Ethan with his award from the #Denver @CoerverCoaching camp

So proud of this guy for winning the skills competition in his group at @CoerverCoaching camp – most moves in 1 minute!

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Lily pond in Wash Park

My gift of grace on walk to school day.

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Ethan at the plate

Sun setting on our 4th game of the day – 2 soccer, 2 baseball. I love spring!

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A (Re)Start

I created this website nearly three years ago as we were leaving Atlanta and moving to Denver to start New Denver Church. My plan was to create a simple place to share that journey with friends and family around the country and world. Given that my parents told me not long ago that they start their day by going to my website to read my Twitter feed, look at my picture feed, and read any updates I’ve posted, I think the site has accomplished its original goal. Recently I’ve been thinking about expanding the purpose of this site – to begin sharing my thoughts on life, ministry, spiritual formation, and other random topics.

To be fair, I’ve tried this before in fits and starts with limited success. So what’s changed? I think my motivation for writing has changed. When I first started this site I tinkered with the thought of being a regular “blogger.” I talked to people I knew and admired  who had done this well and got some helpful insights into the world of blogging (Scot McKnight and John Saddington were particularly helpful). To be honest it was just too daunting. Watching the volume of writing it takes to make a “successful” blog was just overwhelming. For one, I’m not the most disciplined person in the world, but secondly I just felt like I didn’t have that much to say. But recently I’ve been questioning whether these were barriers that should hold me back. If I can’t write a lot does that mean I should just write nothing? Probably not.

The last three years have been a tremendous period of stretching and growth for me. I feel like I’m learning so much personally and in ministry as a church planter, and I feel like I’m ready to share it. But here’s the big thing that pushed me over the edge –  I need to write it as a part of my own learning process, regardless of whether anyone reads it or not. I discovered years ago that I’m drawn to the learning process, but without some kind of structure or accountability my learning often stagnates. So my hope is that by forcing myself to come here on a regular basis (how regularly? who knows.) to articulate some of the things I’m thinking about and learning, I will learn more in that process.

So this is my public declaration of intent to make this my place to think out loud, even if no one reads it but me (and maybe my mom). 🙂

Consulting

In addition to working as part of a church-plant team starting New Denver Church here in Colorado, I also spend some of my time with other endeavors. I love to work with individuals and small businesses to help them solve real-world problems with technology. I also love to meet with church leaders to help them solve challenges of leadership, organizational systems, and spiritual formation. I’ve created a site called (not so creatively) stephenredden.com to share a little more about the services I offer.

stephenreddencom

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About

Who am I?

stephen-2016-squareMy name is Stephen Redden, and I currently work in a variety of capacities. I am the Pastor of Discipleship and Multiplication for New Denver Church and the Executive Director of the Church Cooperative of Denver. I also do a variety of projects through my consultative coaching practice, Third Circle Limited.

I am a graduate of Mississippi State University (BS Computer Engineering 1994, MBA 1995) and Dallas Theological Seminary (MA Bibilical Studies 2007). Between 1996 and 2000 I worked as an information technology specialist for IBM before taking a one-year leave of absence to work with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Kazakhstan and Russia. During my year with MAF I worked with the Learning Technology team to develop the technology infrastructure for a system to deliver theological training using distance education to pastors and church leaders throughout the former Soviet Union. After returning to the US in 2001, I joined the staff team at North Point Community Church. I spent the first year helping to develop the web and technology infrastructure with the Group Life team, but the bulk of my seven years at North Point was spent helping to lead the Community Groups ministry.  I had the pleasure of leading an amazing team of people and learning from some of the best leaders in the church today – not only at North Point but at churches around the country and the world.  During that time I also had the opportunity to teach church and small group leaders in a variety of contexts. In 2009 my family and I, along with two other families from North Point, moved to Denver, CO to be part of starting New Denver Church. In addition to my work with New Denver, I also do some bi-vocational contract work – working with churches to help them develop their small group and leadership systems as well as doing technology consulting for individuals and small businesses. I am also an adjunct faculty member at Denver Seminary, leading theological reflection groups for the Training & Mentoring department.

I am married to my wonderful wife Kate, and we have two boys, Ethan and Andrew who keep us very busy.

What is “Swern”?

Swern is a nickname I got in college. Somehow over the years it has continued to follow me with my closest friends. The first question I usually get when someone hears it is, “What does it mean?” It doesn’t mean anything, but there is a story (though not a very exciting one). When I was in college at Mississippi State I played on an intramural basketball team with some guys who lived next to me in the dormitory. All the guys on the team, except myself and my friend Todd, grew up together in Columbus, MS. They all had nicknames for each other that started with “Big.” There was “Big Will”, “Big Smitty”, and “Big Steve”, just to name a few. They all decided that my friend and I needed nicknames too. My friend could eat a lot so they called him “Big Skeets”, because there was a grocery store in their hometown called Skeets Grocery. They decided my name would be “Big Sweeney”, because there was a liquor store in their neighborhood called Sweeney’s (I’ll leave the reason why they chose that name to your imagination). All my friends thought it was hilarious that I had this new identity. We’d be walking across the drill field, and out of nowhere I’d hear “YO, WHAT UP BIG SWEENEY!!!” from one of my teammates.

One night I went bowling with my roommate Todd and my friend Scott. Todd thought it would be funny to put my name on the scorecard as “Sweeney.” These were the days before computer scoring, and you actually wrote your name on an overhead projection to keep score. My friend Scott looked up at Todd’s terrible handwriting of my nickname and said, “What the hell is Swern?” From that point on, for many of my closest friends I became “Swern.”

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