where love is alive 

Two weekends ago we celebrated my ten year anniversary as an employee of North Cleveland Baptist Church.  Many of you came out to the reception that night to congratulate me in making it that long, and for that I am so very grateful.  I have to admit that I am very proud to have made it at NCBC for 10 years.  As Dr. Jay mentioned in his article that week, ten years represents the cycle of a student going from 6th grade all the way through college life.  I am proud that I have been able to give so many of our students the gift of stability during that time period.  When I first came, there were a couple of students that I had looked forward to getting to know and I simply couldn’t connect with either of them.  I asked their dad about it one day and he said this:  “Jason, you’re doing everything well, but you are their 4th youth pastor since they have been in the youth group.  They are just tired of being let down.”  That conversation made an impact on me.  Teenagers need stability.  They need it in their home, in their school and in their church.  They need to know people are there for them and won’t be leaving them.  Out of that, I developed my idea for a ministry of longevity.  It has more to do with being here for students throughout the course of their teenage years more than it does putting together one big event that is supposed to shape their futures.  Frankly, I am not good enough at my job to design that event, but I can be there for the students from season to season.  I often say that youth ministry is like throwing spaghetti against the wall, you just keep doing it until it sticks!

Enough tooting my own horn:  this isn’t at all about me; it’s about you–THE North Cleveland Baptist Church!  At the reception the other night several people mentioned to me how interesting it is that Dr. Jay is going on 35 years, Lanny has just passed 15 years and now I have hit 10 years.  This is a testament to how great a place NCBC is and more importantly, how great our people are at NCBC.  If this wasn’t true, it is highly likely all three of us would be other places serving the Lord now, yet we are here!  NCBC is a church that loves its ministers, our wives and our families well.  You provide for our needs and always show us love and thankfully lots of grace.  You financially provide plenty for our ministry budgets and the congregation always seems to come through and provide the manpower needed to be successful in our ministries.  No, ten years is not about me at all, it’s about how wonderful a place NCBC is!  Thanks for allowing me to serve here!

Finally, I want to recognize five individuals.  These folks are the recipients of the annual Amber Cannon Memorial Scholarship Fund.  Our high school recipients are Patrick Carrol and McKenna Carson.  Patrick recently graduated from Bradley High School and McKenna graduated from Walker Valley High School.  We have enjoyed having both of these young people in the youth group, and I know their futures are bright!  We have 3 college recipients of the award this year:  Mikayla Lumpkin, Clay Pankey and Matt Pankey.  All three of these students have stayed involved in serving the youth ministry in some facet since high school graduation and have been integral parts of the college ministry ever since then.  Congratulations to each of our recipients and best of luck to you this year in school!



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