be bigger. This would be true because of the radical nature of Jesus' message. Though, maybe not. Maybe his church would be filled with different kinds of people. His message was radical, but most so to those who were religious.

His other thought was about how we approach God's Word. Look at your church, your ministry, your life and walk with God. If you only had the Bible to go on, how would you expect the those things to look? Would they look the same as they do now? Different? Of course we have tradition, history, culture, and others aiding our own walk and styles. I'm not trying to say that these are bad, but Frances' question is penetrating and has implications for all who would call themselves followers of Christ.

Well, off for some perusing and then on to the next session. Out. Aaron


NYWC Day 1.0

After 8 hours of travel, time spent worshiping along side the Crowder Band, listing to the story of Phil Vischer, wandering exhibit halls, previewing the new Nooma with 3000 peers, and sharing two meals with Brian, we're about ready to call it a day.

As Brian and I were leaving the convention center at 10:30pm, I thought to myself, Where could two hungry guys without a rental car get some food to munch on? Just then, a dude with a Papa John's pizza box steps around the corner. :) I asked him if they delivered and he said he wanted to give away the last half of his pizza. Score! Though it was a bit old, it wasn't terrible.

By the way, snacks are welcomed at room 1729. Just leave them at the door if we're not here. :)

There is much more to say, but we only paid for 1 hour of internet. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and all that we'll learn, experience, and be inspired to be. It started off great; the emphasis on God. Good times.


San Diego, Here We Come!

Brian and I head down to San Diego tomorrow for 4 days and 3 nights at the National Youth Workers Convention...and boy are we excited!

We went two years ago and were impacted, refreshed and much more. Our plan is to spend some time blogging so you can see what we're thinking as we go along. Unfortunately, the hotel we're staying at charges $9.95 per day for wireless internet! You've got to be kidding! The Super 8 give free internet. Geesh.

I'm excited about David Crowder leading us in worship for the first day.


Storys of Jan

One of the greatest joys right now is hearing stories and reliving memories of who my mom was and everybody she impacted. She did a lot of that so there are a lot of stories!

Using their respective talents, my Uncles John & Dave put together a website which lets you see pictures of mom (Jan), view her artwork, read others' stories and even contribute your own memory.

If you knew my mom and have a story to share or just want to see what others remember, head on over to

Thank you Uncles,




My Dad spent many hours composing, editing, thinking about and polishing the obituary for my Mom. It is nicely done. He keeps on thinking of more to add! This obituary will go out this week in local papers. Great job Dad in sharing who mom was and what she'd want us to know.

Janice Irene (Darrow) Geist

Born - January 6, 1952, Philadelphia, PA In The Presence of Her Savior – September 29, 2007, Tigard, OR

1 Corinthians 15:10a – “I am what I am by the grace of God.”

Janice (Jan) was truly as her name implies God’s Gracious Gift. Janice Irene Darrow was born on Epiphany in 1952 to parents Bob and Doris Darrow. Her birth date falls on the traditional celebration of the wise men bringing gifts to the infant Jesus. How appropriate for one whose life came to be characterized by bringing gifts of love and service to her Savior.

While still an infant, Jan and the Darrow family moved to the Southern California beach community of Playa del Rey. There, the family added a daughter, Joanne, and a son, David. It was during those early childhood years that Jan made the most important decision of her life. At age four, she put her faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Jan herself would have the experience of being able to see her own children make the same decision as young children.

Bob, Jan’s father – an engineer/high tech salesman – moved his growing family to Mountain View in Northern California to take a new position. In Mountain View the youngest member of the Darrow family, John, was born. While in Mountain View, Jan attended elementary school, and the family joined a growing church led by Pastor Ray Stedman at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto. Everywhere the Darrow family went they made lifelong friends in their open and inviting home. Many visited the Darrow home to experience friendship, hospitality, and wise counsel.

Later, Bob’s work took the family to Costa Mesa in Southern California. There, Jan attended Teewinkle Jr. High School and completed two years at Estancia High School. Through the witness and influence of Jan and her family, several of Jan’s friends from that era also came to share her faith.

Once again the family moved, this time, to occupy Bob’s childhood home on the sandy bluffs of Playa del Rey, with its commanding vistas of the Southern California coastline and its beautiful sunsets. Almost daily as the sun dipped in the western sky, Jan’s mom could be heard throughout the house exclaiming “Look at the sunset!” Jan’s love of the beauty of God’s creation was nurtured in a home where it was never allowed to become mundane. Of course, living at the beach also included living with thick, frequent and hair-frizzing fog. During her illness Jan came to describe fog as “God’s favorite weather report.” She learned that it is in the fog of life that we truly learn to trust God to guide us.

The house on the bluff was the center for Good News Clubs, Young Life events, Bible studies, family pranks, water fights, and hospitality that included bringing home college friends after Jan’s graduation from Westchester High School in 1970.

In 1970, on the third day of school at Biola College (now Biola University), Jan met her future husband of 32 years – Dan Geist of Portland, OR. Although they met in September, it wasn’t until May 1971 that they began to date.

Dan soon became one of the many friends who experienced the Darrow family hospitality at their beachside home. As he and Jan grew in their relationship, Dan became a regular in the Darrow home. Phone calls, Jan’s occasional trips to campus (she had taken a year off from attending school), and Dan’s weekend stays with the Darrow family provided the time to grow their relationship. It was on March 4, 1972 that Dan first told Jan “I love you” – a day they would celebrate the rest of Jan’s life. The code, “143” (1 = “I”, 4 = “Love” and 3 = “You”), became their way of signaling by voice or hand sign their love for each other.

Jan returned to school for one more year. Then, on November 28, 1974, she and Dan became engaged, and their marriage followed seven months later on June 28. The newlyweds moved immediately to Portland, OR, where Dan began his teaching career. Prior to fulfilling her lifelong ambition of being a mom, Jan worked at 3M Business Equipment Bureau in Southeast Portland teaching customers how best to communicate visual presentations using overhead projectors. Her personality, artistic creativity, and communication skills allowed her to effectively instruct teachers, secretaries, and CEOs in her classes.

In 1977, Jan and Dan moved to their current home in Tigard, OR, which – through Jan’s designs and the building/remodeling skills learned by Dan and the Geist children – became a comfortable gathering place for the kind of openness and hospitality that Jan had experienced in her childhood. Aaron Daniel came into the family in 1979 followed by Annaliese (Annie) Aimee in 1982 and Andrew John Allen (AJ) in 1985. As a young mom, Jan took time to have fun with, enjoy, and teach her precious charges. She always kept an ear open to wise advice that would nurture her marriage and her children. The family, “Team Geist,” as she would say, was a safe place for the whole family where there was fun and camaraderie without meanness and sarcasm. The growing climate nurtured by Jan and Dan, added to by spiritual truth, other important like-minded adults, and most importantly God’s Grace resulted in three wonderful, meaningfully productive adult children and are joined by Aaron’s delightful wife Alison (Kelley) and Annie’s loving husband Matt Beghtel.

Even as a busy mom Jan made time to give to the life of her church and other believers at Grace Point Community Church (formerly Tigard First Baptist). Caring for newborns, teaching toddlers, working with high school students, leading AWANA clubs, set- painting and costuming for children’s productions, face painting for special children’s events, helping on work crews during church expansion projects, singing on worship teams, leading women’s Bible studies in her home, cooking for youth retreats, and editing the church’s newsletter all captured her energies at some point from the moment she began attending in 1980. Jan’s penchant for always having a camera at her side to record all phases of a project or event led to her being called “The Mamarazzi.” Many people from the church benefited and stayed close after having been touched by Jan.

Where her kids were involved, Jan threw herself into their activities, particularly in their schools. Editing school newsletters, volunteering in classrooms, building and painting sets for high school productions, as well as sewing costumes for the same all left her impression on the lives of the young people in her children’s lives. Her firm, yet winsome ways captured the friendship and respect of her children’s friends as well as that of the many children who experienced childcare in her home.

In the midst of her busy life, there was always an art or craft project being produced by Jan. Most of her work has been sold or given away to grace the homes of others. Hand-painted glass Christmas ornaments, miniature acrylic paintings of wild flowers, water- color landscapes and whimsical flowers, calligraphy, quilts, painted clothing, and photo note cards are just some of her works. (See her paintings online at (Contribute to the showing of her work online at The beauty of God’s creation – so much, always enamored her so that no matter what medium she used to capture that beauty, it was always an expression of thanks and appreciation to Him for His Creation.

Jan discovered cancer in 1998, but hid it and didn’t “turn herself in” until 2000 (read her story in her own words at and ). During the period from 2000 to 2007, Jan’s journey with cancer is a story filled with God’s grace. Yes, there was pain, loss, and regret. But it was also a time of forgiveness, renewed faith, trust, energy, and an avenue for ministry. Jan was often the comforter and encourager to her “chemo buddies.” She would ask, “What flavor of cancer do you have?” and sit back and listen and then share her own fallen story overcome by God’s ability to bring peace, grow faith, and allow a U-turn in her life. She did this with a gracious spirit sprinkled with a heavy dose of humor. During hospital stays her nurses would teasingly fight over who would get to take care of Jan. Even during this period it was not uncommon for her to listen to the needs of others and then pray for those in addition to her own. Her regular prayer was to say “Lord, make me more like you and less like me.” That prayer was ultimately answered when she stepped into the presence of Jesus Christ on Saturday, September 29, 2007. Jan’s father, Bob Darrow, preceded her by just over two years.

Jan’s children and husband all played a vital role in caring for her during the last few months of her life and especially during her hospice care. Jan couldn’t have been prouder of or more thankful for her family. Friends from her childhood in California as well as her vast network of Oregon friends expressed their care for Jan and her Geist and Darrow families during her cancer battle from 2000 to the present.

Surviving Jan on this earth are husband Dan of Tigard, OR; son Aaron and wife Alison of Portland, OR; daughter Annaliese Beghtel and husband Matt of Portland, OR; son Andrew of Tigard, OR; mother Doris Darrow of Sunnyvale, CA; sister Joanne Huddleson of Colorado Springs, CO; brother David Darrow of Carlsbad, CA; and brother John Darrow of Sunnyvale, CA.

We’ll miss you till we see you,

Dan and the kids

In lieu of flowers and other gifts, consider making a donation to the Grace Point Community Church Expansion Fund (, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Fund (, or Hospice of Washington County (

A memorial will be held: Saturday October 13, 2007 at 10:00 A.M. Tigard Christian Church 13405 S.W. Hall Blvd. Tigard, OR


Well Done

Janice Irene Darrow Geist: January 6th, 1952 - September 29th, 2007.

It's really not easy finding the words to express my thoughts right now. There are so many of them. There are many feelings. At times I think I'm doing alright and then something reminds me of another piece of my mom I won't see again this side of heaven.

It is okay. It is God's perfect timing. It is wonderful to be with family.

I am so excited for mom right now because she is hearing the words of God to her, "Well done my good and faithful servant." She lived life beautifully, placing God's will over hers, the benefit and growth of others over her personal time. There are many ways in which I want to be more like her.

I know I'll have more thoughts to share later. Thanks for listening.