Jake Fry Lead Pastor of Student Ministry
In the fall of 2017, Wheaton Bible Church welcomed a new Director of Student Ministries, Jake Fry, to lead our staff and ministries to junior high and high school students. We posed a few questions about his background and plans—including a few items that didn’t get covered in the interview process!
Jake, as you step into this new role, what most excites you about this new opportunity—both for yourself and our students?
I’m already super excited for our students, because they’re being pastored by Chad Lowe and Abby Garnett, two phenomenal leaders. If you don’t know who they are, you should meet the two of them because they are awesome. I’m also excited about the direction of our programs as we provide opportunities for students to connect in authentic, fun, and deeply Jesus-centered community. Personally, I am excited for the opportunity to lead this incredible team and build experiences for our students that allow them to have a personal encounter with Jesus. This is just a great season to be a part of.
Tell us a little about your own faith journey?
I grew up in a Christian home and was very active in my home church growing up. This was back in the 80s and 90s when churches had potluck dinners on Wednesdays, kids’ choir and Christmas plays (both of which I was involved in). In high school I was super active in my youth group, was a student leader in the worship band, went on mission trips and even attended SEMP at Wheaton College (anyone remember that?). But I had a pretty significant faith moment when I was 19 years old when I realized that because of the sacrifice of Jesus, He wasn’t merely the Savior of my life, but the Lord of it as well. This realization hit me as I was standing beside the Jordan River in Israel when I was in college. I knew in that moment that we as believers in Jesus are called to the ministry of reconciliation.
When did you first know you had a special heart for young people?
I feel like I’ve always had a heart for students. I was a student leader in my own youth ministry when I was in high school and I’ve been involved in student ministry in one way or another ever since—including my most recent role at Elmbrook Church in Wisconsin.
When you're not with students at church—what else might we find you doing?
You’ll find me hanging out with my family. I might be skateboarding alongside my youngest daughter, Lacey, as she rides her bike or perhaps helping my oldest daughter, Jocelyn, practice her gymnastics moves. A perfect day for me would involve paddle boarding with my wife Dana, or hiking, or a day at the beach. Dana would likely be taking pictures of all of these moments. That is if she’s not on Pinterest devising our far distant future lived in a tiny home somewhere in Northern California.
What are you hoping to see come about in the months and years to come?
My prayer for our Wheaton Bible Church student ministry is that more and more students would know God, grow together, and reach their world. Okay, two things. First, it may seem trite to use the mission statement to answer this question, but I honestly believe in it. Second, I changed the words “the world” to “their world” in regard to students (I hope I have permission to do that!), because I believe that students have the opportunity to live missionally to completely change their school, their friends, their teams, and their world.
What are three things about you that people probably don't know?
Three things that people probably don’t know about me, huh? Okay. #1: Cockroaches freak me out. #2: I would eat a burrito for literally every meal if I could and I don’t see anything wrong with that. #3: I cried when the Cubs won the World Series. But not the ugly man cry (I don’t think). I’m pretty sure it was one of those super-macho solitary tears.
If you’d like to know more about Jake, have questions, or have words of encouragement to offer him about his new role in our Student Ministry area, you can find him in the Warehouse on the lower level on Sunday mornings, or he invites you to send him email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org