Meet Ashton. He’s not even 13 yet, but he’s on a mission. Ashton loves Jesus with all his heart. His parents consistently show him the love of Jesus, and teach him to actively love others. Ashton’s family is active in their church and community, serving as a family in Convoy of Hope, Kid’s Against Hunger, Love Your City Outreaches and more.

But this young man is not content with helping and serving his community one in awhile. He has a passion to rally other young people to make a difference! He is bursting with creative ideas- and HE’S NOT about to wait until he’s 18 to get started!

I met Ashton several years ago when I was children’s pastor at his church in Dayton, Ohio. We started a special segment in kid’s church called, “Ask Ashton” that became quite a hit. “Ask Ashton” would feature young Ashton on video, as our “reporter on the street” answering questions that the kids sent in, using Bible verses- especially our verse of the day.

These days, Ashton has stepped out even further in his love for Jesus and for his community. Ashton had the idea to start his own outreach team- AC Projects- with its own website, to rally young people in his area to do service projects, helping those in need in his community. When I visited Dayton last June, he was already meeting with groups of children in his area brainstorming projects and needs they could meet. This is the mission statement they came up with:

AC Projects NEXT is about helping homeless and elderly people with their every day chores. Like Mowing, Planting , or anything like that. We have teams all over huber AC Projects the date that we are starting is on our home page. Life could be great if only our world was more colorfun pleaseĀ help out AC NEXT!

But his vision is far bigger even than that. Someday Ashton dreams about coordinating groups of kids in many locations, all reaching out to serve their communities with the love of Jesus.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and forbid them not.” I believe this includes showing them how to reach out beyond our church walls. This means letting them use their God given creativity. This means teaching them, and letting them lead. There is a lot of debate right now as to how to retain more of our kids in our churches after 6th grade, 12 grade and beyond. As you probably know, too many churches experience a massive dropoff and dropout of kids as soon as they leave kid’s church. To me, one of the biggest reasons that kids choose to STAY in church in that they are INVOLVED. It isn’t just their families church anymore. It’s THEIR church. They are needed and engaged in teaching, serving others.

So Ashton, I’m so proud of you. God has such great things in store for you in the future. Keep using your gifts and passion for Jesus! Go Ashton!

Wanna check out what Ashton has been up to? Check out his website- today and please drop him a line of encouragement and prayer for the ministry he is doing at such a young age.

Love Pastor Trisha