Matt and Misty Jones are excited about an upcoming youth event at the Family Worship Center. They have been at the Family Worship Center for four years, serving as youth pastors for past 2 1/2 years.
Meet Matt and Misty Jones, a very nice young couple dedicated in their calling to work with youth.
Matt & Misty
“We actually grew up in Vandalia,” Matt said. “My parents are Kay and Bruce Jones, and 'Cotton' Wehrle is my grandpa. We left here when I was a sophomore in high school. I went all over the place and came back to work in this church."
… And the Family Jones
The Jones family includes Matt and Misty; two sons, a sophomore and an eighth-grader; and a daughter, who is in the second grade.
What inspired him to be a youth director/pastor? “I don’t know,” Matt said.
“That just seems to be our calling. It’s my third time to be a youth pastor, and my wife’s second time, so we have been in it for more than 12 years.
“I just like helping young people and working with young people,” he said. “It’s different now; the times have changed since 1995, when we first started in Troy. We were there for eight years, and now we have been here, as youth pastors, for 2½ years.
“I served as pastor in New York for a year, when I first graduated from Bible College,” he said. “It’s funny – you find there are similar kids in each group, but yet they all are different individuals.”
Being in Troy for eight years, he saw the kids growing up … and leaving.
“It’s kind of a sad day to see a lot of them go, but you get new kids coming in, with new challenges. You get to repeat things that you did before that the other kids have already done. It has its good points and bad points.
Realizing Their Goal – A Youth Convention in Vandalia
“About four years ago, we wanted to do a youth convention, or something, to try to get the youth off the streets and on fire, so we started what we call ‘Fusion.’ It is two days full of fun, loud music, bright lights, smoke (which is the appearance of theatre or drama smoke rising through the lights), just a fun weekend,” Matt said.
“Last year and this year, we rented the YMCA to play dodgeball, etc. We have speakers come in who are geared toward young people. Our dramas are geared toward kids.
“The music, I hate to say, has passed me now and its too loud for me, but it’s what the kids like. We have give-aways. Last year ,we gave away a Kindle Fire, and this year we are going to give away a Kindle Fire and gift cards.”
“We have $500 worth of gift cards to give away,” Misty added.
“The name stems from the fact that we wanted to fuse together Christians from other denominations, just to get together, love the Lord, grow a little deeper and let the youth know that they are not alone.,” Misty said.
“Even if they come from a small youth group of interesting people, when they come to Fusion, they meet 200 or more, serving God, then they can go back to their churches, on fire for God and make it another year, and perhaps win other people. And that is the idea behind it,” she continued.
“Last year, we had kids from Crown Point Church, Bethel Baptist, several fromseveral churches such as Herrin, Liberty Christian from the Sefton area, from Bloomington and Indiana. But we aren’t pulling in the local kids, like from Vandalia, as we would like,” Matt said.
“What I want people to know is that we are not trying to steal their kids (from their churches). We just want to help the kids and send them back on fire, because Family Worship Center isn’t big enough to house everyone in Vandalia. But what we need to do is work together to win Vandalia.”
“Fayette County has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state of Illinois, and drugs,” he said. “We have to offer our kids something exciting, because the world is definitely offering them something to entice them.
“We are just trying to make this (Fusion) not only something fun, but something deep, so they can reach out so they can reach out and touch their spirit, to encourage, that they can live for God and it can be fun. It doesn’t have to be ‘You can’t do this’ and ‘You can’t do that,’ but if you make the right decisions, you can live for God,” he said.
A Little “Growing” History
Matt grew up in the Pentecostal Church on Gallatin Street in Vandalia, and Rev. Lucas was his pastor. “There was something always in my heart that was pulling me back to this area,” he said.
Misty is from Troy, and she and Matt worked for 17 years there in her grandfather’s church, which he started.
“We did everything from cleaning toilets to preaching and teaching; we did it all,” Matt said.
“But this is what we love to do, working with the youth,” Matt said. “God opened the door for us to join the missions field this last year and go on mission trips.
“But we really just want to get the word out there that this is for the young people of Vandalia, to get some strength and some fun. There is a $25 fee and for that $25.00, they get a T-shirt, three meals, plus a day at the YMCA, and we will have services on Friday night and on Saturday morning and evening. And there will be chances to win the give-aways.
“This is where I grew up and I see people now that their kids play football with my kids, I want to see Vandalia touched,” Matt said. “Used to be, we would have to go to my church. Well, I just want God to touch them wherever they are.
“Last year, 12 kids from Crown Point Church came, and all 12 of them were touched and all twelve got baptized. I want people to understand that we’re not trying to steal their kids. We want to help their kids and I want them to help my kids.
“Last year, Bethel Baptist had a youth weekend and we took out kids out there, because we want our kids to understand that there are other kids they go to school with who are trying to do the same thing they are.
“This is our heritage, it’s all we know. I grew up sleeping under the pews,” Matt said. “We went to Sunday school every week, and it’s not a bad life.
“Some people who don’t know, or ever go to church, sometimes think it’s so bad that we are so bound up. No, we have liberty and freedom. And we get to go to heaven, that is awesome. It is a whole lot better than the alternative.”
When & Where & What
Fusion for the youth will be held Friday evening, Oct. 25, and Saturday morning, Oct. 26, at Family Worship Youth Center, located at 1803 Janette Drive. Registration will start at 6 p.m on Friday and the service will start at 8 p.m.
Pre-registration is appreciated because they will have to order the T-shirts and know how much food will be needed. Registration forms are available online at www.fwc-vandalia.com.
The registration form may be printed off and mailed in, or call Matt Jones, 977-9485, for more information. Flyers with information will be on Facebook and around town.
Any age is welcome to attend, but they try to keep the ages at 12-20 years old, and Matt warns older folks that the music will be loud Focus will be on ages 12-20 for the give-away gifts.