Fr. John is available to speak on: Orthodoxy, New Media, Marriage and Education. Learn more »
Fr. John has a zeal to bring the Gospel of Christ as it is comprehended and preached in our Orthodox tradition to the American people. He believes that Orthodox Christianity offers a strong cultural apologetic to Americans of the twenty-first century.
What is a cultural apologetic? It is rooted in the conviction that knowledge of the Gospel is essential for people to know who they really are– and who they are not. As individual’s change, so do societies. When a society –a culture– forgets its need for self-examination, when things happen in a society that indicates something is wrong at the core, then we know individuals have forgotten their need for self-reflection and repentance, too. Change, healing, and renewal, start in the human heart.
It’s a conviction he developed long before becoming a parish priest. While working on his B.A in English Literature from Michigan State University, Fr. John started Action Reflects Morals (ARM), supplying volunteers to help local charities that served the poor. They helped senior citizens to move, caulked drafty windows in the dead of winter, supplied groceries, whatever was needed.
This call to service grew from the conviction that God has called us to serve the neighbor. Meanwhile, the English literature courses showed Fr. John how deeply the Christianity shaped some of our greatest thinkers and artists. He began to see what so many Americans don’t seem to understand any longer: Christianity is not just a private and subjective faith. Rather, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, properly understood and properly preached, could “turn the whole world upside down” today, just as it did in the time of the Apostles.
So began the journey that would lead Fr. John and his wife into the Orthodox Church. This conviction also directed the desire to sharpen his communication skills to bring the Gospel to America.
Fr. John founded the Incarnation Broadcast Network, the first 24 hour Orthodox Christian internet radio broadcast in the world. He established the first Orthodox seminary website in the world. He hosted the first Orthodox Media Guild gathering in Chicago in 2004, inviting Orthodox media ministries from around the country to plan how to use their new technologies to reach the unchurched.
What is Fr. John’s current interest? “On the top of my list is what I would call ‘The Orthodox Church of Tomorrow.’ I am very interested in where the Church is going, especially how it should engage and penetrate American culture, what shape it might take when it does, who can be reached by the Gospel of Christ, who might embrace the Orthodox faith – those kinds of things.”
“The Orthodox stand at a threshold,” Fr. John says. “When we were an immigrant Church, we gathered together to find a home, just like every immigrant group. This was a very good thing. It preserved the faith.” He adds, “But now the dynamics have changed. Our sons and daughters are full Americans. They face the same challenges every American faces. It’s time the Church faces them too.”
Different challenges require different responses. That’s why Fr. John is keenly interested in using new media to preach the Gospel. It also shapes more recent projects like contributing to the Orthodox Study Bible, authoring the Called to Serve student and leader manuals, writing essays on Orthodoxy and American culture, among others.
Over the years, Fr. John has developed many projects that were designed to help American Orthodox Christians maintain and deepen their faith in a culture that sometimes is inimical to the Christian way of life.
“As Americans, we face a cultural situation that is paradoxical,” he says. “On the one hand we have valuable freedoms that must be safeguarded and preserved. I believe that these freedoms grew out of a Christian world view – they were in a real sense informed by the Gospel. On the other, American secularism is a powerful force and we have to be on guard that we don’t assimilate secular ideas and unknowingly weaken or even lose our faith.”
Fr. John is available to speak on a range of issues that can help the serious Orthodox Christian understand these cultural trends. Just as important, he offers practical advice on how to live our lives in Christ despite these challenges.
Fr. John received his B.A. in English Literature from Michigan State University. He graduated from St. Herman Theological Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska, after serving as Administrator, and teaching courses in Introductory Speech and Communications, Introductory and Advanced English Literature, Basic Composition, Religious Education, and Christian Psychology. Currently he is completing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. D.Min. Successful Pedagogy in Basic Biblical Study, Veritas Theological Seminary.
Work experience includes decades of non-profit administration, including a stint as the Executive Director of The Helen Foundation, a non-profit medical foundation located in Mesa, AZ.
He was instrumental in diaconal preparation and instruction, serving as lecturer in Biblical Studies and Practical Liturgics for the Late Vocations programs of the OCA Diocese of the Midwest, and the Northeast Ohio Catechetical School for Theological Studies. He is also the founder and director of the Preachers Institute.
Fr. John has written several workbooks and manuals for instruction: Called To Serve, Student and Leader’s Manuals, Divine Liturgy: A Student Study Text, the Bible Drill/Bible Divas Field Manuals, and S.W.A.T. (Spiritual Warfare And Training). He has written articles for Orthodoxytoday.org, the American Orthodox Institute, The Handmaiden magazine, the Interior Strength blog, and is a contributor of articles and commentary (Old Testament books of Hosea, Song of Songs, and III Maccabees) for the newly published complete Orthodox Study Bible. He is also an adjunct professor at Veritas Theological Seminary.
Fr. John is married and the father of three boys. He is the strength and conditioning coach for the Rowing team at Tri-City Prep High School in Prescott, AZ. He also plays the bagpipes.
- The Orthodox Church of Tomorrow
- What the Church 20, 50 and 100 years from now will look like and how to prepare for it
- The Primacy of the Gospel
- Trends and issues in Orthodoxy in North America
- Darkness and Light: What is happening in America now
- The New Media: Evangelism, Apologetics and the Orthodox Church
- The New Media: How it works, and how it doesn’t
- Apologetics: The Final Frontier
- Goodbye Internet: What is coming next and what it means for evangelism
- Preaching the Gospel: Being Ready
- Christian Marriage
- Pre-Marital Counseling in the 21st Century
- Overcoming ourselves in Sacrificial Marriage
- Ascending the Marriage Throne
- About Orthodox Classical Education
- What is Classical Education, and what is its purpose?
- Differences between the Classical Medieval European and Classical Paideia models
- Biblical Education
- What constitutes ‘basic’ Bible knowledge for Orthodox Christians
- Teaching Bible Basics to children, teens and adults
- Scripture: The Language of Heaven
- Abortion: The Biblical Results of Shedding Innocent Blood
- Biblical Typology, the Hand of Christ in the Old Testament
- The Book of Revelation as the icon of Orthodox Worship
- What Every Seminarian Should Know
- Biblical Financial Principles: How God uses money and how you should, too