A few years ago I was encouraged (and provided a scholarship) to attend a Jesus Focused Youth Ministry Forum. This forum was hosted by Reach Out Youth Solutions, just outside Atlanta, GA. Well, long story-short, three years later I have attended, helped lead a separate forum, been certified as a leader and this week, spoke at and was a leader for another forum. While I really enjoyed the forum I thoroughly enjoyed all the “extras” that came with it this time. Namely, the relationships.
Roger Palmer is the National Director the the JFYM forums. Roger was my original small group leader at the forum I attended in Georgia. At that forum and in the three or so I have been a part of since, we have grown in friendship and I am very thankful for his faithfulness to me (namely through prayer and encouragement). I was able to spend a solid four hours one-on-one with Roger on Wednesday of this week. We had a “down day” in the middle of a busy week and he joined me in some of my network venturing. This time with Roger was extremely rewarding to me. I asked him questions about his ministry and family. He gave me some great insights and wisdom for my own marriage and family; it was truly a gleaning experience for me.
Barry St. Clair is the founder and president of Reach Out Youth Solutions. Barry and I connected in GA as well. However, in the last year, when God put it on my heart that I needed to be mentored, Barry was the name He gave me. For the last 9 months I have been meeting (via phone) with Barry about once every couple months. He has given me many nuggets of wisdom. However, this week was WAY different than those phone calls. This was the personal foundation we needed. Seeing him in his ministry setting and being able to immediately follow up and relate has been extremely rewarding. On Wednesday morning I was able to bring Barry to my local network and he encouraged the five or six of us in attendance. On top of that I was able to grab about an hour of one-on-one time with Barry talking about life and ministry. I am thankful for his ability to speak into my life.
It was an extreme privilege to bring both Roger and Barry over to my house on Wednesday afternoon. They got to spend about an hour with me and my family. I was so glad Elisabeth got to meet Barry and get better acquainted with Roger. Sharing life is so precious!
Great ministry friends like Chris Renzelman, Steve Bodwell, Tom Horton and Jess Champers were also involved in the leadership of JFYM this week; and having Brad Hostak, Eric Drumm and Jamie Jockwig (all friends) going through JFYM made it even more special. I have much love and respect for each of these guys!