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“Sign Me Up!”

Rosedale International (RI) is excited to introduce the newest member of our team—Jared, Director of Short-Term Programs. Jared spent fourteen years in leadership at Sharon Mennonite Church in Plain City, Ohio. These years of pastoral care solidified his passion to ignite young adults for Jesus and equipped him to lead the staff Short-Term Programs (STP) to facilitate REACH and City Challenge, and disciple the programs’ many participants.

Jared’s journey to RI began in his senior year of high school, when he found himself attending church for the first time at the invitation of his girlfriend Sarah. “You know, you hear these stories about segments of our world not hearing the name Jesus. That was me for most of my life.”

Despite his dubious motivations for attending church, Jared’s faith soon became his own. At the age of nineteen, he attended his first Mennonite Church USA Conference, where he heard theologian Mike Yaconelli speak. “Hearing this older man describe life with Jesus like a roller coaster was incredibly formational for me. It clicked—it made sense to me. I think that’s very indicative of what Jesus does in our lives; He’ll find something you relate to and make the story come alive.”

“I can explain it no other way than an act of God.”

Jared and Sarah married in 2005, and became youth sponsors at Sharon Mennonite shortly thereafter. In 2009, Jared officially stepped into the role of youth pastor, where he served for the next ten years. In 2019, he answered the call to become Sharon’s lead pastor.

When asked how he ended up at RI after many good years at Sharon, he responded, “I can explain it no other way than an act of God! I took a sabbatical in 2021, and leading into that, Sarah and I started to feel a stirring to something different, something new. I think we both explained it away as tiredness—we’d just come through COVID-19.” When they returned from sabbatical, they felt refreshed. “We were invigorated and had a path, a vision for where we could go.”

In March, Jared and Sarah had dinner with Preston and Liz Yoder from Shiloh Mennonite Church. “Preston started talking about a job, this job. I thought, that sounds pretty amazing!” Within two weeks, Jared had conversations with Caleb, Rosedale Network Church Planting Catalyst, and Kevin, RI Mediterranean Regional Director—both of whom mentioned the job and encouraged him to consider it. “It was God’s stirring in it; it was hard to not pay attention.”

Jared’s excitement about this role is evident. “I love students. I love missions. To see how God strips down all of our inhibitions, all of our fears, and begins to develop a community that will go and be the hands and feet of Jesus all over the world—sign me up. Sign me up!”

In the short time he’s spent at the RIC, Jared has developed close relationships with STP staff and REACH participants. This bond was evident as he spoke at REACH Commissioning. “I was here on the Saturday [the REACHers] arrived. They were nervous, and they were anxious. But when I came back on Sunday morning, they’d already begun to become family. Hearing the conversations around the tables, seeing the discipleship taking place, the relationships that have developed in a short period of time is motivating. Watching each student come to the realization of God’s love for them has been so impactful. There’s no denying God’s Spirit in this place.”

“Watching each student come to the realization of God’s love for them has been so impactful.”

As he continues to settle into his role, Jared looks forward to “developing relationships with [Rosedale Network] churches, students, and youth leaders as they seek the best way to serve Jesus—doing my best to align them with the best service opportunity within RI, whether it be City Challenge for a week, REACH for nine months, or internship for a year. If a student or young adult is looking for somewhere to be refined, gain a better understanding of who Jesus is, what he’s truly asking us to do, and how we’re asked to live, then [I invite them to] come be challenged. Come experience the refiner’s fire. Be pushed. Develop relationships. Learn to know people at a very intimate level. And come serve Jesus.

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