Here's what I wrote on page 1 of my dissertation for acknowledgments:
I offer first thanks to my old seminary professor and role model, Dr. Roland Martinson, for his sage advice twenty years ago when I asked him if I should pursue a doctorate. He told me, “Naw. Go get your education first.”
Second, thanks goes out to: Dr. BJ Jun, my dissertation advisor, for his wisdom, grace, counsel and friendship; my pastor and fellow DMIN traveler Dan Poffenberger, our SFS9 cohort and the good folks at George Fox Evangelical Seminary for their camaraderie and support; the brilliant Amy Kippen for convincing me I had to write a book on the topic of my last 20 years’ work at Faith Inkubators; Bill Greig III at Regal Publishing for testing these concepts with his own children and believing in the message enough to publish the book; David Shepherd, my literary agent, for his hard work and strategic advice; Ted and Robbie Baehr and the good folks at www.movieguide.org for their aid in research and marvelous publicity assistance with the book.
Thanks goes to the late Mike Yaconelli for talking me into staying in youth ministry once when I was burning out years ago; Dr. Carl George for challenging me to design new models for children and youth ministries; Drs. Tony Campolo and Bill Easum for letting me pick their brains and listen to their hearts over the years; Scott and Deanna Ness, for inspiring me with their dedication to these concepts in a house full of six little ones; Todd Ernster from “The Killer Hayseeds” and all the FINK Music Guild members for adding their passion, talents and energies to our 250 Bible verse songs that allow us to give families five years’ worth of weekly Scriptures for Step 2 (Read); Christy Smith from “Discovering Deaf Worlds” for signing the first 90 of our Bible songs in ASL; Debbie Streicher for a decade+ of friendship, family ministry insights and for dreaming up the “Faith Acts In The Home” name; Monty Lysne, Tom Collins and the rest of the Faith Inkubators staff over the years for their endless patience, hard work and often under-appreciated efforts on behalf of children, youth and families across the world.
Immeasurable thanks go to my wife, Arlyce Joy, and children Kathryn Elizabeth and Joseph Martin, for loving me in ways I needed to be loved, enriching my life in too many ways to number, and giving me a treasure bank of stories for the core of my life’s work, and the life in my core work.
Finally, I was too busy to even think of investing time in an advanced degree until Len Sweet showed up at an Aspen think-tank I was hosting for Methodist youth workers in 2009. “Your work isn’t bad,” he said, “but you should get some people smarter than you to take a look at it.”
A lot of smarter people and a doctorate later, I really must say Len was right.Thanks, Len.