By Cara L. Dempski
GLENWOOD CITY — The future of a youth group started this past fall at Holy Cross Lutheran Church is looking bright after tripling its attendance during its first year of existence.
The JAM, or “Jesus and Music” fellowship group started in October 2016 and is aimed at giving first- through sixth-grade students a place to learn, meet and interact with new people, sing songs of worship and praise, and work on projects to keep or share with the community.
The group started with 10 students and has mushroomed to 30 participants in its four-month existence. Pastor Diane House said the group was started in the hopes of helping kids in the attending age group keep learning more about the church when they were not able to get to church on Sundays. She said many of the students who have joined were invited by friends who attend.
House said the children seem to truly enjoy their time at the church each Wednesday afternoon. When the attendees were asked what they did in the group, several young students spoke up.
“We learn about God and Jesus,” one young person said. “We get to make cool things, and sing cool songs.”
Church administrative assistant Missy Klatt said the kids love the time to sing and learn new songs and like the craft projects and interacting with her yellow lab, and official JAM greeter, Murphy.
A pair of sixth-grade girls, who declined to be identified by more than their first names, said they like the whole time they are at JAM.
Devin said, “It’s just fun. We get to play and I’ve learned a lot.”
Another sixth-grader standing nearby, Molly, explained she liked having a chance to learn more about Jesus’ life. Other, younger attendees echoed Molly’s statement, adding they like making crafts to share with their families and friends.
One very young student said what he likes best is getting to spend time with his friends and petting Murphy. Klatt said the kids really like having the four-legged JAM member around, and he seems to enjoy all the attention he gets.
The group meets every Wednesday at Holy Cross from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The kids eat a snack before taking some time to learn something new from Pastor Diane. After that, the students work on an arts or crafts project before heading into the sanctuary for the last half hour to sing and dance with “Jammin’ George,” from the radio station I-94.
Everyone who was interviewed said the best part of JAM is music, and the best part of music is singing the JAM song. The lyrics start with “It’s Jesus, and music, a symphony of fellowship. It’s Jesus, and music, a time to learn and worship.”
The staff and students of JAM say anyone who wants to learn is invited to join in the fun, even parents and grandparents. The success of this first year is evident, and church staff members are already looking forward to next year’s JAM programming.