Jason with his wife, Angie, and their children, Dijae, Jadae and Jason Jr.

Photo credit: D’ziah Coddington

July 11, 2019

Lake Region Youth director departs for Oakwood University Church

Jason North, who also serves as pastor of the Highland Avenue Church in Benton Harbor, is departing to assume the role of associate pastor of the Oakwood University Church, effective Aug. 1. 

Over the last five years, North has successfully led several initiatives, including revitalizing the summer camp ministry and starting a young adult ministry, which included the first Lake Region public campus ministry group. 

Other accomplishments during his tenure include: raising funds and installing permanent basketball systems at Camp Wagner, providing $500 in matching funds to local churches for outreach and evangelism, and spearheading the Lake Union’s Global Youth Day efforts each year.

North, who grew up in Berrien Springs, Mich., and has worked throughout the Lake Union as a teacher, chaplain and pastor, said he appreciates the encouragement he’s received, most notably from his parents, wife and children. “God has showed up during my ministry by allowing my family to be with me each step of the way,” he said. “They were on my staff/team at events and kept me encouraged when I wanted to quit.” 

Lake Union Youth director Ron Whitehead said that North’s contribution to youth ministry in the Lake Union cannot be underestimated. “He is an outstanding youth professional who knows how to lead and or support youth leaders at the local church,” he said. “Jason, with the Holy Spirit, can see what needs to be put in place before others see a ministry need. He is a person who empowers others. He passes out title and authority to others to lead ministry.” 

One of the youth, North empowered was Jae’Bel Middleton, who along with her sister Jae’Ona’ spearheaded a Lake Region youth council. Jae’Bel said North was encouraging and that “his love for working with youth and young adults extended opportunities that we did not have previously.” She continued, “It was nice developing  a personal relationship with Pastor North and his wife, a relationship that allowed you to be yourself where you could laugh and joke with them.”

Family is very important to North and is one of the reasons for this change. “God has opened a door for my family and me to go to a place where we can be stable, week in and week out. Being a youth director means you don’t have a home church really, and we have missed that. I’m also able to specialize in a local church context, which is rare, and be a part of a team of pastors at the Oakwood University Church under the leadership of Dr. Carlton Byrd.” 

North says he’s been grateful for the support he enjoyed over the years and will greatly miss many, including his intergenerational summer camp staff who grew with him over the years and who participated with the Holy Spirit in bringing more than 250 people to the point of making decisions for Christ and resulted in 40-plus baptisms (17 in one summer!).

“I just want to thank everyone who has been encouraging me on this journey. There are too many to mention, but this part of the country is my home and many have played key roles at different phases of my life. I love each one for it. Let’s continue to nurture, equip and deploy our youth for Christ, like so many did for me.”