Posts tagged Meet The Staff
Meet the Staff: Caleb Ives
Caleb and his wife Latoya.

Caleb and his wife Latoya.

This week we have the privilege of sitting down with Caleb Ives, the executive director of Emmaus Ministries. Caleb came on staff in 2012 when Emmaus Ministries was a bible school in the mountains of North Carolina. Caleb and his wife Latoya moved to Florida with their 4 daughters during Emmaus’ relocation and relaunch in 2015. Caleb is known for teaching the word of God with life and being a friend to all that he meets.

Caleb, lets just jump right in, what do you do around here?

I guess I do “director” things!  I teach in our different programs, shepherd the staff team, lead board meetings, and think a lot about vision for the future. But honestly, I feel like I spend most of my time in conversations. Whether with staff developing teachings and designing ministry programs, with students wrestling through difficult Bible passages and life challenges, or with pastors & leaders exploring ways to equip their Church to follow Jesus and engage their Bible. I end up spending a lot of my time in conversations.

What is your favorite part of your Job?

I love pretty much everything about my job, but my favorite part is seeing people discover new things in the Bible. It’s exciting to see individuals and churches feel equipped and gain renewed excitement to engage the Bible. And it’s incredible to get to play a part in them becoming captivated by the beauty of the Gospel and the character of God as He is revealed in the Scriptures.  Basically, I love having a front row seat to see the gracious work of Jesus transforming lives and communities! Dang...I love my job!

When did you know God was calling you to be a part of Emmaus?

Well, this really is a three part answer. PART 1: In 2011, I was Pastoring in Michigan and felt a tangible sense of lack when it came to my knowledge of the Bible. Along with this I was struggling with anxiety and a lot of shame. At a retreat in Florida, a mentor told us about the School of Biblical Studies and my wife and I knew this was what God had for us. That retreat center in Florida “happened” to be Canterbury Retreat Center in Oviedo, FL. Four months later we were living in the mountains of North Carolina, and I was studying the BIble all day, every day in the School. Over the next year, I became a new person as the Gospel saturated my heart and the Spirit reshaped my life. PART 2: I came to the School planning to leave afterwards, go work at a church while finishing seminary, then go plant the church I’d always dreamed of planting. But, during my student year, my wife and I began to feel a desire to serve this ministry that God had used to impact our family so much.  After graduation we interviewed with a couple of awesome churches and tried to find something we could do OTHER than join the missions staff. Ultimately, God continued to pull us back to Emmaus. So, we committed to joining staff for two years, (while I finished Seminary) then we were going to go plant a church. PART 3: After those two years, I was a part of the staff team who discovered God was directing Emmaus to relocate to Central a retreat the name of Canterbury Retreat Center in Oviedo, FL (see Part 1). It was a crazy collision of our original call for me to be a student and the deepening call for this to be the ministry we give our lives to. It was through this process of discernment that our family really felt God running deep roots of this Emmaus calling in our hearts. In 2015 we moved with a few other staff to Central Florida to relocate Emmaus. Then in 2018 I accepted the commission as the new Executive Director of the ministry. It’s been quite a journey!

Which Bible Character would you want to get coffee with?

Am I not allowed to say Jesus? The right answer is pretty much always Jesus. If not Jesus, I think I’d like to grab a coffee with the exilic prophets. I have really been inspired by the faithfulness of the ministries of Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel. They are rejected, persecuted, mocked and ignored. Jeremiah is told from the start of his ministry that no one will listen to him, but he remains faithful and is willing to do absolutely insane things in obedience to God and in service to the people. Daniel manages to be both incredibly humble and unbreakably strong as an exile in Babylon, his courageous trust in God has always challenged me. Ezekiel essentially has to redefine everything he thought he would be doing as a priest in Jerusalem, instead being called to be a prophet to the Exiles in Babylon. Another reason I’d want to have coffee with those guys, their stories would be epic: Jeremiah took a three month walk to bury his underwear as a prophetic sign; Daniel spent a night with lions; Ezekiel cooked food over cow poop and saw some super trippy visions. That would be an entertaining conversation for sure!

What was your favorite Christian Song to jam out to growing up?

Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith were definitely a background soundtrack for my childhood, but I’d say Carman was my jam as a kid. He had these ridiculous music videos and I thought they were amazing! I was also 110% “Down with the DC Talk” in my early adolescence. I can pretty much rap “I Don’t Want It” word for word to this day. It was the only Christian song I knew that used the word “sex” so, it had my attention as a middle schooler. In high school I discovered the Christian rap legend that is Antonious (sarcasm), but those bass lines rattled the windows of my 1988 Ford Taurus for a few years. You can probably tell that I was super cool.

Why Emmaus?

First of all, because Emmaus is committed to addressing perhaps the largest problem of the Church in America today: Biblical Illiteracy. Studies show that engaging the BIble is the number one discipline that produces life-long spiritual growth. Also, the Emmaus Road of Luke 24 is an experience that continues to repeat itself. As people journey together with the Jesus who opens the Scriptures, it continues to produce burning hearts with renewed passion for Jesus & His mission. It settles the anxious heart with the hope that is in Jesus. I’m so glad God has called our family to be a part of this ministry!

 If you would like to partner financially with the Ives family you can follow the link below or if you would like to read Caleb’s updates you can follow that link below.

Meet the Staff: Samantha McRae

This week we’d like to introduce a very important staff member. Without this person, our ministry would undoubtedly come to a screeching halt. Samantha McRae does everything from cooking breakfasts to running the behind the scenes administration that keeps our ministry going. Sam plays a crucial role in making Emmaus what we are today. Let’s dive in and learn more about Sam and her role on staff.

What do you do around Emmaus?

I am one of the "hosts.” Essentially, this means I am part of the team that plans and prepares our weekly breakfasts and our community events.

I am the calendar queen, I know, sounds important. I work on keeping our schedule clear and make sure there are no conflicts between the Emmaus and Canterbury Retreat Center’s schedules. (I also secretly aspire to be the “Emmaus Mom” pertaining to birthdays and such, but we’ll see what happens. We do have quite a few moms in our midst now.)

I also assist in the financial department, grade student assignments, and disciple female students through what we call “one-on-one's”. Oh, and I check the mail, so that’s pretty cool..

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love the staff I get to work with, in some ways they are my family. The women have become some of my dearest friends and I’m so thankful for each of them in my life. I very much enjoy the discipleship aspect of working with students, seeing another woman, a sister/friend, drawing closer to Jesus through the truth of God's Word is amazing, I feel so blessed to be able to live life beside these women as we each grow in our faith and understanding of who God is and who he made us to be. (And I really enjoy preparing breakfast and organizing schedules. Breakfast and organization make me happy.)

When did you know God was calling you to be a part of Emmaus?

In the fall of 2016, during my student year at Emmaus School of Biblical Studies, that’s when I first considered the option of staying on as a staff member after graduation.

Which Bible character would you want to get coffee with?

I think it could be interesting to speak with Rahab and hear her story, including her reasoning behind choosing to follow the Hebrew God, instead of following whatever gods she had been serving until that point in her life. I sometimes wonder if her reasoning was merely fear induced or if she was secretly yearning for the true God and the fall of Jericho presented the opportunity. Either way, I admire the way she took a stand and saved those in her household.

Another person I would like to speak with would be Ruth. I’ve heard her praised for her faithfulness and disparaged for her blind following of others but I’m interested in knowing her heart. Why did she do the things she did? How was she feeling in those situations?

Why Emmaus?

Originally, Jacob and I came to Emmaus School of Biblical Studies merely because they would accept me without having experienced a YWAM DTS. (YWAM = Youth With A Mission and DTS = Discipleship Training School) But, after spending some time around the staff of Emmaus, we realized they lived life differently than we had experienced anywhere else. We wanted to live lives immersed in the Word of God alongside other children of God. Emmaus seemed like the right fit for us. We wanted to be part of a community that actively sought the will of God, whether it was simple or not. We no longer wanted the "easy life" we had been living before. (I know, that sounds crazy. Easy sounds much better than difficult. But, Jesus makes it all worthwhile.) And we wanted to see people embrace the truth of the Bible for themselves. It transforms you. Jesus transforms people by loving them where they are. Once you accept His love your entire mindset changes. He loves you enough to challenge your preconceived notions and to convict you to change, to become a better version of yourself. And he loves you through the challenges, even when you fail. That’s the kind of God we serve and He’s who we attempt to imitate in this ministry.

Samantha and her husband Jacob are currently raising support! Please consider joining them as financial partners in ministry, if you would like to do so, follow the links below!

Meet the Staff: Morgan

This week we would love for you to meet Morgan Phaneuf! Morgan first came to Emmaus as a student during our pilot program. Born and raised in North Carolina, Morgan and her husband Justin moved to Florida with their two kids, Drake and Tannis. Morgan is an excellent student and teacher of the Word.

Morgan, Let’s cut to the chase, what do you do around here?

The short answer is, I enjoy myself WAY too much! If you're talking specifics, I'm the instagrammer on staff. Instagram is a "look in" at our daily life here and I love that part of my job is sneaking around taking candid photos! I also get to use my "nice camera" to take photos as a way to document everything from our community events, to photos for blogs/support raising needs, and just our ministry and school life. I taught my first two books this Spring and I am looking forward to adding to my repertoire in the Fall (starting with the Book of Joshua). As with most ministries, we all do a little bit of everything as needs arise.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Is it cliche' to say all the parts? It's probably cliche' but I am going to say it anyway. All the parts! My job is to be in my Bible all the time, talk to people about the Bible all the time, and be in community with people who love the Bible and want to talk about it all the time! I love my coworkers as well, they are a pretty great part of the job. I legitimately miss the people I work with on the weekends and I look forward to Mondays when I get to go back to work! If I had to narrow it down to just one thing though, it would have to be watching the way studying the Bible captivates people and changes them. God's word is living and active and it messes with the people that really spend time in it. Having the opportunity to watch that in all its incarnations is beautiful and wonderful!

When did you know God was calling you to be a part of Emmaus?

I think I knew that God was calling me to Emmaus to be on staff in the same way that I knew He was calling me to be a student, it just kept coming up! During my time as a student, I experienced life and heart change beyond what I thought imaginable. I spent a lot of time bewildered and overwhelmed. However, during that same time I also started teaching in my Neighborhood Group. I hadn’t even been inclined to speak up in discussions in group prior to that but, suddenly, I couldn’t help but share what I was learning in class! I wanted people to know what I was discovering. I couldn't stop talking about the Bible!  I tried to find any way I could to tell people about Emmaus. On occasion, people would say "You should teach the Bible" or "Your passion for this is infectious, you were made for this!" Those comments made me embarrassed and awkward, but they also made me think. Fast forward to coming into the end of my student year and I was absolutely unsure of what was next. What I was sure of was that I was completely bereft at the thought of leaving Emmaus for good. I would have never anticipated that being on staff at a ministry where I stood in front of people and gave lectures was in God's plan for me, but, here I am!

Which Bible Character would you want to get coffee with?

Jesus of course! Shouldn't everyone say Jesus? Everyone probably says Jesus right? Well, if Jesus is a given, I would say my second choice would probably be Mary, the mother of Jesus. If you think about her life, what she was told, what happened to her, what she saw through the eyes of a mother, her story is just incredible! I would love to pick her brain about seeing Jesus through the eyes of both a mother and a disciple! I imagine some of it would be heart wrenching, like the crucifixion. However, I think some of it would also be humorous. I mean, what was Jesus like as a kid? I’m a parent, I have some great stories about the things my kids have said and done! I also cannot imagine hearing the sweet, soft pride that only a mother can feel as she spoke of watching her son grow as a Rabbi and take his ministry forward.

What was your favorite Christian Song to Jam out to growing up?

Well, I didn't grow up listening to Christian music often as I didn't have what you would call the "traditional" faith history. I mostly jammed out to The Beatles, Harry Belafonte, Jimmy Buffett, show tunes, 60’s rock and some of whatever was popular. However, my best friend (the person responsible for dragging me to youth group and church kicking and screaming, if you’re reading this Melissa, I love you!) only listened to Christian music in her car. I rode to school with her in the morning and she had a few songs she would put on blast and repeat until we joined in her joyful 7am worship sessions (yes, there was dancing). I really enjoyed "The Devil is Bad" by The Ws. That's a fun one to sing with 6 people stuffed into a Mustang!

Why Emmaus?

I’m not sure I have a concise answer for this question. I simply feel like this is what God made me to do. I know, I know, that sounds like such a “this is my calling” super spiritual type answer. It’s true though. Once I graduated college, I would tell people “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.” As my transcripts can attest, I certainly didn’t know when I was still in school! (Four schools and I think 5ish majors?) During my student year at Emmaus, even when the workload was hard and balancing life with class was demanding, I always felt sadness knowing that one day it would end. I would have to graduate and leave Emmaus. Often, I’d demand an “Emmaus 200 level” course catalogue or I would threaten to just camp out and blatantly refuse leave! Emmaus has been such a gift, not just to me, but my family, my friends and my faith community. I am who I am because I have allowed the Bible to mess with me. I am a different person than I was prior to January 2018. I cannot believe that now I really do get stay at Emmaus! It’s not just that. I get the honor and the incredibly humbling privilege of watching students while the Bible messes with them too. All that to say, “Why Emmaus?” is really more a “What else but Emmaus?” question to me. There’s nothing in the world I can imagine that I want to be involved with more than this ministry with these people!

If you would like to support Morgan and her family or read her update blog click the buttons below.