Dear Belong Family,

On March 1st, 2017, I will have the incredible honor of officially joining the pastoral staff of Belong in a full-time capacity.  Jasper and I have been working closely together from the very beginning, when our new faith community was just a glimmer in the eye of the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference. 

Because I am a relative newcomer to the United Methodist denomination, and an unfamiliar face to many of you, Jasper and I thought it would be prudent for me to introduce myself, and to share a little bit of my excitement, enthusiasm, hopes and dreams for our new church. 

Since graduating from Colorado Christian University in 2004, I have been involved in full-time pastoral ministry for almost 13 years, primarily in the area of Worship Arts.  I’ve had the privilege of serving churches from a wide range of denominational backgrounds and flavors, from non-denominational to Episcopal to Lutheran, Evangelical Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist.  I’m currently serving as the worship pastor of a non-denominational church in Arvada, a gracious and loving community that has encouraged my spiritual and leadership development, and fostered health and healing for me and my family.    

However, over the past several years, I have found my heart being drawn further and further toward expressions of faith that manifest in attitudes of inclusion and actions of social justice.  I have found that my theology and my perspective on many social issues no longer fit neatly within the “evangelical” box.  When I was introduced to Jasper by a mutual friend two years ago, I instantly knew I had found a partner and a kindred spirit (as Anne of Green Gables would say) in ministry.  Together we began to dream about what an inclusive, relevant, and life-giving Christian community in the city might look like. 

Music has always been a driving force in my life.  My parents met in the trombone section of the high school honor band, and my wife and I shared the drum major podium in our own high school marching band.  I played multiple instruments by the time I headed off to college, and picked up several more during my time in the music department.  I also began to develop a profound awareness of the importance of music and art in a liturgical setting, and a passion for serving the church through faithful, authentic, and excellent expressions of art. 

As we begin this journey together, I look forward to the challenge of developing a worship culture at Belong that reflects the values of our community: specifically those of inclusiveness, justice, and diversity.  My hope is that we will move forward into forms of artistic and musical expression in worship that are transformational, inspirational, and totally unique.  While my role at Belong will involve some broader pastoral duties and responsibilities, I am excited to spend a significant portion of my time crafting and curating meaningful liturgical experiences for those who worship at 1615 Ogden Street.

My wife Karissa and I have been married almost 14 years.  We first met in her grandmother’s 2nd grade Sunday School class, and fell in love under the fireworks during the summer before she left for college.  She is a classic beauty, an accomplished flutist, and the endlessly patient and selfless mother of our three children: Finley (8), Emerson (5), and Coraline (2-going-on-14). 

Thank you for all the grace and support you have already shown to me and my family.  We can’t wait to begin regular worship and involvement with all of you, working to bring about the Kingdom of Christ in our families, neighborhoods, and city.

Grace & Peace,
Justin