Monday, June 26, 2006

Just sent out this email to the local Metro Detroit Community of Youth Pastors

Friends,

I know summer is upon you and you are crazy busy with camps, mission trips, and hanging out with your families, but I wanted to give you a quick update on some Project311 news.

Round ONE

First of all, thank you for making our first round of community wide connecting a huge success. This last year we were able to host a Metro Detroit Youth Workers Lunch that over 110 of you attended and thank you to all of you who made it out to one of our Coffee Breaks. Also, thanks to those of you who attended our 1st ever Training Event on April 12th. Thank YOU!

Round TWO

So, we are quickly planning a fall gathering and a possible training event for volunteers and I wanted to give you the run down and get your thoughts. Project311 exists to Love & Encourage Students and the People who Love Students. The way we do that is by providing Teaching (Students) /Training (Adults), and also by Connecting with youth workers and connecting them to each other and by providing Events to unite Metro Detroit together. So, that’s why we do what we do. In a nutshell, we love you and are praying for you and want to do everything we can to be a practical help for you.

Lunch. Our early thoughts are to host the next Metro Detroit Youth Workers Lunch in early September on a Thursday (14th) and go a little longer, maybe 1100am to 100pm. Faith Lutheran Church in Troy has graciously opened their doors for us and I hope you will consider attending, even if it’s more than a 45 minute drive for some of you. Our purpose for this gathering is to provide you with an opportunity to connect with youth workers from all over Metro Detroit, provide some resources, encourage you and hopefully bless you. For this next gathering we are thinking of bringing in someone (National youth ministry leader) to do a short training/encouragement. We have also thought about spending some time praying, and uniting together to pray for the students in our area. Please be praying as we try to find sponsorships for this lunch. If you think your church would be interested in helping financially, please contact Joe Jeffrey at joe@project311.com.

Volunteer Training Event. Just about two-thirds of the surveys from our first lunch said that Project311 could help by sponsoring a training event for their volunteer leaders. I thought this was odd considering that the Core (Youth Specialties) comes to town every year and Group Magazine Live was just here, but the more I thought about it, I think it would be a great unity building event for the Metro area.

How does early October sound on a Saturday morning? We are also thinking about gathering together an All Star team of veteran youth workers from the Metro Detroit area to do the training. I don’t know if they would go for it, but I think they would add so much wisdom to this event. We will let you know ASAP but we are tentatively thinking about October 14th. If you would like to be a part of the planning team for this event, please email me and let me know.

Round THREE

The Raitz family is moving to Chicago! It still sounds weird to say, but Willow Creek Community Church in S. Barrington, IL has offered me a position to be a part of their Jr. high team and we accepted. I will be one of their Community Life Pastors and will be training/encouraging leaders, teaching students and will be working on some of their neighborhood ministry development. So, I know some of you will have questions and I know many, many of you will not care at all, so skip this part of the email.

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In a nutshell, I never thought we would leave Metro Detroit. I love this area, my wife loves this area, our family is all here and Project311 exists to partner with and love Metro Detroit youth pastors. But, Willow (Scott Rubin, Jr. High Director) approached us back in late April and asked us if we would be interested in talking and our first thought was...”Well, Willow is not in the Detroit area”. Also, as some of you know, we joined the staff at 2|42 Community Church in Brighton, MI and Project311 was starting to build some steam. With all that being said, we, we told Willow that we would at least pray about it.

We prayed about it as a family and I was amazed when my wife told me that she had a complete and unexplainable peace about the possibility. I never thought that would happen, but it became clear to us that this was God preparing our hearts for a move. It was extremely tough resigning from 2|42 after only a few months, but I knew they deserved someone called to serve there and I knew I was not the right person. Please be praying for them as they search for a new youth director. 2|42 is a great church and they have a great team. Project311 also weighed heavily on my heart because we love this area and our dream is to see youth workers cared for, encouraged and loved. But again, God worked that out because Willow is allowing me to be still be a part of Project311 and we are praying about some possible exciting partnership opportunities.

So, we met with our trusted advisors and finished up the interviews and they officially offered us the job. It’s tough to convey what a hard decision this has been and they’ve been and we haven’t taken any of them lightly. I love being a part of the Metro Detroit community and I have enjoyed getting to know many of you.

Would you pray for us? I have a hard time asking for prayer, but this has been the toughest year of our lives for a variety of reasons. It really started a year ago when we found out that our first event, Blitzfest, fell $50,000 of covering our expenses. And then not having a steady paycheck for 10 months, while trying to raise support, we have had the biggest financial pressure we have ever had. Through it all, God has been so faithful and He has sent so many wonderful people in our lives to help us. So, moving is more than just packing for us. It is asking God to provide some miracles so we can move. This is also extremely interesting because with my travel schedule, I am home only 7 days and then I travel most of the next month. We have so much to do, it makes my head spin, but again, the peace that God has given us is incredible. So, thank you for praying for us. If you would like specifics to pray about it, please email and I will get you them. Also, if anybody wants to hook a brother up by helping a family move, let me know.

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Even though we are moving to Chicago, Project311 will not end and will not stop at reaching our goals of encouraging youth pastors and seeing our area united together to reach students. But, because of this transition, it is imperative for Project311 to find some like minded people to help with this transisition.

Round FOUR

A new day for Project311, yes. It will be new because I will not be in the area and that is exciting to me. I have known for awhile that Project311 was becoming a one man show and I believe this will help us to NOT be a one man show. So, we are going to start looking for some folks who are passionate about seeing youth workers encouraged and connected and see if they would like to be a part of the Project311 team. If you have any interest at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Jason@project311.com. We don’t have the resources to pay you, but if you’re still interested and have a spare hour or two a week, I would love to talk with you.

Sorry this email is forever long, but I wanted to let you know what’s going on with Project311. Thank you to many of you who have already read this information on my blog and have already emailed, your encouragement has been much appreciated.

Please know you are being prayed for,


Jason

PS...Very soon our newest blog, www.project311news.blogspot.com, will be up and running with news from our Project311 “Summer of Love” tour.

1 comment:

PA said...

Is it OK if I'm just sad that you are leaving? It pains me to see talent leave the area.

Don't get me wrong... there is no higher calling than for a disciple of Christ to follow His masters voice... but I'm a bit bummed out.

As for 311... I've got nothing to offer my friend.