Lisa Jacobs-Joint Youth Ministry Director- High School Ministry emphasis
Lisa is the full time director of Joint Youth Ministry. Lisa felt a specific call to Youth ministry in high school and has wanted to be a Youth Pastor since then. She volunteered and worked at several churches in Southern California throughout high school and college. She was hired in September of 2002, after graduating from Westmont College with a major in Religious Studies, to start the Joint Youth Ministry, one that three churches collaborated on and let Lisa create it from there. There were high and lows of collaborative ministry but it was the best decision our churches could have made. What started off small has grown into an extensive program for students all over San Jose.
In 2011, Lisa who loves to workout and run, began a BootCamp business that was specifically to help adults get active and healthy (as well as afford the ever increasing cost of living in the Silicon Valley) but served as a catalyze for growth in the JYM with dozens of parents investing in the JYM and having their teens become part of our ministry.
Lisa served as the Youth Pastor the first 11 years without her own kiddo, but had her own in September of 2013. Ryan has been cared for, listened to and noticed by the JYM families at events, church and during trips and the ease into motherhood and ministry was made better because of the welcoming by families in the JYM.
After almost 17 years of directing the Joint Youth Ministry there are few things she finds pivotal in leading a ministry that changes students lives and continues to grow.
1. Show up. In the early years only one or two students would show up and multiple events ended in, "well, let's just go to Wendy's and spend time together". Showing up in the lives of students regardless of the numerical success of an event is key. Lisa believes its essential to their games, performances, events, meet one on one for coffee and have meals together because caring about their lives outside of the walls of the church develops deep relationships and investment. Be present in their pain and in their joy.
2. Be creative and unafraid of change. The same thing doesn't work year after year. Reimagine programming based on the needs of the students and families currently in the program. If it's meaningful, life giving, helpful and providing growth opportunities for student emotionally, spiritually and physically, keep doing it. If not, say goodbye to the program that once served you well, and reinvent the wheel. We have done dozens of different Wednesday and Sunday programming ideas and have retired them when they weren't effective, while dreaming up with students what could and would work for them in the future.
3. There are thousands of students in the San Jose area who are dying to hear they are loved. Some of the ways our students are plugged in are through membership at our three churches. However 40% of our churches came to the JYM and are active because of word of mouth, the BootCamp or friends in the program. It's essential to understand that there on no insiders and outsiders in who God cares to love and every student who steps in the door will be made to feel that way.
4. Lisa believes strongly in justice and service as an essential piece of programing that leads to spiritual growth. At least 25% of the programs she leads are about understanding the needs of the marginalized, oppressed and poor and how we can be learners and helpers in those situations.
Theres nothing she has dreamt of doing in her career than leading teenagers to a loving God, serving the world, introducing them to deep friendships and plugging them in with adult staff and volunteer leaders who will support them in times of trial and times of celebration. Lisa is thankful for the family we have in the JYM and the ways in which we are present for each other.
KAT KRAYNICK-BAKER Associate JYM Director-Junior High Ministry emphasis
Kat is a youth group alumnus who returned to San Jose after completing her degree in Communication Studies at Westmont College. After college, Kat began to volunteer with the JYM and was hired as the Administrative Assistant, then part-time program assistant, and ran the program while Lisa was on maternity leave. Kat was hired full time as the Associate Youth Director in January 2014. Kat directs the Junior High Ministry and collaborates on all combined events as well. She is joyful and relational in how she serves and ministers to students.
Kat loves leading the JYM program and great teens in it. Kat wanted to work with the joint youth ministry because she's seen the amazing impact the program has had on the community, and the impact it's had on the maturation and spiritual growth of the teenagers. Some of Kat's favorite things are: Unicorns, rainbows, sparkles, cheese and Taylor Swift. Katrina married our old Assistant Program Director, CJ Baker, in October 2015 and her daughter Annabelle became part of the Joint Youth Ministry family in October of 2018.
Lisa and Kat also work with four pastors from the churches that support the Joint Youth Ministry. Pastors Rebecca Irelan and Susan Smith from Willow Glen UMC, Reverend Mariellen Yoshino from Almaden Hills UMC, and Reverend Amy Beth Durward from Cambrian Park UMC. These pastors are available to your family at any time, and their churches are always welcome for you and your family to attend.