I recently returned from a trip to Colorado, doing some work with students and church planters. It’s always energizing to be around people who are motivated to serve others and make connections in a local community. I’ve been part of a missions experience called PowerPlant for several years, which is all about “engaging students in church planting.” It’s the intersection of two areas full of potential for life-transforming experiences.
Let me introduce to you a few of the people I worked with on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains [The event was officially called "PowerPlant Denver/Loveland" because most people know Denver as a prominent city, but we did all of our work in Fort Collins and Loveland]. To meet the four church planters we partnered with, read this post. Let’s start with the PowerPlant Summer Staff team.
PowerPlant staff (l-r): Quinton, Caitlin, Kelly, Brian, and Colby
My essential partner in crime, John Howeth, is the Ministry Coordinator. That means he’s responsible for ensuring the church planters are on board with the PowerPlant model, and pairing the student groups each with a church plant in Fort Collins and Loveland. Without John, I’d have no contact with the four great church plants we partnered with. Since he’s a former church planter and currently a leadership developer and church planting catalyst, he’s very well networked with the local Colorado missionaries (plus, he got me discount Colorado Rockies baseball tickets). John and I previously worked together at PowerPlant Denver 2007, and we enjoy each other’s sarcasm, wit, and passion for quality food.
PowerPlant Summer Staff
These guys and gals are PowerPlant pros. They travel for the entire summer and facilitate six different projects. Sleep takes a backseat to all the tasks and connections they make with students. Summer Staffers are really looked up to by the students, who see them as built-in role models because of their positions of leadership and influence.
Kelly Inda is the Team Leader and Office Manager. She is a fellow Midwesterner, and calls the Chicagoland area home. I worked with Kelly last summer at PowerPlant Atlanta, so it was great to see her again as we facilitated the project week in Colorado. She is a balanced mix of hard work and fun, so we got along quite well. The way Kelly leads seems to be empowering to the rest of the team.
Colby Huftalen is the Music Leader and photographer for the week. He’s responsible for planning and leading the evening worship services we call The Gathering. Colby shares a bit about worship and the Gospel here on his blog. The team often commented on the similarities between Colby and myself, which makes sense; I used to be a Music Leader on Summer Staff (click here to read some of my blog entries from my first summer on staff).
Caitlin O’Connor is the Missions Communications Specialist. She acts as the host for “Good Afternoon PowerPlant,” an energetic time of fun, jokes, and competitive games to get students awake and alert for the Church Planting Training sessions. She also tells students about other opportunities to join God on his mission of rescuing people, offering materials on other missions trips and volunteering. Caitlin is one of the best fits I’ve seen for this position, and her sense of humor on stage is fantastic (engaging and dry).
Quinton Soronen is the Audio Visual Technician. He’s the master of all things audio, and, um, visual…the most prominent of which is the PowerCam, a video highlight reel of the activities of the week. Quinton and I have loosely known of one another because of past years training for Summer Staff together. He is an especially fun teammate when discussing nerdy things like technology, Legos and Instagram (it was also his birthday during the week of PowerPlant Denver/Loveland!).
Brian Jones is the Gathering Speaker, bringing a message each night of the project week regarding the theme, “The Pursuit,”. He challenged the students with the truths of Scripture, and encouraged them with the reality of God’s expansive grace. Brian and I worked together last year in Atlanta, so it was a privilege to have him on board for this week as well. One of the things I like about Brian is his willingness to be around the students and counsel them in questions and concerns they posed. His main preoccupations back home in Canton, Georgia are loving his wife and four children, and pastoring a church he planted, The Pointe Church. I love hearing stories about the way God uses Brian to connect with and lead messed up people who need the love of Jesus.
Alan Reed is the Church Planting Speaker, leading the Church Planting Training sessions each day. He’s the pastor and church planter of The Pursuit Church in Fort Collins, Colorado – one of the church plants we partnered with. Alan shared his passion for the city of Fort Collins, Scriptural principles of church planting, and how God has used this concept of planting churches to grow His kingdom on earth. It’s been said that church planting is one of the most effective methods of evangelism in North America and the world, because church planting requires followers of Jesus to network with and serve people of the community as they live out the Gospel.
A few of the others who worked with us to make PowerPlant Denver/Loveland a success:
- Amber Cassady, interning as a media correspondend for Send Denver. She writes here.
- Kali Hellinghausen, interning with John Howeth and the church plants in Fort Collins and Loveland. She writes here.
- Gabriela Sarahi, also interning with John and the church plants. She writes here.
If you want to be a part of a unique missions experience working with young church plants, check out PowerPlant’s official page.