Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Today I write as part of a sychroblog.  If you are not sure exactly what that is, it's OK- neither am I.  But my friend Tracee Persiko invited me me to be a part of this special day of blogging to help kick-off a book she helped write entitled Inciting Incidents. The basic idea is to get a bunch of bloggers writing about moments that changed their lives forever, pushing their story forward.  To read more stories of Inciting Incidents, click here.  This is one of mine.

When I graduated high school in 1977 I knew I wanted to be a writer. I had prepared myself for years, working on school newspapers, writing articles for a community paper, and serving as first sports editor and later editor-in-chief of our high school yearbook.  During those same years God had changed my life by giving me a new group of friends through a church youth group who had become the center of my life.  I spent my first year of college still planning to go into journalism, but feeling a tug at my heart to find some way to be involved in youth ministry and make a difference in the lives of young people- the same way my youth group had for me.  But to be honest, it was tug I was trying hard to ignore.

In the summer of 1978 I was working at Quaker Lake Camp at a cabin counselor.  One of the first weeks of camp was a 4th & 5th grade camp, and I had a camper named Geoff Robinson.  His father, David, was the pastor at Centre Friends Meeting, a Quaker church located just down highway 62 from QLC.  As the summer moved along there were a number of campers from Centre Friends, including several at senior high camp.  A few weeks after that high school camp one of those students, a young woman named Robin Davis, was killed in a car wreck.   As the QLC family sought to deal with the grief, I found myself providing an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on to many folks, both staff and campers.  The funeral was held at Centre Friends, and I took a delegation from camp to attend. It was a very emotional day, and again, I found myself offering comfort to many.  It seemed very natural to me, and was simply the right thing to do.

The following week Pastor David Robinson came down to camp one afternoon and said he wanted to speak with me in private.  He thanked for the support I had provided the previous week, and said he had something to tell me- and something to ask me.  He wondered if I had ever considered going into ministry- specifically youth ministry.  I said I had thought about it, but not very seriously.  He then said, "Well you should.  As a matter of fact, as soon as camp is over, I would like for you to be our youth pastor at Centre. You see Carl, God has gifted you to do ministry."  Almost without a thought, I accepted- and for the next 28 years youth ministry was my life's calling.

I had felt the tugs on my heart, and enjoyed the passion of ministry at QLC, but until David Robinson identified my gift, I was unaware. Until that moment when he spoke to me about being gifted by God to do God's work among teenagers, it was just something that seemed like fun.  Suddenly, I had a calling.  Suddenly, I knew in my hear that my life was headed in a brand new direction.  My introduction to student ministry at Centre Friends started me down a path that would take me many places and give me the honor and blessing of serving youth all over the country.  There have been many inciting incidents in my life, but very few that did more to determine the course of my adult life and change my story as did the day I was identified as a youth pastor by David Robinson.  Even though my time as a youth pastor ended in 2007, I continue to serve the youth ministry community through my blog and my ministry with former students and current youth pastors. The story that began back in 1978 still continues today...

Because of Jesus,


  1. I think you did a great job for someone that did not fully understand what a syncroblog was! It is all new to me too. I am thankful for friends like Tracee whom inspire us to try new things in new arenas. Glad I wandered over to read your incident today. God is so faithful, so loving in the divine connections he places upon our paths.

    1. Thank you so much, Jennifer!


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