Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Sun Sets

This morning I drove the winding mountain road to Whiteriver for the last time as the leader of Apache Youth Ministries. I've been down this road so many times without thought, but today was kind of surreal. As snow fell in slow motion, memories of students, friends, and co-laborers flooded my mind. Honestly, not all days in ministry feel important. But today just felt like the sunset at the end of a 17 year day. It's all gone by so fast. I remember the moment that God spoke to me through the eyes of a native child in some dusty Arizona town. In that moment He planted in me a passion that would take Darcy and I and our two boys far away from our family in Northern Indiana to seek, serve, and love the broken. I remember the moment that God envisioned in my mind a passion for a Christian youth center and I remember standing before the Tribal Council 12 years ago with that dream among strangers. So many people along the way have seen that dream, invested in that dream, and prayed for that dream. And that dream continues through the youth that we serve (and have served), our staff that serve (and have served), and all of you who have believed, prayed, and supported the vision that, in fact....through Jesus...Apache youth CAN and WILL rise from the rubble and be empowered to impact this world. 12 years ago I stood with a dream among strangers. Today I stood before the council on behalf of Apache Youth Ministries for the last time and because of Jesus, I stood with the history of God's faithfulness through AYM and alongside of some very special people that I now call family. Unanimously the Council supported the work of AYM. What an encouragement and testimony to God's goodness it was! I think it was put best by the vice-chairman that in 12 years he has "never heard one bad report coming from The Kennel". And if fact, almost all of the Council members had stories of how the youth center has positively impacted their families and the community! Our partnership and service to the White Mountain Apache Tribe is to remain well into the future. To all of you who have been on this journey at any point, thank you....thank you for God be the Glory. In the end, the blessings that I have personally received from the Apache community(and many of you) are much more than I could have ever hoped to have given.

January 1st I will hand over the organization that I founded. It was never mine to own anyhow, only steward. Seth Harkins is ready, I couldn't have asked for a better young man to continue the legacy. He's surrounded by some amazing people to help carry on the vision. And I am excited to accept a full time pastoral position with theCHURCH (a church that I helped plant in Pinetop, AZ). God is so faithful and I continue to be amazed that I get to be a part of His great work in this world and although the sun sets, with morning comes a new dawn...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Am I Lost?

Last Thursday night I sat in an auditorium full of 3500 leaders from across the US. We had just gotten back from dinner and were expecting to soon be led in worship by Phil Wickham, who currently sits atop the Christian AC chart with his first #1 single "This Is Amazing Grace". Instead, we got a friend of his reading a letter of regret informing us that he would not be with us. In the letter, he wrote that his "heart was full at the thought of lifting up a song of worship with you all, and having to bow out has been very frustrating to say the least." He explained, "While leading worship last weekend on a tour through New England, my vocal cords hit a wall. I felt a drastic change in my voice, and I knew something wasn't right. It was like a guitar with broken strings. I knew where the notes should be, but they just weren't there. We cancelled the following shows, and I had to wait several days until I could see a doctor and get some answers." Wickham wrote that his reaction to the news was unexpected. "I would have guessed fear, or frustration. Maybe even desperation. But it wasn't those things. I felt lost," he said in the letter. "I realized right then how closely I tied my own worth with my voice. My worth as a provider. My worth as a leader. My worth as a person. Though now it sounds a bit melodramatic, I sat silent alone in my hotel room that night wondering, 'What am I worth without a voice? Who am I without it?'
Wow, Phil Wickham felt lost. The man who wrote and sang the current #1 song on top of the Christian charts...lost and questioning his worth. So today I challenge myself these few questions:
What in my life am I attaching my own self worth to?
What is my worth as a provider?
What is my worth as a leader?
What is my worth as a person?
What am I worth without........?
In the end, and prayerfully in the meantime, it's all His...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Looking ahead to 2011

2010 came and went and we allowed our 10th year anniversary fade without much fan-fare. And I’m perfectly fine with that. Not that this ministry that God birthed doesn’t deserve to be celebrated. It does. But I want it to be celebrated mostly in the hearts and minds of those we have served. And in that, we don’t need a 10 year anniversary sticker or a plaque. We just need to reflect on memories. I’m a firm believer that if you need to tell someone how important you are, there is a problem. We try to let our importance in our community (and in the Lord) speak for itself. Because God began this work, He will complete it. He will sustain it. He will challenge it. He will grow it. He will shrink it. He will use it. This whole deal is His. Our total reliance is in Him. We are His tools. It’s all for His glory. We remain focused on Him. Whatever He chooses for us and for AYM, that’s what we will do.

Our country’s economic position has many people and organizations reeling financially. Lately we’ve felt the crunch. Over the last 2 months I’ve received more notifications for cutbacks than ever before. As I write this letter a photo of our first youth group hovers over my screen. I can’t help but think back to the day that Darcy and I moved our family into a dumpy reservation house with no windows, doors, or flooring. We had no furniture except a bunk bed and a dresser for her and I and our 2 boys. She was pregnant so I gave her the bottom bunk along with one of our boys. What kept us there? This group of young people. Being there for them, loving them, teaching them, crying with them, and inspiring them to be great in the Lord. Just from this photo, I can share one victory…Tonya. The girl with the smile (top, center). She’s married with a beautiful daughter. She and her husband live in Phoenix and are working with a little church and dreaming of ways to impact the community they live in through this church. Darcy and I are proud god-parents to their baby girl and they stop and visit us whenever they are in town. How did this happen? The equation is really pretty simple. God plus passionate, genuine, and servant hearts. Not Darcy’s and mine…yours. God uses the humble to serve and inspire…all for His glory.

That was the past. Looking to the future we know that Jesus will use us this year to “empower Apache youth to impact the world”. I could probably come up with a list of 50 great reasons you should be a proud supporter of AYM and our staff this year, but for simplicity, let me specifically name 5:

1. We have staff living in our ministry house ready to serve this community every day of the week, every week of the month, and every month of the year.

2. Every weekday after school we will have staff in our youth center waiting at the door ready to serve, love, and mentor over 60 teens that come to hang-out.

3. Every week we will lead a discipleship group. We will build meaningful relationships. We will teach the Word of God and allow it to transform lives.

4. We will employ our youth and other community members in our “real-world” screen print shop (Little Bluebird Studios), mentoring them on many levels including life and business skills.

5. We will host, train, and develop teams from all over the country, inspiring them to appreciate the Apache people and to do great things in the communities in which they live.

Many of you have served alongside us and partnered with God work through us for many years and have also fallen in love with the people that we serve. Thank you for sharing in this work and, along with that, you share in the victories that we’ve experienced.

All For Jesus,

Ron Everingham, Executive Director

Apache Youth Ministries

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The End Of A Decade...The Start Of A New.

We started this decade of ministry on complete trust and faith in Jesus and in what He can do. I can't believe how God has moved in my life, and in the lives of those around me, in this decade. I stand in awe. I believe that it is with the same kind of faith and trust (and possibly even more) that tomorrow we will begin anew. God has been SO gracious!
How could I even begin to thank everyone or even think of all that has gone on since 2000? Over these years we have had amazing staff and supporters...truly unique and awesome people! We have also been completely blessed with so many friends that have come alongside of us (from all over the country) and shown us the kind of love that only comes with being in the family of God. It seems we have experienced every extreme. We have rejoiced with many who have given their lives to Jesus, cried with those who have experienced death, witnessed miracles, and seen His many blessings. We have advanced in ministry with a clear vision, clarity, and the will to persevere on God's path, come what may.

I have so many fond memories, but more importantly I have grown to love and trust Jesus more and more....month by month....and year by year. He has entrusted us, empowered us, and strengthened us. All Glory to's all for Him....only He is worthy.

I anxiously await these next years...thank you for your partnership.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Be The Touch

(thoughts from Furtick and Acts 9)
Henri Houwen once said that "the greater part of God's work in the world may go unnoticed" and this should comfort us to know that God is working in unknown areas AND disturb us to drive us the point of humbly being a part of that subversive greater work. It's not about us.
Acts chapter 9:10-19. God taps on the shoulder of one of His servants, Ananias. This dude is an interesting character....seems like a simple guy who is kind of minding his own business and God shows up in a vision. He proceeds to tell him to go to the house of a well known Christian killer and deliver a message and a healing touch. I love Ananias's obedience. He trusted God. He went. He touched the killer and the scales fell from the eye's of Saul. Saul goes on to become Paul, who becomes one of the biggest missionary Heroes to the gentiles (most of us reading this) in the Bible.
Obviously, this story got some publication. Most of us have read it. However, what about the countless stories of those ordinary people that provide "the touch" in the mundane and regular areas of life that we don't read about? Acts of love, faith, obedience, done in humility go unnoticed every second of everyday. This is what we need to be for others. We need to act out of a calling from God to go into the dangerous and uncomfortable areas of life and, by His Spirit and His power, touch others so that they may be redeemed for His purposes! Be the touch...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Beautiful Collision

Here is an excerpt from a letter that I wrote to a long-time friends upon hearing that they would no longer be able to support AYM due to retiring....A little reminiscing of how God made a beautiful collision into my life...

All of this is to say thank you for your trust, sacrifices, and prayers for what God is doing through us. I pray that God would continue to put a dream (a vision for purpose) in the simple nobody’s….the most unassuming congregants of GCC… just as he did with a young punk, home-grown kid like me…

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth would even care to know my name? It was somewhere around 1994 when we were invited by friends to attend an Easter cantata at GCC. Darcy and I were newly married (1991) and quickly had two beautiful boys. Both of us had grown up un-churched but we both were set on taking the boys to church because we thought it would be the right thing to do for them. We couldn’t have been more wrong…the Lord was revealing Himself to us too! His love, grace, redemption, and calling became so irresistible that we soon found ourselves going forward to be saved from our sins and be totally committed to His call on our lives. We learned so much in those early years…the young married class was amazing and we developed close supporting friends there. A youth mission’s trip to Arizona was when God really spoke to my heart about stepping out. I’ll never forget when it happened….a little native girl looking up at me with love as she clung to my leg up on the Navajo rez. God used that hug and the silence of a child to ask me, ”Ron, could you do something for me?”

Me? I love the story of Jesus and the disciples in Matthew 14:13 and on (and illustration points by Andy Stanley). I’m sure you’re familiar with it… the disciples went to Jesus with a big problem…too many people, too little food and they are all in a solitary place…in the middle of nowhere and everyone is hungry. The disciples go to Jesus with their plan…send everyone away so they can go into town and get something to eat. Jesus says to them the people don’t need to be sent away, they need to be fed. They give Him the excuse, thousands of people… only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Jesus gently says bring the food to Me and then gives it back to them to pass out. Everyone gets fed and there is extra.
Immediately after this story Jesus invites Peter to walk on water.

These stories could sum up my calling. I never thought I had much to offer God. I considered myself a simple man with little education and a desire to go wherever He would lead me. Like the disciples, I too would have doubted what God could do around or through me. And Jesus tells me the same thing He told them…you give Me all you have and trust Me to do what only I can do. Give Me your “fish”….step out of your comfort zone (your boat) and trust Me to do what only I can do.

I’m deeply humbled to have watched God work through me. I’ll never feel worthy but I’ll always be grateful and amazed at all that He has done through me as I have been available to serve and inspire hundreds of Native youth throughout the years. He has given me an amazing platform to bring a message of hope, love, purpose, and redemption to a broken and over-looked people group. And now, He is teaching me how lead a fast-growing organization that year-by-year is enlarging its impact on the Ft. Apache Indian Reservation.

There have been times that people have said to me “you can’t” or “you’ll never” because of my lack of whatever. But I’ll continue to declare that no matter who is with me, or around me, or supporting me…I’ll continue to believe that I can do all things through Him who strengthens and empowers me and stand back and watch in awe as He does what only He can do.

Your 10+ years of faithful support amazes me, thank you. May God bless you both as you serve Him at GCC and beyond.

Giving all I am and trusting Him to do what only He can do…

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This morning I was told by a 5 year old that God wasn't real and neither was Jesus for that matter. Now, I've been in ministry for 10 years and, without a doubt, I've prayed with...encouraged...and taught many along the way. I've learned that you never really know when "ministry" happens. Even in all your preparation, planning, scheming, and just never know when God will use you...we just have to be ready. We have quite a blessed family...7 kids in all. They range in ages from 16 down to 18 months. On good days I can recall birth dates and ages (and even my anniversary if I try real hard). Our youngest ones have been saturated in Christian living since long as they can remember. It's been a lifestyle for, AWANA, and they are even blessed to attend a Christian school. Most mornings I have the honor of driving my daughter and my son to school. We have a blast on this 15 minute trip! Usually singing praise songs (lately they've been begging for Tomlin's "sing, sing, sing"). We rock it out...just our little 3-man air band. This morning, between songs, Corban (my 5 year old) makes his big announcement (that God wasn't real)...and my response is just as important for me to remember as it is for him.

I loved watching the smile on his face as I responded to the crisis of belief in his little mind. He didn't even need to respond, it was a big "amen!". I said, "Corban....if God isn't real then: who made the sun rise this morning, can any person do that? And who hung the stars in place, could any of us ball up stars in our hands and toss them up to the sky? And what about the air we are breathing, who gave us that? And where does love come from, can we make that? And why would we sing to Him every morning?". Bless her heart, my 8 year old daughter chimes in with the rhetorical question...."yeah, and who heals us?" His grin confirmed his error and was proof of his re-affirmed belief.

So, I guess God addresses the doubts in my little mind the same way this morning. He says, " I really able to be the giver and sustainer of your whole life? And will you trust Me with every part of your life...even the parts you don't think you need My help with? And am I able to provide your every need even in a troubled economy? And am I able to heal the hopeless around you? And, by the way, where does hope come from anyhow, who created it? And am I able to humble kings and kingdoms for My sake? And who can over-throw the proud and raise up the humble? And who fills the hungry and ushers in justice? And who brings mercy to generation upon generation?And....and....and......" This morning I feel a little like Job and utter similar sentiments..."Lord, I know that you can do all things, and no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Who am I to worry...or doubt....or question? You are sovereign and you supply our every need. We have heard of You but, because of Your work in our lives, we can now see Your love and provision. I repent in dust and ashes."

After my declaration of truth in the car, we went on to the next song in our set and I have to tell you, our little 3-man air-band sang "sing, sing, sing" with more belief than ever.....

He's worthy of everything we's all His.