It’s not a collection of fruit preserves or a series of traffic snarls that attracts kids to church. It’s all about the music.
After School JAMS (Jesus And Music Service) is a ministry of Salem United Methodist Church in Van Horne. Children from the elementary school next door come to the church on Wednesdays after school for singing and dancing to hymns and popular Christian music.
The idea came from a discussion during a prayer group meeting, when some women were expressing concern that kids didn’t know Christmas carols. JAMS was born to teach the hymns to the children. They eat a snack when they first arrive at the church followed by some music time.
In recent years, they have added time for service projects. The children have tied fleece blankets for persons who are ill and made cookies for persons who are shut in during the winter months, among other examples. Stacie Gorkow explained that they “want to show kids that Jesus loves each one of them and that they need to share that love with others.”
A Matthew 25 grant from the East Central District, which is made possible with apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches throughout the state of Iowa, has helped to support the After School JAMS.