About

Origin and Overview

Fall 2016 the Seattle Pacific University School of Theology received a $1.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help congregations in the Pacific Northwest engage young adults, working with them to design innovative ministries that support and enrich their faith lives.

The Endowment’s $19.4 million Young Adult Initiative will establish innovation hubs at 12 colleges, universities, and seminaries across the nation to help congregations as they design and launch new ministries with young adults, ages 23 to 29. The institutions are located in 10 states and the District of Columbia and reflect diverse Christian traditions. SPU is the only institution in the Pacific Northwest to be a part of this new initiative.

Dr. Jeff Keuss, professor of Christian ministry, theology, and culture will lead the five-year SPU Young Adult Initiative, from which the PNW Faith Innovation Team (Pivot NW) was born. Under his leadership the Pivot NW team will identify area faith communities to work with, helping them better understand the experiences of young adults and working with them to design, launch, and evaluate new ministries.

Please see below to learn more about the other members of the team, including (eventually) the churches that are selected to innovate in ministry to 23-29-year-olds in the Pacific Northwest.

Research Method

Research methods are being designed and will be published soon.

Pivot Northwest Learning Team

To get in touch with someone from the Pivot NW team start here.


Program Consultant, Derick Harris
Rev. Derick Harris, MDiv  is the Director of Seminary Administration of Seattle Pacific Seminary. A native Seattlite, Derick’s pastoral heart has a social justice orientation stemming from his work in foster care, inner-city ministry, special needs communities, low-earning families and racial reconciliation. He enjoys museums, live jazz and good coffee.


Program Manager, Martin Jimenez
Martin Jimenez, MDiv came to work on this grant after almost a decade in administrative support at Fuller Seminary (Seattle) and a short ministry stint at University Presbyterian Church (Seattle). He is Certified Ready for Examination, Pending a Call in the PCUSA and worships at Sanctuary CRC in Greenwood where he lives with his wife, Ali, and his toddler daughter, Petra. He maintains his connection with his native California by rooting for CA sports teams and embraces the PNW by hiking with Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders fans.


Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Jeff Keuss
Jeff Keuss, PhD. is Professor of Christian Ministry, Theology, and Culture at Seattle Pacific University and is ordained PCUSA. Jeff enjoys engaging in the conversations where faith intersects with youth culture, pop culture, human development, literature, film and other practical theology concerns. You would be hard pressed to find a bigger U2 fan. However finding Jeff at formal functions such as graduation can be as easy as looking for the professor wearing a kilt.


Graduate Assistant, Heather Kohlman Olsen
Heather Kohlman Olsen is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology Program at SPU. She grew up in a small town in central Minnesota and attended the University of North Dakota (UND) for her undergraduate degree. She has worked in recruiting at Amazon, and Learning and Development at UND. She is passionate about learning and development with a focus on leadership development. She lives in Queen Anne with her husband, and enjoys spending her free time exploring and hiking around the PNW. Read more about Heather on her LinkedIn page.


Graduate Assistant, Mathea Krogstad
Mathea Krogstad is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology Program at SPU. Originally from the Seattle area, she grew up in Minnesota, where she attended the University of Minnesota Morris for her undergraduate degrees in psychology and statistics. She is glad to be back in Seattle, and spends her free time finding new coffee shops. Currently, she is involved in research on mentoring in organizations and social justice attitudes, and gets excited about any opportunity for data analysis. Read more about Mathea on her LinkedIn page.


Graduate Assistant, Gabrielle Metzler
Gabrielle Metzler is a doctoral student at SPU studying Industrial-Organizational Psychology. She is originally from California, spent most of her childhood in Thailand, and graduated with a degree in Psychology from Cedarville University in Ohio. She is involved in multiple research projects studying young adults and is excited to combine that with her interest in the Church. When not studying or working, Gabrielle enjoys exploring Seattle, drinking coffee, and reading. Read more about Gabrielle on her Linkedin page.


Program Consultant, Dr. Paul Yost
Paul Yost, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Seattle Pacific University and President of Yost & Associates, Inc.  His work focuses on four broad areas: leadership development, change management, work-faith integration, and organizational strategy. In previous roles, Paul worked at Microsoft and Boeing focusing on leadership development and employee engagement. He lives in Seattle with his wife Sheryl and two children, Jessica and Jared who occupy all of his spare time.


Faith Community Innovation Hubs

TBA upon selection (Hopefully sometime in June 2017 with individual congregation profiles to follow)

Other Lilly Endowment Young Adult Initiative Lilly Grant recipients