Youth Pastor Candidate Stephen Albi Visits This Weekend, Sept. 12-14

Stephen, and his wife Ashley, visit CrossWinds Church this weekend, September 12-14. On Friday and Saturday, they will spend time with Spirit Lake Campus & Spencer Campus leadership, church members, and exploring both communities and schools.
edgeYour chance to meet them will be Saturday, September 13, from 8:00-10:00 am in the Spirit Lake Campus gym, where there will be an Open Breakfast with youth workers, Elders, Leadership Board, students and church bod
y (Please send RSVP email to the church office at ASAP if you plan to attend)The congregation in Spirit Lake will also meet them on Sunday, September 14, during both worship services. The students will get their chance to meet them during CrossWinds Academy in Spirit Lake. There will also be a Pizza and Q&A lunch with the students after the second worship service in the old sanctuary in Spirit Lake.

Stephen is a 4th generation native of Denver, CO, who grew up in the suburb of Littleton and graduated from Highlands Ranch High School in 2003. He is 29 years old, coming from a family mix of Italian and German with great food and a strong sense of family.  He grew up in a Christian home where church was more than somewhere they went, it was community.  His family has been part of the same Baptist church for 10 years.  He has a BA in Industrial Design Technology from the Art Institute of Colorado and an M.Div in Leadership from Denver Seminary.  Stephen has been married to his lovely wife, Ashley, for almost 3 months.  They met in the student center at Denver Seminary (the entire story coming this weekend!).

Stephen understood his sin and need for Christ at 7 years old.  He remembers praying with his parents in their kitchen to accept Christ into his heart.  While he believes we are saved once and secure in that salvation, trusting in Christ is a constant act, so he still comes to Christ often and preaches the Gospel back to himself often also.

His largest step of spiritual growth came just after graduation from the Art Institute when he went to Gulf Port, Mississippi for a couple weeks with his church for Hurricane Katrina reconstruction. Stephen saw in person what true Christian service should be, and was given an opportunity to lead groups. Through this, he received both the internal and external call to ministry.  He received a renewed zeal for studying God's Word.  This jump-started significant growth that Seminary continued.

After taking the group on the second trip to Mississippi, Stephen realized that he really enjoys, and has success, working with students.  They ask questions many adults don't, and they are at a potentially difficult stage of life.  Especially in high school and college, students often have their beliefs challenged by others, or wrestle with their own understanding.  It can be a very strengthening time for them if they have a safe place to question things and godly mentors to help lead them to Truth.  Students can be under-challenged in the church.  He enjoys seeing students learn how Christianity "works", and how it stands up to other world views and then show where those world views fall short.

The Lord continues to grow and shape Stephens' goals for the future, yet they seem to get simpler over time.  Broad goals are to shepherd those whom the Lord brings, to point them to Christ and lead them to a strong relationship with Christ.  God is our goal, and our means of getting there are Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit.  It's written in Luke 14 that all of heaven rejoices when even one sinner repents, and Stephen's hope is to rejoice often, as God saves his people and delight in whatever role he is able to play.

Discipleship is simply living a life marked by grace through faith in Christ and the experiencing sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in community.  In Stephen's life, it means pressing forward in sanctification and continuing to kill sin (as puritan Richard Baxter wrote, "Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.") It is a heart of repentance when we fall short, while not being consumed by legalism or focus on the Law and our progress, but always fixing our eyes on Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith and trusting (as Tullian Tchividjian writes in "One Way Love") that God's view of me is not dependent on my progress, but on Christ's perfection. 

Serving Christ flows from having a deep and close relationship with him and loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  The closer we are to God, the more we can discern his will and follow it, and the more
he empowers us to do his will.  Simply, we serve God when we love him with everything we have and love our neighbor as ourself.  Both will naturally overflow into action.edgeWhen passionate about something, Stephen endeavors to know all he can through study and experience.  He's passionate about Scripture, systematic and practical theology, shepherding God's people, art, tuning cars, power lifting, an
d marksmanship among other things.  He pursues these through discussion and participation with others, and loves to share his passion with them. He's blessed to have great influences in his life.  Those influences include many godly pastors, mentors, the honor of being born into a godly home, many professors and friends, and now his wife, Ashley.
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