Meet the Team

Jacob Sorenson

Jacob Sorenson

Project Director

Jacob Sorenson is a practical theologian and researcher who has a deep interest in bringing scholarly attention to outdoor ministries. He is the founder of Sacred Playgrounds, a ministry offering research and training for camps and congregations. He has a PhD from Luther Seminary and a Masters of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has more than fifteen years of experience as a youth minister and camp minister, and he has published multiple articles on camping ministry. He loves spending time with his amazing wife Anna (a Lutheran pastor) and their two boys Elijah and Nathanael. He also enjoys gardening, running, singing around a campfire, and most outdoor recreational activities. Contact him at jake@sacredplaygrounds.com.

Paul Hill

Paul Hill

Project Director

Paul has spent nearly 40 years studying, teaching, and doing ministry in the area of congregational development, youth and families, and outdoor ministries.  His sense of call developed while working at Wilderness Canoe Base in Northern Minnesota, serving as a wilderness guide in the late 60’s leading mostly, at-risk youth on 7-25 day canoe trips. He is a former executive director of Lake Wapogasset Lutheran Bible Camps, Inc. Paul is currently serving as a GSB Associate (gsbfundraising.com) and co-leader of the Effective Camp Research Project. He also is principle of Paul Hill Outdoor Ministry Services.  He has directed multiple camps and provided national leadership in church camping and research. Paul and Elaine have been married for 41 years, and are the proud parents of Joshua and Amber, and proud grandparents of James and Rowan.

Dr. Roland Martinson

Dr. Roland Martinson

Research Design Consultant

Roland Martinson came to Luther Seminary in 1977 and has held numerous academic and leadership roles. Now Professor Emeritus, he most recently served for five years as Luther Seminary’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean. He was ordained in 1968. “Rollie” was the project director of the landmark Exemplary Youth Ministry Study and a participant the Search Institute’s original “Effectiveness of Christian Education” study. His works include: The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry (2010);  OMG: A Youth Ministry Handbook (2010); Coming of Age (2006); Gearing Up for Youth Ministry in the 21st Century (1992); Effective Youth Ministry, A Congregational Approach (1988); Bringing Up Your Child and Ministries with Families (1986); and A Joyful Call to Ministry (1982). He serves on the Board of Directors for Vibrant Faith. Rollie lives with his wife in New Brighton, MN.

Amber Hill

Amber Hill

Research Team

Amber is currently the data management specialist at Colorado Youth for a Change. She supported education research and evaluation projects with McREL International to build clients’ data-driven decision-making capacity and continuous improvement efforts. She conducted research in English and Spanish for the Organization of American States, International Peace and Security Institute, and Fundación Futuro Latino Americano on conflict resolution in the Americas. Her original research was approved for presentation on national platforms such as the American Evaluation Association and Learning Forward conferences. Her direct service experience includes working for an education program with homeless and runaway youth at Urban Peak, as well as immigrants and refugees at the English Learning Center. She facilitated and managed high ropes course programming at Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp and Lake Wapogasset. Amber serves as the vice chair on the board of directors for Youth on Record. She is a graduate of Luther College with a BA in Spanish and Political Science, as well as American University with an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. She enjoys running, skiing, hiking, climbing, and backpacking in her free time.

Danielle Hill

Danielle Hill

Research Team

Danielle currently balances work and family life by spending part of her week as an at-home mom and part as an executive assistant. After earning a degree in English at Gustavus Adolphus University, Danielle worked in the newspaper industry and at a veterinary clinic before switching to part-time work. She frequently serves as a volunteer assisting minister and has performed in several musicals at Calvary Lutheran Church in South Minneapolis. Her hobbies include gardening, singing, photography, and spending time with her husband and two young sons.

Effective Camp Research Project Supporters

Jeff Bluhm: Lutherdale Ministries
Penny Christenson: Lutheran Outdoor Ministries in Ohio
Dave Coker: Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries
Margie Fieldler: Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp
Jerry Fritsch: Lutheran Lakeside Camp
Amber Hill
David Holtz: Luthercrest Bible Camp
Roland Martinson
Layne Nelson: Lutheran Outdoors in South Dakota
Marv Nysetvold: Shetek Lutheran Ministries
Jim Schmidt: Camp Onomia
Don Shunkwiler: Sugar Creek Bible Camp
Russ Senti: Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center
Brent Seaks: Badlands Ministries
Lake Wapogasset Lutheran Bible Camp, Inc.
Jesse Weiss

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