LGBTQ Resources

The Global Fringe podcast

We wrapped up the first season of The Global Fringe podcast, with a miniseries on faith and LGBTQ stories from a few of my friends who’ve walked the journey.

One of my guests, Shelley Donaldson was kind enough to curate a list of resources she’s personally benefitted from as a Christian, lesbian, and pastor to teenagers.

I hope they will be helpful to you in your own journey and spiritual leadership….


Fish Out of Water - good for all folks with basic theology questions when it comes to the "terror texts", with pretty good scholars responding

For the Bible Tells Me So – referenced in the podcast … grab your Kleenex!



This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question & Answer Guide to Everyday Life by Danielle Owens-Reid & Kristin Russo – highly recommend for parents and youth workers & pastors

Coming Out Young and Faithful by Leanne McCall & Timothy Brown – this one is from 2001 but still good)

What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D. – it's theological but it's also really accessible for parents, youth, and pastors/youth workers

A Brief Guide to Ministry with LGBTQIA Youth by Cody J. Sanders – HIGHLY recommend to youth workers and pastors across the board!

The Bible and the Transgender Experience: How Scripture Supports Gender Variance by Linda Tatro Herzer

Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America by Jeff Chu – it's a good read for everyone, the stories are amazing

Children/Tween/Teen Books:

All of these are book lists I would recommend and it's easier to send these rather than all of them, I've used so many of them at some point with parents of teens and younger.

LGBT Kids Books Huffington Post

Welcoming Schools - this has the lists broken down into specifics like 2 dads, etc.


We Are Teachers - books with LGBT characters

Common Sense Media for tweens

Common Sense Media for teenagers, the Aristotle and Dante one is a favorite of mine that my youth have loved

- resources curated by Rev. Shelley Donaldson

NOTE: I have not personally reviewed or used these resources in my life or leadership. I simply wanted to share what my guest has found beneficial in her ministry.

HEY! Season 2 is launching in February 2019! Become a Patron of the show to support the voices from the fringe. Of course you’ll get some fun benefits, but you’ll be on the ground level of this podcast making history.

2018: Designing a Life We Love

A magical Hawaiian vacation in July. Asher’s still wearing his resort bracelets.

Mele Kalikimaka and Merry Christmas!

What a year it has been. One of the beautiful things about a new year is the hope of what can come. I launched into this year with the invitation to HOLY BOLDNESS. I knew I needed to take some steps forward that would be uncomfortable, challenging, and reframe some mental models. I had a sense that changes were coming that I needed to prepare myself for physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We were beginning our first full year “home again” and we were feeling settled in every way. I began 2018 with wild hope, sure commitment, and belief that this would be one of our best years ever.

Not quite. But totally.

I had a pattern interruption early in the year. I got fired from a job that mattered to me by people who I loved. It was shocking and disorienting. All the feels and the fears. One mentor said, “welcome to the club”. Another said, “congratulations”. I was reminded me that most of life is lived in the tension between pain and celebration. This pattern interruption resonated with that tension.

Getting fired catapulted me into designing a life we love.

There had long been aches and vision for something new. Dreams had been forming that I had a hard time ignoring but was too fearful to activate. Twenty years of developing and leading out other’s visions lead me to the point where I had to birth my own. One night at 3:30am when I couldn’t sleep from the grief and fear, I sat on our patio in the cold night air. Tears streamed. Questions overwhelmed. Fears bombarded my faith. And yet. Clearly I heard God speak, “It’s time. It’s time to design a life you love.” Faith removed fear’s grip and my mind was set on a new way forward.

Birthing a Dream

A scarcity mentality has limited my heart for as long as I can remember. God’s been faithfully dismantling those false beliefs over the past 2 years. This year has been fertile soil to practice an abundance mentality when I didn’t know how we’d pay the bills next month. And yet. We have all we need. There’s enough for us to receive and give. We don’t need to fight for territory or work. There is more than we can possibly ask or imagine.

For most of 2018 Brian and I have been desperately dreaming, designing, and developing a life we love. Never before have we been this excited about the life we are building together for now, for our kids, and for forever. Never before have we been so freaking out on a limb. I’ve been a visionary and an activist my whole life. I’ve been entrepreneurial, but now I’m an entrepreneur. As I approach 40 years old this coming year, I can see how my whole story matters and is coming together to create a company that reflects my truest self. Twenty years of leadership and teaching is integrating in my own life more than ever and expanding out in the work of my hands. And i’m positive God’s word to us is almost always for the other (Bonhoeffer)…for you.

But it’s been hard as hell. Most of this year has been frantic, unexpected, unknown, and overly filled with ideas. (I’m a visionary, people!) Even as I practice my best self-leadership, soul care, and grieving the losses well, I’ve found myself on the verge of a few panic attacks, not exercising well, working too much, and physically manifesting stress. Finances have been the most challenging ever. And yet. God gave us 38 financial miracles over the summer alone (Pssst, stay the course!). Fear and faith continue to dance around the center of my heart as we continue designing a life we love as a family.

And yet. With each month we’re increasingly committed that birthing this vision is what I’ve been put on earth to do. Designing a life we love isn’t just for us and about us. It’s for you and about you. Each of us is offered that potential. We get to co-create with our Creator to bring the most amount of good and hope and wholeness to this world. Designing and birthing may be painful, but it’s absolutely worth it. It’s necessary. Discomfort is required. Hope is essential. Listening is the way. Action creates momentum.

Perhaps this year has held a pattern interruption for you, too?

What has it taught you? Pain and problems can propel you toward your preferred future. Or they can sink you into depression, bitterness, settling for the status quo, and despair. Interruptions are designed to wake us up to the life we must live. They help to raise our attention to where we’ve been settling and excusing crap for far too long. Interruptions alert us to a new way for the sake of the other.

As 2018 wraps up, I’ll be grateful to leave her behind. And I’m grateful for what she’s taught me. Pain can position us for powerful connection and purpose. I don’t want to waste a single bit. What about you?

As we look toward 2019, what do you want? How will you position yourself heading into a new year filled with the same hope this year had? It’s not easy, but it’s a simple process.

I’d love to stand with you however I can.

On a family note, Judah turned 10 years old and will be taller than me in no time. He’s known for his sweetness and thoughtfulness. A recent sketching enthusiast, he’s the smartest absent-minded professor I’ve ever met. Addise is learning how to embrace her whole story because our whole story matters. She’s one of the strongest and most courageous people I’ve ever known and she’s only 8 years old. She appears shy at first but she has a level of intensity and passion second to none. Asher’s stubborn and fun to the nth degree. A math whiz and overly enthusiastic hugger and kisser, he’s the middle to our Oreo Cookie trio. He’s too smart for a 6 years old but at least he has a kind heart. Brian and I are partnered more than ever as we design and launch a company that’s the deepest reflection of our calling and passion. He’s working another job, as well, to provide a thin layer of stability as we are in start-up mode. He’s the glue that holds us together.

This year we fell more in love with our neighbors and neighborhood. We dove in (literally with the neighborhood swim team all summer) relationally. Kids can be found running around the block, ringing neighbors doorbells, and requesting playdates like it’s their job. Beauty walks around the neighborhood are common place and trips to the pools are constantly requested. We’re praying we can buy a home in this neighborhood in the next couple years … we love it that much.

Above it all, we are HOME. Our soul finds rest and life in this place. It feels as if this thin place is our place on Earth. We get to decide how we steward it best.

Post-Thanksgiving Trip Lake Tahoe

2019 Youth Workers' Coaching Group


Youth workers are some of my favorite people on the planet.

You are fun, future focused, innovative, creative, flexible, thoughtful, and curious. You might be a youth worker if … you resonate with this post. Youth workers are open to change and are so flexible to do something different if it'll promote growth and a better result. Youth workers are living into the future of the church now, which can be super messy and complex.

For a little over 20 years I've been a youth worker in some way, shape, or form. I love us. We run deep together. We're all about 2 degrees of separation from each other, which makes it so very fun.

Over the last several years, I've been über committed to raise the water level of potency and effectiveness of youth workers. It's challenging to be a youth worker. We are on the cutting edge of the culture changes that affect teenagers before adults even know what's up. Youth workers need to be able to dance between leading 3 very different groups of people: parents, volunteers, and teenagers. Add in the layer of being a great team member and often youth workers (even the college and seminary trained ones!) struggle to navigate the waters of the job. I get it. I've been there.

If you want to be a healthy and effective youth worker, you need to know this…

What got you here, won't get you there.

To get from here to there, you need new skills, practices, resources, and relationships. Doing what you've always done won't create the environment for transformation. Those changes - both internally and externally - are vital to be identified and led through well. Being future forward in your work with young people requires new thinking and innovation. Youth workers who live with great intentionality and discipline experience breakthroughs throughout their life on a regular basis.

Who you are determines what you do.

You can only fake it for so long. You can only live off of fumes and charisma for a short period of time. You can only sprint for short distances. Yet all too often, youth workers do those things as a way of life and expect it to work long-term. Proverbs is clear, out of the overflow of what's within comes out in our words and behaviors. Our bodies often reveal the state of our souls. Everything we do - on purpose or on accident - is a reflection of who we are. I believe we are created good and are designed to do so much good, yet it requires reflective, thoughtful self-leadership to live into our potential.

Leaders are learners, especially listeners + readers.

A wise mentor told me years ago, "Leadership begins with listening." Leadership probably ends with listening, as well, and all the way in between. Leaders must be the most rabid learners of anyone!! If we are going to attempt to influence others' lives and souls, we need to constantly be reading, listening, and learning from voices who will take us to those new places. This element of self-leadership is imperative for healthy, forward moving leadership.

Leaders take responsibility for their life + leadership.

We are not victims to our circumstances or present realities. Your reality today doesn't dictate your reality for tomorrow. Your present doesn't have to be your future. You and only you are responsible for your life. Responsibility is really about your response meeting your abilities. How you connect those two elements together either creates an engaged, active life or a passive, reactive one.

Culture + context is everything.

What works in Northern Indiana may not work in Southern California or in me, I've lived in all those places. But learning how to discern your culture and context enables you to lead and adapt youth ministry wherever you go. Growing in your ability to decode culture, adapt to your surroundings, and lead well within your strengths and commitments significantly increases your effectiveness as a youth worker.

Does this resonate with you? Are you ready to dig deep and experience a transformational 6 months of coaching? If so, you need....

Youth Worker's Coaching Group:

leadership development with a youth ministry twist
+ spiked with spiritual formation

  • Launching early 2019

  • 10 youth workers from coast to coast

  • 6 month catalytic journey: two 48-hour in-person meetings in Orange County, CA, four 3-hour webinars, and six 1on1 coaching calls with April (see more details below)

  • Personalized and specific action steps so you can break through barriers and achieve your goals

  • Private online community for additional learning, interaction, support, and idea sharing between webinars

  • Investment: $1000 plus travel, 6 books, and a couple assessments

You are worth the investment because you have one life to live to its fullest. Imagine what your life and leadership could look like with this kind of new skills, accountability, care, and resources. Take responsibility for your life, courageous youth worker. What can you gain by saying YES? You are loved.

Questions? Email me and let’s figure it out.



  • PRIOR TO MONTH 1: Take an assessment and read assigned book

  • MONTH 1: 48 hour coaching retreat in Orange County, CA with 1on1 Coaching

  • MONTH 2: Webinar + 1on1 Coaching

  • MONTH 3: Webinar + 1on1 Coaching + Guided Half-Day Personal Retreat

  • MONTH 4: Webinar + 1on1 Coaching

  • MONTH 5: Webinar + 1on1 Coaching + Guided Half-Day Personal Retreat

  • MONTH 6: 48-hour coaching retreat in Orange County, CA with 1on1 Coaching

The specific dates will be chosen by the participants. All webinars are 9am-12pm PST.