Over 800 individuals participated in JAM 2017 at Cairn University on May 12–13, 2017. Junior High Adventures in Ministry (JAM) is a summer ministry partnership and equipping event run by the Student Ministries Department and Youth and Family Ministry program at Cairn. Each year, middle school students come to campus for intensive evangelism training and to share their faith with younger children at Cairn’s annual Kids’ Day.
This year, attendees included 380 middle school students and leaders, 350 children, dozens of adults from the children’s ministries, over 40 Cairn students, 20 Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) trainers, and 15 volunteers from TD Bank.
On Friday night, the middle schoolers arrived on campus and received training on how to share the gospel from the CEF volunteers. They also had the opportunity to worship together and hear from speaker Steve Sanford from New Tribes Mission (now Ethnos 360). Steve lived among the Joti people in Venezuela and led almost the entire tribe to the saving knowledge of Jesus. The Joti had never heard about Jesus, and no one outside their tribe had ever learned their language. Steve challenged the students to “see the unseen,” which was the theme of JAM this year.
On Saturday morning, the children arrived. The middle schoolers paired up with the children in 14 groups and participated in various games and activities throughout the day, including inflatables, puppet shows, Bingo, and arts and crafts. Later in the day, the middle schoolers shared the good news of Jesus, and over 100 children prayed to receive Christ for the first time. New friendships were formed and partnerships established between ministries.
An annual tradition at Cairn University, JAM has had a significant impact throughout the years. After coming to JAM for several years, a youth leader from Windsor Chapel named Kevin Simme was prompted by God at last year’s JAM to leave his job and to start a nonprofit to help under-resourced students pay for and finish college. During the course of a year, Kevin has received 501(3)c status for Wise-Up and is waiting for permission to start fundraising. He has several commitments from donors and believes he will be able to help thousands of students. One of the colleges he will recommend is Cairn University, the birthplace of Wise-Up. Connections for this new ministry were developed at JAM. Cairn grads such as Dwayne Walton ’04, executive director of Parkesburg Point Youth Center in Parkesburg, PA; Lorraine Stirneman ’60 and Christine Wigden from Philadelphia’s BCM; and other JAM connections will be a few of Kevin’s first clients.
In addition to nonprofits, JAM has also inspired one of the children’s groups who attended this year to plan a community outreach in their neighborhood, using the same techniques and strategies that they observed at JAM.
This year, five Cairn alumni came back to campus to assist with running JAM. In addition, fourteen alumni brought their youth groups and five alumni brought children from their ministries. Several current students trace their first experience with Cairn back to JAM, and current student Leona Chisolm shared how she first heard about Cairn when she came as a child to Kids’ Day with her church, Cornerstone Community Church, and Pastor Bill Curry ’80.
These are the stories that reveal the widespread impact of a ministry such as JAM. Cairn University is grateful for the opportunity to host such an event. Special thanks to the many youth pastors, leaders, directors, and ministry leaders who helped oversee the event. We hope to see you next year!