Like a typical seventh-grade student, Joel Aldous enjoys hanging out with his friends, skateboarding, and spending time with his family.
But when you visit the Junior High Ministrys Friday Nite Live, you wont find Joel sitting in a chair. He is busy working. At the age of 13, Joel pitches in and sets up the skate park, checks-in students, and greets new skaters.
Joel got involved with the Junior High Ministry the summer after 5th grade. He went to the Rock's summer camp, where he got to know other students and leaders. He decided then that he wanted to serve.
"Ive always enjoyed helping out. Its a good way to get involved."
Joel's parents, Nick and Rachel remember Joel even as a young child as always having a sincere desire to follow the Lord.
"Joel has always been really consistent. If he says he is going to do something, he does it."
Friday Nite Live
Joel arrives at the Rock every Friday around 2:00 PM to help set up for Friday Nite Live, the Junior High Ministry outreach event. Students are able to skate, play games, meet new friends, and hear a biblical message. Joel helps set up all the chairs and the equipment needed for the skate park. Once students start arriving, he helps check them in and greet the new students.
"There isn't a job too small or too large that Joel has not done." - Dru Teves
Junior High Pastor, Dru Teves shares, "Heroes dont sit in chairs on Sunday. They are DO Something followers of Christ. Joel leads other youth by his example of following the Lord. There isn't a job too small or too large that Joel has not done. Hes set up skate ramps, brought friends to church, and fund-raised money so that others can attend summer camp."
In addition to helping out with Friday Nite Live, Joel attends a small group and serves on the junior high student leadership team. The leadership team is trained to serve in different roles in junior high ministry. They pray and help with the decision-making for the youth ministry. The team enables the youth staff to multiply their time.
Junior High Intern, Stephen Bowdler says, "To see youth like Joel step up and be obedient to what God is calling them to is amazing."
Using Adversity to Reach Others
When the Aldous family first moved to San Diego from Nashville, it took Joel some time to adjust to his neighborhood. Many of the kids were older and spent their free time surfing and skating. Because skating was not a part of the Nashville culture, Joel did not grow up using a skateboard. Joel's dad, Nick bought him his first skateboard and his mom, Rachel prayed that he would enjoy it. At first, Joel had to prove himself. But over time, he began to not only fit in but won the favor of the neighborhood kids'.
Nick and Rachel noticed that skating was an open door for ministry to the boys so Nick built a large half pipe in their backyard. The kids started showing up in large groups. Even kids from the skate park started coming over to the Aldous' house. Joel continued to stand strong in his faith and the other kids respected him for it. The Aldouses started hosting a junior high small group so that they could reach out to all of the their new neighborhood friends.
"Joel is relentless in planning events for Saturday night. The kids conveniently spend the night at our house and wake up and go to church with us in the morning. One of the biggest joys has been seeing the neighborhood kids hanging out on the steps of the Rock after church," Rachel shares.
Whether it is Friday Nite Live, church on Sunday, or summer camp, Joel takes every opportunity to invite his friends and neighbors to church.
"One of the coolest things has been seeing my friends get more involved in ministry. I invited one of my friends to summer camp and he became a Christian."
Foundation to Serve
The foundation for Joels servant attitude comes from the examples he sees in his parents and Stephen, one of his youth leaders.
"I really look up to my parents and Stephen. Their relationship with God is an encouragement to me. They challenge me to be more on fire for God. I always see Stephen serving. It helps to think that if he can do it, I can do it. I dont have a lot of other people in my life that I can look to like that. It helps me to grow."
"I really look up to my parents and Stephen. Their relationship with God is an encouragement to me. They challenge me to be more on fire for God."
- Joel Aldous
The Aldouses continue to host one of the junior high small groups at their house. They also enjoy using their gifts to serve others. Nick helped build the skate park that the students use for Friday Nite Live and Rachel frequently sings praise and worship songs. They are proud that their son is taking advantage of the opportunities placed before him to serve others.
Joel admits there are times when he would prefer just to hang out and skate at Friday Nite Live. But he says that he reminds himself of why he is serving. He remembers that he loves doing what he does and that helps him continue to serve others.
Joel dreams of Friday Nite Live growing in size. His prayer is that more people would get involved and come to know Christ.
"Joel is a Rock Hero because he gets the message out that God values youth and has a job for each of them," Pastor Dru Teves.
For more information about the Junior High Ministry, click here »
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