Saturday, November 22, 2008

Triple-A- Award

Rainbow Trail camp, Hillside, CO has been awarded the prestigious Triple-A- Adult award. In fact it is the first ever Triple-A-Adult award.  In reality it is the only such award ever given. When a camp staffs itself with remarkable Authentic, Available and Affirming people it deserves an award! They really deserve an award that has large amounts of cash attached to it, but this award comes with a lot of appreciation from people who’s hearts have been touched over and over again during the last three weeks of Youth and Family ministry Certification School. Not only did this camp meet all our program needs and have wonderful facilities but, most importantly they shared themselves.

I began to recognize it when meal time prayers where led by Chris, our amazing cook, and John, the Site Manager. The recognition grew stronger everyday as we got to interact with every team member. Thumbs up to David Jarvis, Rainbow Trail’s camp director, who has not only hired the best people for the job descriptions but has hired those that fully embody the AuthenticAvailable and Affirming traits.

The Triple-A-Adult award can only go to places that understand that faith is passed on through personal trusted relationships by the power of the Holy Spirit. Such places recognize that relational faith influence has no hierarchy. A congregation may have a pastor and janitor with very different job descriptions, but the ministry of relational faith influence is empowered, encouraged and embodied by the whole team. All share in relational ministry.

Congratulations to the whole Rainbow Trail Team and their shared Triple-A ministry!

Thank you

CLICK here and meet the whole team!

Monday, November 17, 2008

CERT School Fun

Hanging out... working and playing, some of the best!

Scenes Around Camp

Hard to not find a great scene.  (That would Pike's Peak, under the cloud!)

On Top of the World

Almost... the Pike's Peak Cog train took us from 6,500 to 14,110... and with wind chill, a bit below zero. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Youth Ministry! It is no longer about how many kids I can get into a room. It is more about how many faith giving people can I surround each of my kids with. As people talk, here at CERT school, they discover how their faith developed. They find that mostly it came through the influence of peers, family, congregation members, people in the community, and the surprises of those outside their normal culture, and those who have shared experiences understanding creation. 

Thus the names on all the sticky notes... each containing amazing stories.

Friday, November 07, 2008

CERT - Friday

A rare moment I can get on the blog site here in the mountains!

Here is our Crew! A great group, as always.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rainbow Trail Day 1

The air, clouds, trees, streams, wind, mountains, all merge as a mosaic of site and sound.

Three weeks of teaching, being, and growing with 14 CERT school participants. If you have to be some place for three weeks, this is not a bad place to be.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

FaithTalk Four Keyed

There in!

Andrea and I had the fun and honor of writing the new four keyed set of FaithTalk cards.

Call the Institute!

Indian Stew!

Most of my work the last couple months has kept me home. Lots of local groups.
I have been away from the Blog for awhile, thus a lot of groups not represented. This one was with the faith formation team at Prince of Peace, my home congregation. It was nice to be invited back in.

The great extra surprise... meeting Audrey, a past EWALU camp counselor, the creator of "Indian Stew."

Oh my, all those years at camp filling the huge pot on the tripod over the fire. We all took turns with canoe paddle stirring, who knows what was in it!

Creating New Memories

The First Rock 'n' Roll show
New nephew with the new uncle weekend.

We worked in the yard, played in the leaves, but the big goal... Nicks band, "Take Cover." (E.P. now on I-Tunes! --- Buy it today! )

Erin and I were invited back stage to listen from the side lines.

The Mississippi Fall Tour

A drive down the river…
The Johnson’s
Great car music
The Raptor Center – Wabasha
Bed and breakfast
Nelson’s Cheese Factory
Balltown Road
Breitbachs, Iowa's Oldest Bar & Restaurant
Wine and Cheese stops along the road
Lots of leaves!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Peace At Home

Peace Be Still – Sitting out on the Rusty Frog (The name of the deck!) A warm breeze, crisp falling leaves, and music from Cities 97 Acoustic Sunrise playing from the windows all surround me.

On our property alone sits…

5 – White Oaks

2 – Silver Maples

1 – Catalpa

1 – Basswood

1 – Honey Locust

1 – Buckeye

1 – Red Pine

The deck overlooks another 100 trees of all kind reaching down into the small valley. This is the place where Andrea and I find our peace, our place to be still. I can’t imagine wanting any more today.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Take Cover The Tour

Two CD releases in four days. The first for Take Cover. Love the sweaty drummer, Nick! The second Sing It Loud, was at the rotunda in the Mall of America. Both bands hit the road tomorrow to share a Midwest tour. 

Monday, August 25, 2008

Where did you see God this week?

Okay... a bit behind in my weeks. But sitting on the street of Hill City, South Dakota, eating our ice cream cones! --- I was caught by some kind of spiritual intensity between the young boy and the old street singer. God? Not sure, but I sensed I was getting a glimpse of something rich and real. A presence that reached beyond the artificial surroundings that seems to fill everyday life. It seems to be in the small and unusual the mysteries of life can be appreciated!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

“Murphy always has his happy face on.” –Sam, the age three nephew

Lyle has lost his happy face. I started realizing it this week. Finally named it over the weekend.

It is just a roof over the garage. In the grand scheme of life it isn’t even that much money. BUT, now eleven pages are filled recording the phone calls and dealing with Schmidt Roofing. What was told to me was that the job would be a one-day job, and that it would be done in the next few days after signing a contract.

Instead I have to beg, plead, threaten, call, and e-mail, everyday. It has become what I think about when I wake up, and when I go to bed. When the Schmidt Brothers finish their job the city will check off on their permit, than I can start on mine, which is the deck over their roof. The lumber for the deck has been in my driveway for six weeks now. Disappointment after disappointment has caused me to loose my happy face. Thus not much to Blog about recently. Time to get some help in dealing with them and get on with my life. 

And if you need work done on your house? Don't hire Schmidt roofing!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Morning Reflections

Catching up on blogging for a bit... Long lists from home and work to keep busy with. The new deck is piled in the driveway waiting for the roofers to finish their part. The morning sun gives it's own reflective blessing on a new day.

New Trails

Many new life trials, all in gratefulness. This one, close to the new home, leads through some of the 9 mile creek water shed. I came around a corner to meet a deer walking towards me. We both stood still for several minutes watching, and wondering about each other.


Sauk Rapids Parade
All two and half hours of it.
Thought we would need flashlights to see the last parts!

Andrea shared the rainbow observation over breakfast.

The Rainbow... Gen 9:16 "When I see the rainbow in the sky, I will always remember the promise I have made to every living creature." --- Isn't it interesting that the reminder is for God. I always assumed the reminder was ours... Even in this ancient story God is the actor. I think we assume so often that biblical text are about us. More often than not, they are really about the acts of God.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Fieldgrinhousers

A week of moving in and celebrating. On the steps of our new tree house in Bloomington we surrounded ourselves with family and a few friends for a house blessings and a wedding.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Youth Convo Los Angeles

Growing Groups, for Small Group Facilitating... An interesting topic for the situation, but the magic of those groups was evident. Laughs to tears, many great things shared.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Youth Ministry Rant

A great group from CERT school number 51 in Dubuque, IA! After hanging out with this wonderful crew for three days I finished up the following thoughts...

“D@#$%!  Soccer”

“*&^%$  Dance Line”

“^&*(#   Marching Band”

“!@#$%  Football, basketball, hockey, debate, and let’s not forget the chess team or whatever else is getting in the way of my (Oops, I mean) their first priority, which centers around being at my (there I go again) their church programs. What are their parents teaching anyway?!!!”

I hear forms of this lament everywhere I go. “I just had to cancel another event because my kids are too busy,” I am told this often by those who work with kids in the church. Big church, small church, big town, little town, it doesn’t matter; the kids and their parents are overly busy with a smorgasbord of opportunities that leaves little time for one more church event.

But… What if! (I personally love those words.) What if the soccer team, dance line, marching band and chess team are exactly where kids belong as ministers? What if we stopped seeing events as the competition, the enemy, and saw the relationships formed in the midst of teams, casts, and bands as the very places real youth ministry happens? What if youth, wherever they are, and whoever they are with, are living what we call youth ministry? What if the congregation is primarily an equipping and supportive place for youth to be Peer Ministers?

If I am honest about my youth ministry scorecard I have to realize that kids showing up at meetings or events are not a measurement of success, no matter how much fun they have. My real desired outcomes are kids who live with a vibrant faith that cares and welcomes all people, in all places, and at all times as a results of being loved and graced by God.

Here is how it might work! Granted, you have to gather kids to equip them, and you will still need adults who will train and support kids. Kids participate in Peer Ministry training they complete the training, they move into the phase of being supported and resourced by their leaders. What if, when your kids are busily engaged with the demands of all those other programs and places, you and your adult leaders each called kids and asked questions like:

“How is your ministry going?”

 “How have you been using your skills this week?”

“What are the issues that you are most concerned about?”

“What support or resources or people can I guide you to?”

“What can I pray for you this week?”

One group tallied the number of times and topics their 16 Peer Ministers reported over a semester. The group reported over 2,000 times they used Peer Ministry skills! Let me emphasize this again, over 2,000 times they said they used the skills of caring and welcoming their neighbor. After sharing this, one skeptic said, “I suppose after awhile they think every conversation is a Peer Ministry conversation.”

I just smiled. “Wouldn’t that be too bad?” What if kids understood that God was part of every conversation and every relationship. “Hmmmm…,” wouldn’t I want these Peer Ministers hanging out with the sports teams, art departments, and chests teams?

Just by making such calls kids, get the message that we assume they already are ministers. This alone begins to change the view kids have about Christian leadership and ministry. Leadership would no longer be just about microphones and committees, the images constantly presented by those of us who speak, preach, sing, teach, and those of us who gather for meeting after meeting, necessary tasks but, not the whole ministry. Microphones and committees work best when they empower people to leave the room and go and do ministry in the midst of the everyday activities.

If your congregation is ranting and lamenting that kids are too busy to come, then maybe it is time to rethink the youth ministry scorecard. Help kids discover that the very things they are most concerned about, their relationships, are ministry. We just forgot to tell them. Now, maybe it is time.


Peer Ministry 

We train adult facilitators,

Who train your youth,

Who use Peer Ministry skills every day, in every relationship.


From The Youth & Family Institute

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm on YouTube!

Hey look--- I'm on TV! --- Note the perpetual coffee cup in hand!

New Orleans Full Moon

On the streets the moon adventures continue! 
And... here is the task that took me there...
(can I really find 800!)

ELCA Youth Gathering - New Orleans!


We need 800 young adults ages 20 to 25, to be Servant Companions at the ELCA Youth Gathering July 20-26, 2009 in New Orleans. You will help lead 36,000 high school youth and adult leaders through a variety of experiences around the theme of Jesus, Justice, and Jazz. 
Each Servant Companion will help welcome, lead, facilitate and care for groups of 45 youth and adult leaders through the Youth Gathering experiences while in New Orleans. This will include service projects, theological reflections and interactions with an area of justice. 
If you are a person who...
  •  Senses a calling for youth ministry
  • Is growing in your theology and practices of faith
  •  Is excited by being with high school youth
  • Engaging and confident voice that commands and energizes a group of 45
  •  Has a confident, welcoming, life affirming personality
  • Listens carefully to concerns and can help problem solve
  •  Can “think on your feet”
  • Learn names quickly
  •  Has experience with small group facilitating skills
  •  Has an interest in justice issues
  •  Be okay with not having all the answers.
  •  Is able to listen and wonder with youth about ambiguous ideas of theology and sociological issues
  •   Is humble, dependable and above all flexible. –The Gumby Pledge!

Then we need you!
Apply today to join us as a Servant Companion by going to click on the link that reads “Volunteering at the Gathering” to apply on line.

Training and orientation begins at 3 PM on Monday, July 20, 2009. Your housing and meals will be provided. You will apply through the ELCA web site, need to have background checks completed and secure your own transportation to New Orleans. Servant Companions will be led by a team of 27 Coaches and coordinated by Lyle GrinerNational Peer Ministry Director with The Youth & Family Institute in Bloomington, MN.

Preservation Hall

"I think it is very visual," in contrast to a comment made that jazz didn't need to be seen! Preservation Hall was way to crowded for the numbers they let in. Somehow, I managed to crouch down by the entrance the musicians walked in through. My ankles hurt as I knelt observing the old weathered and warn floor boards. The building was built originally as a home in the French Quarter in 1750. Since the mid 60's the room has been filled with the nostalgia of the famous old New Orleans Jazz sounds.

Okay... a bit behind in the blogging department. This is a week of travels, thus backwards for an adventure or two!

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Greetings to a Minnesota spring. Decided it was time to get out and run in the snow. Yesterday the stuff that came down was wet and slushy, but the couple inches that was being added this morning was pure powder. The only flower that was up was a metal one, but the robin, a true sign of spring, was real. The robin and cardinal voices still sounded happy to see the sun rising, still believing it is spring.