Senior Associate Pastor of Congregational Life Ministries
Staff Position: Shepherding servant-leaders and overseeing the direction and development of ministries within Congregational Life
Education: Graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in Social Sciences. C-7 (low voltage) licensed contractor for the state of California.
Work experience: Group home childcare worker for abused children - This was my first college degree related job. My job description was essentially to be like a parent to six elementary school age boys who had been abused or neglected by their parent(s). During the school year, I greeted them when they returned home from school, helped them with homework and chores, cooked dinner for them, and then at the end of my shift, I got them ready for bed. When the night shift staff person showed up, I went home and did the same thing the next day. In the summer months, I went out on daytime excursions with the boys and basically played all day. This was my first experience of closely relating with kids who had suffered great evil and trauma at the hands of people they loved and trusted. Deputy Probation Counselor for OC Juvenile Hall - I worked at a detention center named Joplin Ranch (It closed a few years after I left). I supervised 10 teenage boys who were serving longer sentences (6 to 9 months) for various crimes. After three months, I had my first employee evaluation meeting and my supervisor said, "Kenny, you smile too much. Smile less." Ha! He was right. I did smile too much. High School Math and Science Teacher at Roosevelt High School (LAUSD) - I taught Algebra I, Physical Sciences and Basic Math. Since I was the new kid on the block, I didn't have my own classroom and had to travel to four different classrooms each day to teach my classes. I remember using candles as bunsen burners for my experiments and aluminum foil to hold my containers over the candle's flame. Youth Pastor at Evergreen Baptist Church - Kathy and I had just finished our 1st year of marriage when I started as the full-time youth pastor at Evergreen. This was back in 1990. I remember moving out to Monterey Park (I grew-up in Orange County) and thinking to myself, "Sheesh, I could run for mayor out here!" I was shocked at how many Asian faces were living in the San Gabriel Valley. Everywhere I looked, in my rearview mirror, the grocery store, the gas station attendant, the bank teller, the patrons in a restaurant, EVERYWHERE there were Asians! Anyway, that has nothing to do with being a youth pastor at Evergreen. Some of my funniest moments in life occurred while being a youth pastor. I loved the kids, and I loved my job. Project Manager for P.A.T.H. homeless shelter - After six years of youth ministry, I left in 1997 and started a job at People Assisting The Homeless in West LA. My first day of work was on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1996. It was a memorable night because I had to enforce the program's rules and tell a homeless resident to leave the premises. He ended up threatening to kill me, and we had to have the police escort him out of the building. I drove home just a "little bit" paranoid that night. Self-employed data cabling California C-7 subcontractor - While I worked at P.A.T.H., I set them up with a small business computer network using Microsoft Windows NT, and I also data cabled the building. With the encouragement from a friend, I started my own computer networking business, Otium Sanctum Networking, Inc. For a season, I also entered into a data cabling business venture with a lifelong friend, an experience which providentially taught me life lessons about integrity, friendship and trusting in God's merciful love and faithfulness. During this time I also started working game days for the Lakers as the Statistics Technical Coordinator. Today I still work about 11 Laker home games per season. On January 1, 2010, by the goodness and favor of Jesus and with the loving support of my wife, I returned to full-time ministry as the Congregational Life Pastor at Evergreen SGV.
Family: I have been married to Kathy since August 1989 and have four beautiful daughters. We did have a dog named Larry, but now we have a rabbit named Floppy. A rabbit is nothing like a dog. I'd rather have a dog. (Update: In 2016, our rabbit died. It was my fault but I promise it was not intentional.)
Favorite books, authors, websites, etc.:
My favorite website is www.desiringgod.org and www.amazon.com. Desiring God ministries has everything I need to feed my soul, and Amazon.com has everything else I need. He-he.
My favorite podcasts are the Dennis Prager Show and Line of Fire with Dr. Michael Brown.
My favorite radio talk show host is Dennis Prager on KRLA 870, M-F from 9 am to 12 pm. He also has a website of short five-minute videos at www.prageruniversity.com which address a variety of topics and issues that will make you think. I encourage all college-age students to check out his videos.
When I was 16 years old, the most influential book in my life was The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. In my marriage, a significant book I read back in 1990 was The Marriage Builder by Larry Crabb. I highly recommend reading any of Larry Crabb's books. His insights into relationships are full of godly wisdom and founded on biblical truth. Mr. Crabb's book, Connecting, is my favorite. In ministry, a book which has affirmed my approach to ministry is Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby.
Hobbies, interests, pastimes: Fly-fishing in the Eastern Sierras with longtime friends, surf-fishing SoCal beaches, working on small home projects, using technology to communicate more visually and interactively, discipling anyone who is longing to know and love Jesus, reading my Kindle Paperwhite in bed, gardening, working Laker games either on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, going to a coffee shop to eat a breakfast sandwich and read a book, walking to the McDonalds down my street to meet friends for an apple pie and a late night chat, going to Costco and seeing what's in stock, making fried rice in the morning for my girls with whatever is leftover in the refrigerator, eating a Reese's peanut butter cup, looking at my toes in disgust and exclaiming, "Holy smokes! When's the last time I cut my toenails?!" and last, but not least, listening to my girls talk about life as they see it.
Favorite foods: The Margherita Gourmet Pizza at Mamma's Brick Own Pizza, sushi, salmon (raw or cooked), the Beef Wang Box at Cha Cafe...Yum!, Costco's rotisserie chicken, ramen, my wife's ground turkey creations over rice, and pretty much anything prepared by Jerry Mar, Brent Kajikawa or Tommy Yamada. Oh yes, and dessert. I like eating something sweet after every meal...dieting is for dummies.
Life verse, favorite quotes:
2 Corinthians 5:15 - "and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him, who died and rose again on their behalf"
Quote by Chuck Swindoll - "There are two things in life that are eternal: God's word and people. Invest your life in both."
Quote by C.J. Mahaney - "I want to prepare my kids for a future that I WILL see." He said this in a sermon in which he addressed how Christian parents erroneously prepare their kids solely for success in this world at the expense of nurturing their souls. They prepare their kids for a future they WILL NOT see. But the future C.J. Mahaney speaks of is the future judgment of all peoples before Christ. That's a future we WILL see and I want to prepare my kids for that future. Amen, brother!