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  • OLEVIA SHAFER Mission Trips Manager

    OLEVIA SHAFER: Mission Trips Manager

    About Me

    My hometown is Palisade, CO. I graduated from Western Colorado University with a degree in English and Teaching. I was a middle school teacher before returning to school and graduating from Wheaton College with a masters in Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Leadership.

    FAVORITE LEADERTREKS PRODUCT

    The “I Am” Series

    WHY DO YOU LOVE STUDENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT?

    I love student development because it helps students to realize and develop their role in God’s Kingdom.

  • DAVID FRANKLIN Director of Trips

    DAVID FRANKLIN: Director of Trips

    ABOUT ME

    I was born in the suburbs of Chicago (Go Bears!), lived in Costa Rica, Kentucky, Colorado, Mexico City, and most recently Holland, Michigan. My wife and I have been married over 11 years and we have 4 wonderful children (Theo, Sawyer, Cooper, and Madison). I graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a bachelor’s in Pastoral Studies in 2010 and from Moody Theological Seminary with an MDiv in Spiritual Formation & Discipleship in 2017. I have over 18 years of youth ministry experience domestically and internationally. I love sports, fantasy football, pizza, movies, meeting new people, building relationships, worshipping the Lord, and being with my family! When I am not chasing my kids around or hanging out with my wife, I am usually discipling young men in the local church and pursuing the Lord through scripture with them.

    FAVORITE LEADERTREKS PRODUCT

    Without Question —> Mission Trips!

    WHY DO YOU LOVE STUDENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT?

    Students are the present & future of the Church who are often overlooked because of their youth, inexperience, and lack of spiritual depth. That is why discipleship and leadership development is so key! If youth are not challenged, invested into, and discipled, they will naturally be content to stay where they are spiritually. What will the Church look like in 50 years if we do not prepare our youth to be strong, godly leaders?

  • KAYLA COSTLEY Editor

    KAYLA COSTLEY: Editor

    About Me

    Growing up in Winfield, IL, I was an avid participant at school, church, and youth group. My involvement in youth group grew me as a disciple and created a desire to disciple others. As a result,  I began working with the junior high and high school youth groups during my time at Wheaton College, where I earned a Psychology degree. Spending my college summers working at Timber-lee Ministries led me to discover even more my love for investing in students, as well as for summer camp and the outdoors. I love seeing students grow and rise to embrace challenge both through youth group and LeaderTreks.

    Why do you love student leadership development?

    Every student is full of unrecognized potential, in need of someone to name it and challenge them. It is an incredible joy to see students respond to challenge, recognize their potential, and begin to identify how God is at work in and through them.

  • CASEY POWELL Director of Sales & Marketing

    CASEY POWELL: Director of Sales & Marketing

    ABOUT ME

    I was born and raised in Mississippi. I have served in youth ministry nearly 20 years. I have a deep passion for all things youth-ministry-related including discipleship and student leadership. I love Jesus, my family, the great outdoors (hunting, fishing, camping), and the Ole Miss Rebels! Hotty Toddy!

    FAVORITE LEADERTREKS PRODUCT

    Deep Discipleship

    WHY DO YOU LOVE STUDENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT?

    I love student leadership development because it trains and equips students to be difference makers, to influence the culture around them, and to leave a massive footprint in this world for Jesus Christ.

  • ERIC BALLARD Publisher

    ERIC BALLARD: Publisher

    ABOUT ME

    I grew up in Mississippi but now call Texas home, where I live with my beautiful wife, Kandace, and two daughters, Kya and Bailey. I have nearly 20 years of youth ministry under my belt, so producing resources that help youth pastors disciple students is a dream job for me. Besides the LORD and my family, my greatest love is the Mississippi State Bulldogs, where I attended college for too many years. Because of an illustrious soccer career that was cut too short, most nights, I still sit by the phone waiting for the Houston Dynamo to finally call me up.

    FAVORITE LEADERTREKS PRODUCT

    Deep Discipleship

    WHY DO YOU LOVE STUDENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT?

    When students take on leadership roles, they also take ownership of the ministry. Leadership opportunities provide students the room to put into practice the Biblical principles they’ve been taught.

  • JENNY DAAB Director of Communications

    JENNY DAAB: Director of Communications

    ABOUT ME

    Born in Canada, I grew up experiencing the joys of snow, camping in all seasons, exploring the rich natural history of the Niagara Escarpment and Great Lakes, and (of course) hockey. I loved being empowered as a leader and learning the value of teamwork while hiking/camping, serving the community, and living out the motto of the Girl Guides of Canada, “Be Prepared.” When I was halfway through high school, my family headed south to seek warmer climes…in Holland, Michigan. I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2000 and have called the western suburbs of Chicago home since 2001. I’m a member of Glen Ellyn Bible Church, where I’m involved in leading worship, and have enjoyed leading and teaching in women’s ministries. I love to read book and comics, watch movies, try new recipes, play Nintendo, camp, travel, learn new languages and instruments, neglect the plants in my garden, make stuff, and spoil my two dogs, Rory and Daphne.

    FAVORITE LEADERTREKS PRODUCT

    Deep Discipleship

    WHY DO YOU LOVE STUDENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT?

    I was drawn to LeaderTreks because leadership development permeates everything we do. Leadership development is not just for the students we serve, it’s part of our culture. I love being part of an organization that recognizes that everyone can be a leader, and that leadership development is a life-long process. I love seeing that moment when someone gains a new skill or deepens their understanding of God in a way that brings them greater confidence and purpose. It’s transformational!

  • ANGIE FRANKLIN Director of Operations

    ANGIE FRANKLIN: Director of Operations

    ABOUT ME

    Born, raised, and still living in West Chicago. I now live here with my wonderful husband, Doug, and our dogs, Diesel and Penelope (who we love way too much). I’m a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, and I still love to take in the city life of Chicago. (If you ever visit, I recommend the Grand Lux Cafe on Michigan Ave.)

    Much of my focus and time is spent on those who are considered the “least.” The refugees in our community are some of the greatest people I know, and have become some of my good friends.

    FAVORITE LEADERTREKS PRODUCT

    Deep Discipleship
    Journey To Awareness

    WHY DO YOU LOVE STUDENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT?

    I work at LeaderTreks because I see the impact and intentionality of this ministry. Developing leaders is a great way to cause change and make disciples, and multiply influence. If student’s don’t learn to lead now, when will they? My favorite part of the job, though, is getting to support our staff and partners around the globe in the quest of growing kingdom leaders.

  • DOUG FRANKLIN President

    DOUG FRANKLIN: President

    ABOUT ME

    I love youth ministry and the people who serve in it. I work with an incredible team creating tools and resources that enable youth workers to develop students into leaders. I want to influence youth workers to challenge students and prepare them for leadership in the kingdom of God.

    I am married to a wonderfully creative woman named Angie Jones. We live in West Chicago, Illinois, but we love to serve those in the world that don’t have enough.

    I am passionate about leadership development in the church. I was a youth pastor for 12 years and during that time I had many different focuses in my ministry: evangelism, discipleship, missions, teaching, community, and service. All were good, but one thing made all of these focuses better: students leading them.

    I’m focused on innovation; when I started LeaderTreks in 1994, all I wanted to do was create exceptional resources and experiences for students to grow into leaders. Not just for the sake of leadership, but because I wanted students to see early on God had something incredible for them, and I didn’t want them to wake up years later regretting all the years they had missed out on impacting His kingdom.

    So here’s the end goal: I would love to see youth ministry move towards preparing students to lead the church by allowing them to be the church now. Youth ministry is not the ministry of the church to students. Youth ministry needs to be the ministry of students to their world.

    FAVORITE LEADERTREKS RESOURCE

    The Sweet Spot

    WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT?

    I want to put students in leadership roles and let them lead. And I mean truly lead, even if it means students will go through failure or the event they are leading will fail.