ALT Leadership

  • Staff & Leadership

    Josh Graber, ALT Developer

    Josh Graber, ALT Developer has been developing a plan to create communities like this since his senior year of high school. In the past few years, as an ELCA pastor, the plan has moved into a reality.

    Josh was born near the Holden Village Retreat Center in Washington State where his parents led a similar program for young adults called Christian Lifestyle Enrichment. He was raised in a small village in Wisconsin along the Mississippi River, but grew up around alumni of his parents’ program at Holden. Seeing how much the participants of his parents' program valued that experience influenced his desire to be shaped by a similar environment, as well as to create similar experiences for others. As a young adult, he participated and visited many similar programs and ministries in the United States, Europe, and Africa. The combination of Josh’s personal background and his travel to other intentional community environments all have influenced the ALT Year model.

    Josh graduated from Trinity Lutheran College in Seattle in 2001 and graduated from Luther Seminary in 2008. His pastoral internship was at The Lutheran Church of Honolulu, where he began a cooperative youth ministry for ELCA Youth on the island of Oahu. His first call was to Trinity Lutheran in Moorhead, Minnesota, serving as an associate pastor as part of the Fund for Theological Education’s Transition into Ministry Program, funded by the Lilly Endowment. His primary focus was young adult ministry and global mission.

    Toward the end of his first call he created a formal proposal for ALT Year, using the working title Living-Learning Communities, and received enough positive feedback and initial interest to inspire him to save up his remaining salary and travel around the country to explore the potential of a new ministry. In October of 2011, this exploration led to a call as a mission developer to create ALT Year and work with potential ALT sites. Josh currently serves ALT as Mission Developer and Toledo Site Director, with his call coming from the Northwestern Synod of Ohio.

    National Team

    ALT National Summit The ALT Year Leadership Team meets quarterly to share reports and gather input and advice for the ministry. The Leadership Team also functions as smaller teams that address specific work areas and issues of the ministry.

    ALT Year Leadership Team Members:
        Dick Bruesehoff, ELCA Pastor and Outreach Coordinator at Portico Benefit Services - St. Paul, Minnesota

        Mark Burkhardt, Director of Congregational and Synodical Mission - ELCA, Chicago

        Michelle Collins, ELCA Deaconess, Advent Lutheran - Melbourne, Florida

        Ruben Duran: Director for Development of New Congregations (ELCA)

        David Ellingson, Professor of Children, Youth and Family at Trinity Lutheran College - Everett, Washington (Former Director of Evergreen Youth Television)

        Mary Frances, Assistant Director for Development of New Congregations - ELCA, Chicago

        Joshua Graber, ALT Year Mission Developer & Director for ALT Year Toledo

        Doug Haugen, Director of Lutheran Men in Mission

        Don Johnson, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (Former Director of Camp Calumet and Project Connect)

        Salim Kaderbhai, ELCA Pastor - Minnesota

        Alisha Nelson, ALT Year Alumni

        Joshua Rinas, ELCA Pastor - New Haven, Connecticut

        Bill Russell, Pastor and Professor - Minneapolis, Minnesota

        Dave Scherer, Known throughout the ELCA as "Agape," a hip-hop musician and minister

        Jane Shields, Director of Evangelical Mission - New England Synod of the ELCA

      Gordon Straw, Director of Lay Schools for Ministry, ELCA

    Former Leadership Team Members and Other Supporters:
        Susan Engh, Director, Synodical Partners in Mission and Congregation Based Community Organizing (ELCA)

        Heidi Torgerson-Martinez, Director of Young Adults in Global Mission for the ELCA

        Rozella White, Program Director of Young Adult Ministry for the ELCA

        Kathryn Lohre, Executive for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations (Former General Secretary and President of the National Council of Churches)
  • null

    Mission Network


    Check out these LIFE in Service Partners (LIFE stands for “Lutheran Immersion and Formation Events”)Lutheran Volunteer Corps
    Urban Servant Corps
    Border Servant Corps
    Young Adults in Global Mission

    OTHER PARTNERSnullHolden Village Retreat Center
    Norwegian Folkehøgskoler
    Project Connect
    Youth Encounter
    Lifelong Faith
    Trinity Lutheran College

    The Oregon Extension
    Gutenberg College
    L’Abri Fellowship International
  • ALT Year is not just a ministry we are doing for young adults, the young adults that are a part of ALT Year are emerging leaders in both church and society. Their ALT Year experience prepares them for adaptive leadership in a changing culture. ALT Year sees them as the real leaders of the ALT Movement and encourages and empowers them to advance its mission. Listen to what these ALTers said about their experience:

        This year has given me time to rediscover my gifts, passions, and beliefs through volunteer work, bible study, and mentorships.
    –Alisha Nelson, Minnesota

        It’s a chance for you to step back from the way you’ve been living your life, to really see where you want to be going in life, as well as where God’s hand is in it.
    –Trevor, California

        I’ve learned the importance of “putting myself out there” into community groups and organizations. It’s given me new insights and confidence in becoming more involved in my community.
    –Erik, Washington State

        ALT has gotten me out of my comfort zone to try new things.
    –Mahalah, Ohio

        Abundant Life Together has helped me try and figure out who I am as a person, as a believer, and what to do with my life.
    -Alex, Ohio

        ALT has helped me embrace new people with love and compassion.
    –Damon, Ohio

        It’s a time for you to recognize the beauty that exists in a community through the people that you interact with and also through the work that you engage in
    —Amber, Minnesota

        It’s important for the church to do something like ALT Year because it’s a chance to hammer out your own religious identity and spiritual practices that work for you.
    –Krystal, Michigan

        ALT has caused me to think of what I consume and to make choices that are not only more sustainable for the environment but for those who produce the things I consume.
    –Ian Kruk, New Jersey

        Especially if you been in school from kindergarten to high school to college, you lose a piece of yourself when you don’t do self-care and take time for you and your passions.
    –Elizabeth, Ohio

        ALT has helped me become a stronger, more independent, and motivated individual who strives to serve the Lord through loving and serving others.
    -Alex, Michigan

        It’s a great opportunity to be able step back and cultivate and recognize who you are in this world.
    –Elisabeth, Minnesota

        Coming out of ALT Year I will be in a place where I will be thriving no matter what I do.
    —Jari, Massachusetts
  • For more information about ALT Year – publicity material, how to support, how to participate, what’s happening – please contact:




    (203) 772-8917

    Interested in getting involved at one of the existing pilot sites?

    Click here for ALT Year Toledo’s site or ALT Year Twin Cities site!

  • We want you to be a participant in Abundant Life Together and help us share ALT in your communities and networks.

        Will you live out and share the Core Values of ALT in Your Community?

      • Young Adults: we value the strengths, energy, and questions young adults (age 18-25) bring to God’s ongoing activity in the world.
      • Cultivating Faith: we are inspired by the joys and challenges of a relationship with Jesus that leads us into an adventure of faith given through the gift of the gospel.
      • Courageous Experimentation: we promote creativity, curiosity, critical reflection, and proactive initiative as a way of living out discipleship at the intersection of church and culture.
      • Abundant Community: we value the wisdom and gifts discovered through relationships and collaboration between the host communities, ALT participants, and local congregations, bringing people together of different generations, cultures, and life-experiences.
      • Vital Partnerships: we value the community and mutuality that forms when trust and respect permeate our relationships with each other and with the local and larger church, allowing for growth, learning, and transformation.

        Will you identify and invite young adults you know to be a part of an ALT Year Community?

    Guide to Inviting Young Adults to ALT Year (PDF)
    Guide to Inviting Young Adults to ALT Year (Word)

          Will you share the story of ALT Year in your community?
      [Printing Press Resources here]

          Will you pray for ALT Year and consider
      giving a financial donation
          to keep this movement going (and growing!) [
      Support ALT Year

        "If you invest your time and energy in any of these ways, then you are a ALT leader and an ambassador in the ALT Movement! Thank you!"