Interview with Bro. Jim Carey
What have you learned from other places or ministries that you have applied in this ministry?
I am always learning. I am an amalgamation of all that I have learned at my home church, at North Valley, from Pastor Trieber, from the countless others with whom I have worked through the years, and at the scores of other churches I have visited. I am not a self-made man. I am a very good moocher.
Looking back, can you see instances or times in your life that would lead you to believe that God was preparing you for the ministry you have now?
The Lord truly blessed me with a solid preparation by showing me early how to work with young people. I had the privilege to grow up in a wonderful church with a great youth group. At age sixteen, I worked for the local park district; my responsibilities included working with junior-age children at day camps.
As a freshman and sophomore in Bible college, I was trained by Charles Homsher of Neighborhood Bible Time and spent two summers leading vacation Bible schools around the country. During the school year, on the weekends, I worked for local pastors who, in turn, had me work with their young people.
Training also occurred inside the classroom. As a senior in Bible college, I enrolled in Survey of Missions, a class in which I was required to complete a detailed survey of a mission field. I chose America’s youth. As I researched the needs, I became convinced that the most valuable way to invest my life was in the young people of this country.
The Lord led me to North Valley years later. Pastor praised and encouraged me when I did something right; he helped minimize and correct the damage when I made mistakes. He patiently worked with me, and we grew together as God prepared me for my ministry today. I am still learning, and God is still blessing.
What is the most memorable experience you’ve had thus far working in Junior Church?
There are many!
- The first Soul-Winning Factory
- When God held back the rain on Sunday mornings for over a year so that we could hold Sunday school outside (we didn’t have enough space inside)
- Montague School Auditorium
- All the Sunday school classes on buses parked in a circle
- Our early puppets with Rich McDonnell and Pedro
- When God kept the SAE building for us (now the site of NVBC and GSBC) because we didn’t have another place to go
- When God heard the prayers of our children to give us our present facilities
- Saturday Bible Clubs (some of the youth group teenagers were our workers)
- The Big Days when we preached to over 500 children with hundreds saved and over 50 baptized
- Watching my workers serve the Lord in other areas (i.e., usher, work on the buses, play the piano, teach their own classes, etc.)
- Watching young people in junior church grow up to serve God and remain faithful to Him (some are teachers, preachers, etc.)
- Watching migrant children from China and other countries leave this country, never to return, but taking Jesus with them.
What is the purpose of Junior Church?
- To evangelize the children
- To fulfill the Great Commission
- To teach sound doctrine
- To prepare the children to enjoy “Big Church”
- To teach my workers to love the children
What is your ultimate goal for these young people?
To teach the children to love God and to love this church
What happens after your students are past the junior age?
Junior High is the #1 drop-out time for young people. I try to check on them in their new classes and encourage their new teachers. Many of them grow up in the church—I sit with one of them every Sunday night—while some move away and grow up with God. Some fall by the wayside; some come back as the Prodigal Son later in life. All are welcomed back here.
With so many young people “transitioning” to other ministries from your program or perhaps moving away, how do you keep yourself encouraged and motivated?
I am a bit of a farmer. I plant some seeds every Sunday. I can’t wait to see them sprout and grow over time. Some don’t grow; some grow a little; some grow into giants that sprout their own seeds. It doesn’t all blossom overnight; but if you stay around a while, you can see the growth. I keep coming back to the fields to see what is growing up this week. How can you help but stay motivated when you see the fruit and you know there is more coming?
What are some of your thoughts on today’s typical pre-teen? What do you think he or she needs the most?
They perhaps need most just an earthly example of the Heavenly Father.
Has working with young people affected your life?
Six days a week for over thirty years I’ve tried to train young people to love God and to do right. It is my life.
On an average Sunday, what does your cue card look like?
Songs: 20 minutes
Preaching: 20 minutes
Invitation: 5 minutes
Review Game: 15 minutes
Songs: 10 minutes
Play (special treat): 10 minutes
What do you do to prepare yourself for your class?
Have personal devotions and pray–to develop my heart
Read good material from others who teach– to develop my lessons
Read books for teachers–to develop better methods
Hear good preaching at my church–to keep my heart tender
Listen to godly music– to keep my heart motivated and tender
Fellowship with other workers–to stay motivated
How do you decide what to preach about each week?
I honestly try to be sensitive to God’s leading and the needs of my children. I do try to give my students a balanced diet, and I try to preach through the Bible at least once every eighteen months.
What needs do you presently have in your ministry?
I suppose one of the more urgent needs is to have good workers who love the Lord and their students and possess the God-given wisdom to help meet spiritual needs.