About Us

Together with you, we’re transforming the way churches envision and design faith formation for all ages and generations in the 21st century.


We believe vibrant faith in Jesus Christ lived out in community, transforms everything.


To effect congregational change in faith forming systems through training, coaching and leadership development.


Re-Creating transformative Christian formation for families, faith communities and people of all ages.


Four BIG convictions that drive our work:

  1. Heart transformation becoming more like Jesus is the essence of vibrant faith.

  2. Faith is formed through intergenerational “family” relationships – in families and through church communities.

  3. Lifelong – the Spirit forms us at ALL stages and ages of life.

  4. Living our God-given callings is the journey of vibrant faith.


The key to our process:

We root our process in history while adapting it to our current world

The work of Vibrant Faith helps Christian churches develop effective faith forming approaches that embody both historic practices of Christian formation and address changing cultural realities. We walk through this process to train and coach faith communities to create or prioritize ministry that is intergenerational, lifelong, relational, and helps people to name and claim their callings. We offer churches focus and accountability for adaptive leadership through coaching, training, courses, resources, and support.


This organization was born out of tragedy…

…In order to bring hope and faith to life.

In 1997, Dr. Mert and Irene Strommen founded The Youth & Family Institute in memory of their son David, a young seminarian and youth worker who was killed by lightening while leading a youth trip in the Colorado mountains. The organization was renamed Vibrant Faith Ministries in 2010. The Strommens’ vision was to take the best research and academic insight, ground and deepen it with Christian theology, and instill an evangelical spirit of ministry to help congregations strengthen families to nurture faith. The call across the Christian church to claim the role of the family in the formation of faith actually began from this small organization.


Now we have an additional calling.

Sensing the need for change in the faith forming systems of the church, Vibrant Faith has re-organized around defining new services to churches, organizations and leaders. Our coaching and training is designed to partner with faith-formers and pursue innovation for the church’s processes of faith formation. Our projects and initiatives are designed to call churches to what matters most for effective faith formation in the 21st century.

Rick Lawrence

Executive Director

Rick is a ministry leader and an award-winning author, journalist, cultural researcher, editor, and national speaker—he was executive editor of GROUP Magazine for 33 years (winner of the Folio Award for magazine excellence). For many years he led Group Publishing’s Youth Ministry Resourcing Team and served on its Adult Ministry Resourcing Team. He’s also an experienced researcher, conducting large-scale social science research projects in the ministry community. He creates and leads interactive learning experiences and trainings for church and cultural leaders, parents, and teenagers—both in-person and online. He’s host of the popular podcast Paying Ridiculous Attention to Jesus, now in its sixth year, and he leads a “home church” for young adults with a crazy-long name: Pursuing the Heart of Jesus, Not His Recipes. He’s married to Beverly Rose and has a 22-year-old daughter named Lucy Rose and a 18-year-old daughter named Emma Grace


Dr. Nancy Going

Director of Research & Resource Development

Dr. Nancy Going still loves working with kids as a volunteer in Children’s Chapel at her church. She has spent her career in ministry leadership with youth. Nancy came on board the Vibrant Faith team as Executive Director in 2014 after teaching and providing leadership at Luther Seminary in the Children Youth and Family Ministry Masters Degree Distributed Learning Program. She has authored articles, curriculum, and contributed to books.

Nancy lives in Durham, North Carolina with her husband Art, an Anglican priest, and they have launched two new families from their children. You can connect with Nancy on the Vibrant Faith blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

ngoing@vibrantfaith.org | 877-239-2492 | 615-585-9076

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Jim Ladoux

Director of Coaching Services

With a breadth of experience coaching literally ALL kinds of congregations that flows out of his master’s degree in organizational development and strategic planning, Jim is masterful at helping leaders like you and organizations like yours. He’s also one of the most interested listeners you will ever meet. Jim cares deeply about helping your congregation move from the surface to Vibrant Faith. He is the author of Surface to Soul, a coaching workbook, and tends that movement on surfacetosoul.org, our coaching website.

For more than 20 years, Jim served congregations as a youth minister, and continues to be a faith shaper in the lives of young people through his local church in Burnsville, MN, where he currently serves on the “culture” task force. Jim is married with two teenaged boys.

jladoux@vibrantfaith.org | 877-239-2492 | 952-405-7302

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Fred Oduyoye

Founder: Reachable Reconciliation

Fred lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he launched Reachable Reconciliation—an organization and national movement designed to help people integrate into unfamiliar spaces of conversation and relationship. He has been working with and coaching leaders since 2007. He was a National Urban Training Director at Urban Youth Workers Institute for nine years. Fred has also worked as the National Director of Partnerships/Networking for Youth Specialities for four years and is an Advisory Committee Member of the National Network of Youth Ministries. A hobby that Fred enjoys is training and coaching soccer players. Fred and his wife Triniere have four daughters.


Cris Alsum


Cris has spent her career supporting leaders and teams in different administrative and operations roles. She has experience in a variety of organizations from Christian publishing and church staff to technology and manufacturing companies. She enjoys organizing information and spaces and has a special place in her heart (and on her desk) for paper planners! Cris is married to Will, and they have two young adult daughters. They live in Colorado and enjoy spending time exploring the beauty and history around them.

Charity Starchenko

Marketing & Communications

Charity Starchenko came to Vibrant Faith as Marketing Manager after working with small- to medium-sized churches, helping build sustainable growth environments that invite people to walk in the way of Jesus more fully. She enjoys lunch with friends, hiking and walking, and good conversation. Charity splits her time between Cary, NC, and Winter Harbor, Maine, and lives with her husband, two children, and a grumpy dog.


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