DSC_0330

Hi, I’m Joshua Aschenbach.

Sheboygan Falls, WI

Phone Number

(920) 889-3756

Email

[email protected]

Experience

Trinity Community Church
Director of Youth & Worship

Education

Crown College
BA in Christian Leadership

Church Affiliation

Non-Denominational

Years In Ministry

12 years

Personality

ENFJ

Skills

Teaching/preaching, leadership development, recruiting, training, onboarding, leading worship, relationship building, project / program management, team building, dynamic communication, vision casting, marketing, social media, graphic design, photography, videography

Tools & Software

Microsoft Office Suite, Planning Center Online, ProPresenter, Servant Keeper, Adobe Products

Personal

Single
Kids: Hosanna (6), Eden (3)

Top 3 Strengths

Communicative0%

Authentic0%

Emotional Intelligence0%

Family Pastor Questionnaire Responses
Personal Info
Please share briefly how you became a Christian.
I grew up in a Christian home and always labeled myself as a “christian” growing up. I went to Sunday school, youth group, and did all the things a typical church-raised kid should do. However, I didn’t realize that I was just living through my parents faith. It wasn’t until I was 18 years old, at a youth group retreat, that I personally realized my need for Jesus. That night I experienced love, conviction, grace, and acceptance in a way that I had never known before.
How would you describe yourself?
  • Fun
  • Serious
  • Intense
  • Motivational
  • Flexible
  • Inspirational
  • Loving
  • Organized
Personality Type
ENFJ
Tell me about some people (i.e. authors, mentors, and ministry leaders) that have had a big impact on you.
I couldn’t start this list with anyone other than my parents, especially my mother. She has been my rock and leader mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I wouldn’t be who I am today without her love, authenticity, and accountability. Mentors: One mentor that always sticks out to me is a former pastor of mine named Brian Stone. He is someone who really poured into me as a teenager and young adult, and showed me that its possible to be a modern, envelope-pushing Jesus follower. His willingness to love people, try new things, and challenge the norm greatly influenced me in those important years. Authors: I love authors that challenge my worldview as well as challenge me into deeper thinking. Authors such as C.S. Lewis and A.W. Tozer have especially shaped my passion for theology and spiritual depth. More modern authors such as Francis Chan, Kyle Idleman, and David Platt also continue to shape my spiritual journey in the 21st century. Lastly, leadership authors such as Covey, Brene Brown, and Tod Bolsinger have taken up permanent residence in my approach to leadership. Ministry Leader – Perhaps no person has taught and shaped me more than my very good friend Pastor Bill Flavin, the head pastor of my most recent church. He daily taught and showed me what a Godly, loving, and convicted leader looks like. An elder millennial himself, he showed me as a young ministry leader how to embrace and challenge tradition, initiate change at a survivable rate, and approach obstacles with truth and grace.
Parents/Volunteers
How do you plan to engage and inform parents or guardians about your ministry objectives and progress?
In my experience, the most important thing a ministry leader can do is communicate well. This is especially true when it comes to parents who almost certainly are already overwhelmed with schedules and family life. My philosophy is that I don’t want to be just another notification that they ignore on their smartphones. I want to create and distribute content that is engaging, essential, and relevant. I have always had great success with communicating weekly through emails, following up individually through text messaging (as needed), and snail-mailing a monthly update. All of this is in addition to creating a meaningful social media presence that age-appropriate students feel compelled to participate in. Now, communication needs obviously differ depending on the student’s age, but it is my firm belief that there is no such thing as over-communication. In all my years of ministry, I’ve never had a single parent ask me to stop communicating so much. It’s my goal to “hit them from all angles” when it comes to engaging and informing parents.
Tell me about a time when you developed a new team of volunteers into a strong working group. What did you do?
At my most recent ministry stop, I was brought into a highly dysfunctional worship ministry team. Within the first weeks of my arrival, 75% of the participants quit for one reason or another. So, there I am, the brand new worship director, scrambling just to put a band together week to week. I immediately put on my recruiting hat and went to work. Soon, due to my persistence and the Holy Spirit’s nudging, we had eight new servants ready to get to work. It was amazing to see what God did through our team as we committed to each other and to God to put our pride aside and follow the work that God had ordained for us. As a leader of this new group of servants, I poured myself into creating a “family” while at the same time holding myself and our team to a high standard worthy of the glory of God. With the Spirit’s help, I was able to create a culture of buy-in, commitment, and risk-taking, all wrapped in the expectation of excellence. Practically speaking, one of the things that helped us the most was having clearly articulated expectations in the form of a team covenant. Through that document, we knew what was expected of ourselves and what we could expect from one another.
How would you alleviate the confusion when you are communicating with volunteers and it becomes apparent that they don’t understand what you’re saying or vice versa?
Every ministry leader encounters this situation from time to time as not every person communicates the same way. What makes sense to one person might be understood completely different by another person. As a leader in this situation, the key is to reinforce to your volunteers your commitment to their success. As a servant leader, I am constantly communicating with my volunteers to make sure they have clear and realistic expectations. And the reverse of that is true as well; I will always double check with my volunteers to make sure that I understand what they are expecting of me. Practically speaking, this type of clarifying communication is most successfully done one-on-one. This allows each individual to clearly articulate what their questions, comments, or concerns may be without worrying about what others might think. This also allows me, as the leader, to get an understanding of how to best communicate successfully with each person in the future. It is always my goal to create an open and approachable atmosphere in the ministries that I lead. I want all volunteers to feel comfortable coming to me and vice versa as we serve together with one mind and one heart.
Spiritual Growth
Once you lead a student/child to Christ, how do you communicate their decision to their parents? Once a child accepts Christ as their Savior, how do you begin discipling them?
This is the single greatest moment that can happen in ministry! A student who makes the decision to give their life to Jesus has just made a truly life altering choice, and their spiritual journey begins immediately. When this happens, it becomes my utmost priority to physically communicate with parents (in person or speaking on the phone) as soon as possible. Nothing is more important than surrounding this new believer with people who will support and fan the flame of their new faith. A new believer will always experience attacks from the enemy and must be protected and encouraged. Ultimately, my approach to discipling new believers varies from person to person, but I will provide the following paragraphs: First, my goal for new student believers is to get them and their parents plugged into a new believers class. Whether this is led by myself, a volunteer within the ministry, or the head pastor himself depends on how we as a staff approach these situations. A class like this gives the church the opportunity to reinforce the incredible decision our student just made. It also gives the student and his/her family the chance to ask questions and be receive unique, individual support. The hope is, at the end of this class, that the new believer(s) would be publicly baptized as an outward sign of their new inner reality. If the student’s parent’s are believers, than it is my goal to support and resource these parents with whatever they may need to continue being their child’s primary discipler whether it is a devotional suggestion, a bible, a mentor, etc.. I always assure the parents that I am available to them if they have any questions or desire any guidance. I also encourage the family to make church attendance (Sundays and youth group) a priority. Finally, I do everything I can to get both student and parents to attend the aforementioned new believers class. If the parents are not believers, I use their student’s decision to follow Jesus as an opportunity to share the gospel with them and tell the story of their child’s decision. At this point I also ask for the parent’s permission to pair their child with a same-sex mentor who will be a continuous source of encouragement and spiritual support for them. As always, I encourage the family to make church attendance a priority, and do everything I can to get them and their child to attend the aforementioned new believers class.
As the spiritual leader of the children’s ministry, how are you going to help volunteers grow in their faith?
First and foremost, as the ministry leader, it is my responsibility to lead by example. I cannot take my ministry leaders where I have not gone myself. Therefore, it is my duty to be an example by modeling my own spiritual growth to my volunteers. Second, it is my goal to encourage spiritual health and growth in my volunteers through authentic relationships and intentional spiritual study. I can help my volunteers grow in their faith by creating authentic relationships with them that will lead to opportunities for encouragement and spiritual challenge. I do not believe in a one size fits all approach to leadership development. This is why relationships are such a core part of how I do ministry. These unique relationships are what open doors for me, as the spiritual leader, to minister. The second part of this, intentional spiritual study, is what occurs as a group during meetings. It is my goal to always have my volunteers reading through some sort of book or study that we come together as a group to discuss and challenge each other in.
Ministry Growth
What is your philosophy of ministry?
My philosophy of family ministry is to strengthen the family unit by empowering individuals within the family to serve and love God, serve and love within the family, and serve and love outside the family.
What was the most creative idea you introduced in your last ministry role? What steps did you take to implement that idea with leadership, volunteers, and families if applicable?
My most creative idea in my last ministry role was introducing a Halloween themed event for our 6th-12th grade students named “Humans-vs-Zombies”. The vision was simple: create a never before seen event that would attract as many students as possible. The purpose: to create an opportunity for non-churched students to have a positive experience with the church. Traditionally, most would agree that within the church Halloween has been taboo at best, and outright condemned at worst. However, I was able to pitch the idea to leadership in way that painted the picture of a our church loving within the bounds of culture instead of expecting students to set their culture aside and come to us. I presented our leadership with a thoughtful presentation as to what exactly my goals were, what the event would cost, what it would look like, and how this was a benefit to the Kingdom. After presenting and allowing the elders to ask questions, I received unanimous approval to move forward with the event. I then brought it to my volunteers and was able to create excitement and achieve buy in. Once I had the approval and support of the church leaders and my volunteers, the event came together with ease. The night of the event, we had more than double our usual amount of students. My leaders and I were intentional about creating a positive memory with every student we did not know before that night. We also made sure to share our social media accounts and get contact information for every student so we could follow up with anyone who was new. All told, a handful of new students began consistently attending our youth group as a result of this event.
How would you evaluate systems and structures to see if there could be improvement?
Evaluating systems and structures for improvement comes down to a delicate balance between head (facts) and heart (emotions). It cannot be denied that ministry is an inherently emotional activity. Both staff and volunteers invest an enormous amount of time, energy, creativity, and money into serving in their various ministries. This must be taken into account when considering changes that may lead to improvements. It must be considered if the suggest change is worth the emotional toll that it will cost leaders and volunteers. This is the heart/emotional evaluation of system and structure improvement However, there are times when an area of improvement is so obvious and/or so crucial to the mission of the Church, that it must be made regardless of what emotions it stirs up. During these times, leaders are called to encourage and empathize with those who may be experiencing stress caused by the necessary changes. Sometimes leaders even need to create space for a time of mourning within their congregation as the church moves in an area of improvement. This is the head/facts based evaluation of system and structure improvement.
Share with me what you would do to deal with a fast-paced, always changing environment. Have you had this experience in a previous position?
Nearly every aspect of life is changing at a pace that the world has never seen. The second you open the box to your new piece of technology, it is outdated. From culture, to politics, to generational differences, we live in a time of rapid and great change. The Church is no different, and I believe we are at a crossroads. As the leadership and power within churches is handed down to the next generation, we are seeing a church that looks much different than it did even a decade ago. So how does one deal with the reality of fast-paced, constant change? First, and most importantly, keep Jesus at the center. No matter what happens, if we keep our eyes on Jesus, and allow Him to shape our worldview, his Kingdom will come. Second, we need to keep first things first. There is an enormous amount of temptation to become distracted by the changes around us. If we’re not careful, we can become consumed by the tedium of change and lose sight of the bigger picture. As a ministry leader, it is my goal to always be mission focused and use that mission as a lens to view the many demands of my work. This means I might need to say “no” to good things, in order to make room for God things. Lastly, flexibility is invaluable in all ministry. We simply cannot get hung up on doing things a certain way. Anything that is not a matter of salvation should be approached with great flexibility and an understanding that there are many ways to achieve the same end.
What goals have you set in the past for your ministry area. Did you accomplish them and if so, how did you accomplish them?
As a ministry leader, I have always believed in the importance of setting and working toward goals. For example, here are two goals that come to mind: 1. have one “fish bowl” event per quarter 2. for each student in our ministry to be able to clearly articulate the Gospel. Goal #1: A “fish bowl” event, as we coined them, is a large scale event focused on creating excitement in our community, especially for non-believers. The goal was to get as many students together with the hope of “hooking” at least one new student at each event. In all honesty, not every fish bowl event was successful in regards to our goal. But, beyond a shadow of a doubt, we did create significant memories with whoever was there. As for how I set about accomplishing this goal: I created space for our ministry team to creatively dream together and then moved forward with what we believed best supported our mission, vision, and purpose. Goal #2: for every student in our ministry to be able to clearly articulate the Gospel. To measure this particular goal, we had our students answer the question, “What is the Gospel?” at the beginning of the year. We collected these responses and held them until the end of the year when we asked our kids the same question. We were then able to compare the response and had concrete evidence of whether this goal was met or not. In order to achieve this goal, we spent the entire youth group year focusing on topics/questions and relating them back to the Gospel. We also started and ended every single youth group gathering by reciting our one sentence answer to the question of “What is the Gospel?”
What would it take to grow a kid’s ministry program?
The short and obvious answer is the Spirit’s moving. Nothing can be accomplished apart from Him, as it is God who does the true work of ministry. We are conduits of God’s grace, truth, and love, and our goal is always to point people to him. Now, for a more practical answer: growing a kid’s ministry will look different depending on the congregation, culture, needs of the community, etc… However, there are some universal keys that apply to pretty much every situation. 1. Have fun, and create a space that matches – In order to reach kids with the Gospel, we first have to create a space and environment that makes our families want to be there. This means we have to physically have an attractive, safe space for kids, but also have an equally attractive space for the parents. We also need to make sure that our kids are being reached in a way that makes sense to them, namely by having fun! Lecturing a group of kids on theology is obviously not the right way to grow a kids ministry. Our kids need to experience God’s creativity, sense of humor, and attractiveness by the way that we design our gatherings. There should be singing, dancing, games, arts, crafts, etc.. In other words, kids need to be allowed to be kids! 2. Show genuine love and care – Once an attractive space and atmosphere is achieved for both kids and parents, the parents need to know that their kids are safe and genuinely loved. This is all about creating a culture of knowing students and parents by name, greeting them with smiles, approaching parents with any concerns or accidents. We need to love the kids in the same way that we would want our kids to be loved. Show the parents and the students just how special and loved they are by God and by those within the ministry. 3. Keep Jesus at the center – As mentioned above, nothing happens without the power and movement of the three persons of God. And, nothing is more important than viewing every gathering as an opportunity to make much of Jesus. Jesus’ love, sacrifice, and free gift of salvation must be taught as often as possible and as clearly as possible. 4. Commit to constant improvement – “Good enough” is the enemy of growth. A growing kid’s ministry is one where the leaders and volunteers are fully committed to personal and collective growth. We should always celebrate the great things God has done, AND we should always be asking what we can do better.
Your members/guests and their families come to church with specialized needs, different learning styles, and family stresses. Do you have a strategy to provide significant ministry to meet these needs?
As a ministry leader, the most important (and sometimes the hardest) thing to accept is that I am not a super hero. I cannot and should not try to do it all. Families with special or extraordinary needs will require special and extraordinary time and effort. The worst thing I can do for the church and the ministries I lead is to give an inordinate amount of time to one aspect of my job to the dereliction of another. It is also true that these families deserve and require just as much, if not more, love, grace, and support than anyone else. This is where communication becomes so utterly important. What exactly does the family need? How can I best support them? What expectations are they hoping to have met? The answer to these questions will guide my strategy on how to move forward. If it is possible for me to personally partner with the family to meet the need, then that is great! If the need requires time and effort that is not reasonable or responsible for me to take on at the time, then it is my job, as the leader, to partner the family with someone who can meet their needs. This is why the body of Christ is so beautiful and important. The church requires all believers to come together in order to attain the fullness of Christ.
Describe the diversity of some of the ministries with which you’ve worked. How did you go about learning and educating yourself in order to effectively reach your community?
My most recent ministry stop was in Brown Deer, Wisconsin. Brown Deer is literally known as Wisconsin’s most diverse city. Its residents are about 45% black, 45% white, and 10% Asian/other. I quickly learned that in addition to God’s supernatural love for neighbor, I needed two things in abundance: genuine curiosity and the ability to set aside my preconceived notions. In ministry, it is tempting to approach situations as a savior, meaning, to approach our community assuming that we know what they need and believing we’re the only ones who can meet that need. Through relationships with community leaders and my own neighbors, I learned that what I had predetermined as a need was often not in alignment with those who were more familiar with the community. It was during these conversations that God started humbling me and convicting me that I needed to approach my community with curiosity and open-mindedness. I prayed that God would create opportunities for me to cross paths with those who would show me the personality and culture of the community that I wanted to reach. I intentionally formed relationships with librarians, school administrators, police officers, anyone who knew the community well and could guide my decisions on how to reach the people.
Is there a process that you go through when choosing a platform for screening volunteers, curriculum choices?
Volunteers: When considering volunteers, the most important thing is to get to know the heart of the person volunteering. I’ve been able to accomplish this by meeting with the perspective volunteer and simply asking questions. Why do they want to do this? Do they know what their gifts are? What is their faith story? Etc… For anyone working with children and students, a background check must also be completed to ensure the safety of the ministry. Curriculum: Curriculum should be chosen in a way that supports the mission and vision of the church as well as the mission and vision of the ministry. Typically, I like to present my volunteers with three curricula and invite them into the process of helping to decide which of the three to move forward with. This creates a sense of buy-in and ownership amongst the volunteers since they actively participated in picking it out.
What have you done in the past to ensure your church has a safe environment, including emergency procedures.
I have always required that every student in the ministries I lead have a health history and waiver on file. This document provides the ministry with necessary medical information as well as emergency contact information. In addition, I also require every student to have permission slips turned if for any event that leaves the church campus. Lastly, for any over night events or any events going later into the evening, I inform the local police so there is not any confusion as to what is going on at the campus.
How would you describe the ideal relationship between senior/lead pastor and kids pastor?
The ideal relationship between lead pastor and kids pastor would look like the following (in no particular order): Family – Staff members shouldn’t be coworkers, they should be a family. This means that we need to spend time together outside of work, we need to have deep, authentic relationships, and we need to be there for each other. Like family, we need to be able to trust each other and be honest with each other even when it is hard. An ideal lead pastor would be approachable and relational. Cheerleader – An ideal lead pastor would be a great public cheerleader for the kids pastor. It’s important for the congregation to know that the lead pastor supports the kids pastor’s efforts. It also means that the lead pastor should intentionally be aware of everything that is going on within the kids ministry. Lastly, as a cheerleader, the lead pastor should encourage smart risk-taking and follow up with any suggestions on how to improve new efforts. Accountable – An ideal lead pastor would hold the kids pastor to a high and achievable standard, and must hold the kids pastor accountable to what their job requires. It also means that the lead pastor must have clear expectations for those under his supervision. The inverse is also true; an ideal lead pastor would make himself accountable to the rest of the staff. In other words, the lead pastor should lead by example and walk the walk. Supportive – An ideal lead pastor would go out of his way to support the kids pastor both personally and in ministry. Volunteering at a kids event, creating space for one-on-one time, and encouraging the kids pastor to dream big are all examples of how an ideal lead pastor could be supportive. Integrity – An ideal lead pastor is someone who has great integrity in his relationship with the kids pastor. Whether it’s responding to emails/texts in a timely manner, or following through with a commitment, an ideal lead pastor would be a man of integrity Fun – Ministry is as incredibly rewarding as it is difficult at times. The relationship between lead pastor and the rest of the staff needs to be one where fun and laughter is welcomed and encouraged. Ministry leaders need to be reminded that even in the hardest of times, we serve of a God who loves us and has an incredible sense of humor.

References

Amy Flavin || (414) 491-5141 || [email protected]
Ken Hoogstra || (414) 559-1173 || [email protected]
Bill Flavin || (414) 491-5131 || [email protected]
Brad Veenendaal || (920) 918-7919 || [email protected]

Favorite Bible Story

The story of Job

Favorite Scripture

John 16:33