my wife is jeannie. i dig her.
but today i’m posting about another jeanne i’m stoked about: jeanne stevens.
i first met jeanne when she was in 8th grade, and i was the junior high pastor at first baptist church in wheaton. she came to our group with friends, and quickly became a regular. she was a wonderfully fiesty kid — i used to call her ‘jean, jean, the dancing machine’ (a very old reference to the gong show — c’mon, some of you are the right age to remember this!). in high school, jeanne really connected with god and became a leader in the high school ministry. but i lost touch with her.
fast forward to three or four years ago, when our emergent convention planning team really wanted to add a sharp female leader, and doug pagitt suggested jeanne, telling me she used to be in my youth group. it took me a bit to remember who she was (last name change due to marriage and all). jeanne joined our planning team, and for the last two years of that sweet event, became part of our little family. at that time, jeanne was the youth pastor for the willow creek regional churches. i met many of her staff, and got to see through them (and her involvement on the planning team) what an amazing leader she is. jeanne is one of those leaders who is a fantastic leader whatever her gender, and yet is wonderfully feminine also. she’s a strong woman without an axe to grind; relentless in her belief that god has gifted her and called her to lead. she’s insightful, a great communicator, a stellar strategist, and a darn good friend.
jeanne and her husband jarrett just moved to atlanta, where jarrett has joined the staff of northpointe community church, as the leader of 722, the young adult group that louie giglio used to lead.
why am i gushing about jeanne?
because as of a couple weeks ago, a long-term goal of mine has been realized: jeanne is now on staff with youth specialties. her title is something like ‘ministry development architect’ (or something ron martoia-ish like that), but she’ll basically have four official roles for now:
– moving into leadership of the CORE (our one-day training seminar for youth workers), over the next year or two
– helping to give leadership at national youth workers conventions (she’ll be the third mc, will give input to seminars, and other stuff)
– provide leadership to our ‘women in youth ministry’ initiative (this is critical, because we’re committed to expanding what this could be; but it’s also critical to realize that jeanne’s role is not limited to ‘women’s ministry’)
– develop a one-day training event for girls (we’re all pretty stoked about this)
with karla yaconelli moving into a less-involved role around here, i was concerned about our leadership team tilting toward male dominance, a situation that wasn’t acceptable to me, and not healthy for ys. i could not be more convinced that jeanne will be a significant voice into ys, and out of ys into the youth ministry world, for many years to come!
in the oft-quoted voice of mike yaconelli: WOO-HOO!
7 thoughts on “why i’m stoked about another jeanne”
That is really cool. Jarrett and Jeanne came and spoke on our high school retreats two or three years and two things really impressed me about them. First, both of them are such extraordinary communicators and I’m sure that ability comes from a whole realm of experience, learning and wisdom. Secondly, they had such a concern to understanding our ministry context and making sure that their topics and were in touch with us. Great to see God is continuing to use them in some really cool mediums!
this nis just so smart, so great & such a statement of the vital importance of women in the core of ministry
woo-hoo indeed !
We are stoked as well. I have really appreciated Jeanne as well and am happy to see YS being attentive to the need to encourage and strengthen the wonderful women God is raising up for ministry!
I am a female youth pastor in Canada and have been shaped by many things Youth Specialites. THANK YOU for caring about the women of this youth ministry world and for bringing someone like Jeanne into the hub.
Very Cool Marko — I have had the privlege of crossing paths w/Jeanne when she was in the Chicago area — She is a truly gifted leader! What a great move to the present and future of YS.
How great Marko! I got to room with Jeanne in Reno for the CORE premiere and I think she’s fabulous. So glad to hear that she’s becoming even more actively involved with YS moving forward in it’s training efforts.
Jeanne’s the best, & I couldn’t think of anyone better for YS to hire on this planet. You will be crazy blessed by her. I would only echo your affirmations of her, Marko, but raise you quite a bit. She’s the real deal & I’m so excited she gets to minister to the YS world.