Tag Archives: ministry


I am the queen of awkward…seriously, you don’t even know. I’ve heard I’m known as “Professor Awkward” on campus. I can’t argue. I once insisted that I recognized someone at church from RPM spin class, even though this poor man repeatedly insisted that he had never been to a spin class in his life. I continued repeatedly to insist that he had been there – as if someone is going to forget going to a spin class! Trust me, when you come that close to believing you are going to die by exercise, you don’t forget! (So sorry Jesse – so glad you joined the small group despite our awkward start!)  Then there was the time I was asked to take a family new to the community a meal following the birth of their first child. I was running late and so burst in the door, setting the meal on their kitchen counter while proclaiming, “Hi, I’m Karen. Cute baby. Here’s a meal. Sorry to rush but I’m late for dinner plans.” And then I left. I’m not even sure of the person’s name! WHO DOES THAT!? And why does the director of hospitality continue to ask me to interact with real life human beings! (Jenny – that’s you!) There are actually small children at church who enjoy teasing me by greeting me with the taunt of, “AWWKWARD!!!” I seriously seem to have a knack for making a perfectly normal situation extremely awkward. I just do. It’s a gift.


Well, without even trying, this moment is naturally awkward…

Maybe not Kanye interrupting T-Swift awkward. awkward moment

Or Steve Harvey announcing the wrong winner awkward.awkward moment2

It’s not “butt fumble” or “butt slide” awkward.

awkward moment 3awkward moment 4

It’s not even Dan Quayle trying to spell potato or President Obama trying to spell respect awkward.

awkward moment 5awkward moment 6

But it is awkward…it’s awkward that it has been over a year since MND GMZ Ministries has posted on a regular basis. So we are owning the awkward.


But I want to assure you that we have a very good reason for our absence and that we are back with new material that will be posted on a regular basis.

First, let me explain the “we”. Although I (Karen) have been the primary contributor to the website, MND GMZ Ministries has always been a “we”.  And I am SO excited to introduce you to others who have been, and continue to be, an integral part of the ministry. You are going to be SO BLESSED by them! And yes, you’ll still hear from me on a very regular basis as well.

So what happened? Well, frankly, God called us away from writing for a season so we could focus on other aspects of the ministry. Which is awkward when you are primarily a speaking and WRITING ministry. Sometimes being obedient feels awkward. God calls us to do things that don’t make sense. However, being obedient is also so rewarding! And God’s way, as awkward as it may feel or seem, is always the best way! God has been so faithful to the ministry over the last year and we CANNOT WAIT to share with you all that He has revealed to us and taught us. Oh man is it going to be a fun ride!

So where are we going? Here’s a sneak peak – we are still ALL ABOUT IDENTITY. And that is not going to change anytime soon. But we are going to take our discussions around identity to the next level. You can read the first blogs on identity by clicking HERE. And HERE. And HERE. And HERE and HERE. I told you – we’re passionate about identity in Christ! We’ve spent a great deal of time discussing where identity comes from and where it shouldn’t come from. Now we’re going to begin discussing what it means to actually live from a Christ-centered identity. And I. CAN’T. WAIT!

And as always, you and all of your peeps are invited to “join the journey”. Those of you in the Pella area can join physically by attending the Summer Series this Tuesday at 12:00 at Third Church. Check out the promo video below and if you are in the area I hope to see you there! (And if you’re not, don’t worry, it’ll be available online later next week!)


Karen (and the entire MND GMZ Ministries team)

Happy New Year! [Year in Review]

The new year is upon us and as 2016 kicks off, it seems fitting give an update on all that has been happening at MND GMZ Ministries and in my life personally. I know the blog has been somewhat silent the last half of this year, but I assure you that I have not been sitting at home just twiddling my thumbs! So here’s a recap of the past ministry year!

It was a big year for MND GMZ Ministries! I had an amazing time speaking at a church event for women of all ages – literally from middle school students to retired grandmothers!

"We Need Each Other" - Encouraging the generations to engage with and love one another well.
“We Need Each Other” – Encouraging the generations to engage with and love one another well.

The love and unity across generations was truly heart warming. I was also invited to share with a special youth ministry on dealing with emotional pain. February was our official one year anniversary and we celebrated in a big way! I was blessed to be the speaker for the Staley Distinguished Scholar Series for Central College that month.

"Wounded" - speaking with Central College students on dealing with emotional pain
“Wounded” – speaking with Central College students on dealing with emotional pain

It was an honor, a privilege, and a surreal experience to return to my alma mater as a guest speaker giving two lectures – one on dealing with emotional pain and one on becoming God’s beloved.

In April I was invited to speak to two area youth groups as well as to a group of parents regarding how to address teenage depression and how to parent technology well – two of the greatest challenges facing parents today.

After some much needed rest over the summer months (with one exception of traveling to Haiti to minister and speak – more on that later), the fall found my speaking schedule full once again. I was invited to lead several youth leader training seminars (which might be my very favorite thing to do), and I had the opportunity to share my heart about living life to the fullest as a single person on two occasions. In November, I was honored to share the pulpit with my pastor at my home church. The Holy Spirit moved in wonderful ways that morning – the way God works is always so surprising and somehow never ceases to amaze me even though you’d think I’d learn to expect the unexpected. If you are interested in hearing Pastor Kevin Korver and me teach on “Wise Intimacy”, the link is below.


Looking ahead to the new year, I am already booking into the spring, but I do have a few open dates if you are in need of a speaker for a ministry event! To book me for your next event, provide the necessary information on the “book me” page and I will be in touch. If you would like to catch one of my events, check out the calendar for my current dates! I’d highly recommend coming to “Discipleship in a Digital World” on January 13th. Registering for the event is not required, but is recommended. You can learn more about the event, as well as register, by clicking here.

But…the biggest news is not regarding speaking. Some have noticed and inquired as to why the blog has been so quiet the last half of the year, and one of the big reasons is that MND GMZ Ministries has taken on a new and unexpected project. It became clear last spring that God was calling the ministry into a large research project. So…data collection will begin in January on a project exploring how attachment style and mission trip participation impact spiritual development over time. Although unexpected, MND GMZ Ministries is committed to following where God leads and I could not be more excited (even if totally overwhelmed) by this new opportunity!

Last year wasn’t all work with no play! Here are some of the highlights:

I did something I NEVER thought I would do. In April, after six months of diligently focusing on living a healthier lifestyle in both diet and exercise, I became a certified fitness instructor. That’s right! Twice a week I teach RPM, a spin class, at my local gym. And I love it! Crazy huh?

In July I was invited to travel with a church group to Haiti for 10 days and while there was spoke to two different groups of teenage girls on purity and God’s complete and healing love for them. Speaking through a translator was definitely a new experience, but I had a WONDERFUL God-fearing woman, who made it feel natural. It was a beautiful and humbling experience to be used by God despite the differences in language and cultures. If you’d like to read more about the Haitian purity conference, click here. In addition to ministering to teenage girls, our team did several vacation Bible schools for area children, delivered goats to families in need who will then pay it forward when their goat gives birth, delivered food, and did prayer ministry at the local hospital and around the city. What an experience. Haiti and it’s people are simply beautiful!

The Haitian woman are as beautiful as their country side!
The Haitian woman are as beautiful as their country side!
The young women craved hearing truth about God's love for them and his desire that they remain sexually pure.
The young women craved hearing truth about God’s love for them and his desire that they remain sexually pure.
My incredible translator!
My incredible translator!
Praying over each young lady and giving them a necklace representing Jesus' love for them.
Praying over each young lady and giving them a necklace representing Jesus’ love for them.









Delivering goats - yes, they rode in the truck with us!
Delivering goats – yes, they rode in the truck with us!

And of course I continue to work full time at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services as a clinical psychologist and I continue to adjunct at Central College. And I love both for different reasons. It is an deep responsibility and honor to walk with clients in their darkest hours and through their deepest pain. And I truly love my students, probably more than they know. There is nothing more exciting for me than when I student has a “lightbulb”moment in class, asks an insightful question, turns in a fabulous paper, or gets into the graduate school of their dreams. It is just plain awesome!

I cannot believe that MND GMZ Ministries will turn two in February. It seems like such a short amount of time and a lifetime all at once. I am blessed. I am blessed by you who support and believe in this ministry. I am blessed that I have a Good Father, who continues to give good gifts. He comes through on his promise of life abundant. However, that does not mean that life is always easy. There have been hard times too, and there will be hard times again. Jesus promised that as well! So, for those of you who experienced hard things in the last year and are glad to see it gone, cling to the truth that we serve big God. He makes ANY problem look quite small in comparison to His might and power. So whether your 2015 was more light or dark, more blessing or burden, my prayer is that you’ll continue to keep your eyes on the Good Father who is trustworthy and faithful to sustain you and walk with you through every season.

Happy New Year everyone. May you know with more clarity and conviction that you truly are God’s beloved and live from the reality and power of that truth throughout the year. All of us here at MND GMZ Ministries treasure your prayers and words of encouragement. You are so kind and gracious with your time in reading the blogs and in asking how the ministry is going. So, from the bottom of my heart (and the entire MND GMZ Ministries team) THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS!