Spotlight on Our Newest Cultivator

Written by Plant With Purpose on January 13, 2015 in Cultivator of the Quarter, News & Events

Rick Moncauskas might hold the record for longest Plant With Purpose advocate. He’s been a part of the organization since its early days and has made a difference doing everything from video production to running a Plant With Purpose coffee table at church. Rick currently oversees media operations at Point Loma Nazarene University and supports Plant With Purpose at weekend events. Today he shares about his journey and why he believes Plant With Purpose programs bring God’s kingdom to earth. Get to know our newest Cultivator of the Quarter (and meet past Cultivators here, here, and here)!


1. When and how did you first get involved with Plant With Purpose?

I first got involved through Mt. Soledad Presbyterian Church. Founder Tom Woodard started Plant With Purpose out of that church. But it wasn’t until Scott Sabin became the executive director and asked me to help with video work that I really got invested–this was twenty-two years ago! I began creating multimedia presentations for the Gala and organizing Vision Trips for the church. At one point I was one of the few people, including Plant With Purpose staff, who had visited every program site.

2. Can you share about what your involvement looks like?

Originally, I shot video and stills for Plant With Purpose and organized Vision Trips. At the moment I run a coffee table at our church on the first and third Sundays of the month, with the help of some folks who have also traveled to Plant With Purpose programs. We hand out literature and sell coffee and handicrafts made by some of the rural farmers. The idea behind the coffee table is that when God taps a member of the congregation on the shoulder and whispers to them, “I want you to care for the poor,” we’ll be there, ready to make it simple for them to be obedient to God.

3. What motivates you to use your gifts and time to support the organization?

I was listening to a lecture the other day and the speaker said, quite unrelated to Plant With Purpose, “If you help a [third-world] farmer, you help stop poverty.” Plant With Purpose does what I think is truly the Lord’s work. It cares for the body as well as the soul. It prevents poverty, increases income, replants the world, and allows the rural poor to live with more “shalom.” It’s about bringing the kingdom of God to the world, now. Plant With Purpose is a Christian organization that I’m proud to belong to and support. I think it’s pretty rare to find an organization that holistically covers all the bases, and I really love telling non-believers about this work.

Rick and his wife, Debbie

Rick and his wife, Debbie

4. What aspect of our work do you resonate with most?

Support for the rural poor in the name of Christ. In Luke 4:18, at the inauguration of Christ’s ministry in Nazareth, Jesus starts his ministry with this quote from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor…” The whole passage Jesus quotes is a very “this worldly” agenda. I think many evangelical churches are so busy saving souls that they miss this essential part of the Gospel: “good news to the poor.” Matthew 25:35 goes on to say, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Plant With Purpose gives me a way to be obedient to Christ in these ways.

5. Do you have advice for people looking to uniquely use their gifts to support Plant With Purpose?

– Give as much as you can to help as many as you can. Do it today.

– Go on a Vision Trip. See the world that God has made and the conditions that many people live under. See what God is doing through Plant With Purpose and those who support it to relieve poverty by replanting the earth.

– Start a Plant With Purpose coffee table at YOUR church.

fcc coffee table

Dirk Smith, Rick Moncauskas, Emmett Pinney, and Terry Moore at the Plant With Purpose coffee table.

6. If you could have breakfast with one person (living or dead) who would it be, and why?

It would just have to be Jesus. I want to see what he was really like between events. Does he ever just “chat” like a normal person, or is he always speaking in parables? I think many assume that he was always the way the Bible portrays him at peak moments. I’d like to find out that’s true and if not, what he was like during down times.

7. What is your favorite part about working with university students?

Seeing them grow and change. College was one of my favorite times in life. I was in a position to make my first real decisions about how I was going to live. College students are so open to change and they have to make their own minds up about how they are going to live. I love being able to have some small influence in that. And, frankly, they keep me young by engaging me with their ideas and music and questions.

8. If you were a tree, what kind would you be?

Either a weeping willow–those trees are so beautiful with their droopy branches and bright green leaves–or a banyan tree with all the wild roots growing all over the place and the great shade they produce in their sunny climates.


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