Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hometown Visit!

I am finally making my way back to Michigan for a week (I have an early flight tomorrow!). It's been TOO LONG (since December just before New Year's!).

Looking forward to catching up with a few people and enjoying the lake.

Time with family is my first priority, but if you want to get together, TEXT ME!

I have a wedding I am in, which is most of Thursday-Saturday, so beginning of the week is best for me!

Because SL has Impact Sunday, I am going to church with my dad at Overflow.

Hope to see you! If I don't see you this time, maybe next time around Christmas! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Protege Made Me....


Here's my TEDTalk video from 8/5.

There have been so many experiences this past year that have shaped who I have become. I am not the same person I was a year ago (thank God).

Today I had my exit interview with Heather and Emily, the two who have been over the protege program. It went well and I was able to share the impact this year has had on me. Likewise, it was really encouraging to hear them say what they have witnessed in my life this past year.

My challenge to you is: When was the last time you were uncomfortable?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

We are coming to the End!

I'm two weeks away from the end of my protege year. It seems so unreal. As I talk to the girl who will be the next Events Protege, I am overcome with the same emotions I had when it was the beginning: nervousness about details and how it will all work out!

A few things to wrap up (although I hope to post in the next two weeks).

~ If you are contributing financially for the month of August, I will receive the money on August 29th. I'm not sure of the cutoff date, but it'd be nice to get it in by Aug 22nd to the office just to be sure! There are no words for how much you have blessed me this past year in supporting me. I could not be in DC without you. Thankful for each of you.

~ I am job hunting. I got accepted into the C. S. Lewis Institute (basically reading a bunch of books, attending lectures, and discussing life in a small group for a year), so I would really love to stay in DC. I had an interview on Friday with Americorps, a position tutoring kids in literacy. I have an interview on Monday with a job agency called Careers in Nonprofits. I am still applying to jobs in the area, so please keep me in prayer as I navigate that. Wisdom is needed.

~ I gave my last TEDTalk on Tuesday. I haven't posted it to Youtube yet. I was having an awful day (less than three weeks from the end of our program and I still don't have a job... just a little discouraged). I WILL post it soon!

Thanks for all the support this year. It has been a wild ride, and I'm looking forward to what God has for me next!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

June + July

My protege year is quickly coming to a close.

I am job hunting now. Hoping to find something with middle school kids (whether that ends up being working a normal job + mentoring of some sort outside of work or if it means getting a paycheck while working with middle school kids, I'm not sure right now). I am applying to everything under the sun that interests me -- working in schools, coffeehouses with event planning, and student ministry positions.

I'm not set on living in DC. I plan to live here until God makes it clear that it is time to move.

Part of the beauty of my mission trip to Northern Ireland was that it was basically serving a week long VBS with kids. I LOVED IT! It was tiresome + required a lot of (dancing) energy, but it was so great to come to church the second Sunday we were there and be able to hang out with my four year old friend, Tilly, for half an hour while everyone ate lunch/shopped. There's something so sweet about that age.

So much excitement! 

I would appreciate your prayers as I navigate what to do next. Still blown away that my year with NCC is almost done. I met with the girl who is the next events protege and she had similar questions to where I was a year ago: Where will I live? How will this fundraising thing work out? What exactly do you do as the events protege?

God is good. He is faithful.

Thank you for supporting me on this crazy adventure in the Nation's Capitol. I cannot be here without you.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Beautiful You 2014

At the end of May, I attended a women's conference with 1400 women from around the DC area. 
It was a reminder to me that the Body of Christ is really beautiful.... and I'm thankful for the other half (MEN!). :)

But there's a power to get women together in unity... and that is what happened at BY14. 

I got to hang out with my roommate, Allie. Yea lunch on a park bench on a nice day!

  • Beautiful: the quality present that is evident when one understands their purpose.
  • Priscilla Shirer. Dang. This woman. She can SPEAK TRUTH. Love her passion... and the fact that she is a mom to three boys. She's living my dream! 
  • In the process of healing, you'll still have issues. ~Donna Pisani
  • Christine Caine. I have heard her name so many times... in connection with anti-human trafficking/A21 Campaign. I was able to experience her as a speaker... What a fireball of passion! 
  • Every time you are about to have a breakthrough, there will be a spirit of fear that will try to stop/immobilize you. ~Christine Caine
  • The people who do what God wants are not fearless; they are just faithful. ~Christine Caine
  • What a tragedy it would be if the Enemy realizes our potential more than we know it. ~Priscilla Shirer
  • We need to switch off our technology and fill ourselves with God. ~Christine Caine
You can listen to Donna + Christine's messages here. Seriously good stuff! Make time for it! 

Friday, May 23, 2014


Over the past nine months, I have heard a lot of music. It's never anyone I've heard of before, but there are some great artists that I've heard. Just wanted to share a few! FYI: Not all of these are Christian artists in case that's what you were expecting.
Local DC artists:
I saw Andy Suzuki and the Method at Jammin' Java, a local venue in VA. Their openers were Rachel and Don, Dave and Zia as a trio. One of the best concerts ever! So fun!

There are more, but just wanted to give you a sample of who I have been working with this year! Love them all!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I love life!

I'm not the same person I was a year ago (but who is, right?).
I've lived (survived?! thrived?!) in a big city for the past nine months.

I'm just a small town girl... on a journey (haha... see what I did there?).

Tonight I spent a few hours working on my resume. Luckily, I have friends who will double check to make sure I don't sound like an idiot on paper. I plan to apply anywhere and everywhere for positions in event management, student ministry, or administrative work in a non-profit, school, or church setting. If anyone has connections in any of these areas, please let me know.

I'm amazed that at this time last year, I had no idea I would be in DC. I had no idea that I could love a job as much as I do my current position.

The variety of people I get to interact with is awesome. Today at a rental I was working, I saw a powerful politician in person. It never ceases to amaze me that God brought to DC. I don't know what the future holds at the end of August when my protege year is done, but I DO know that God has blessed me immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine this year (hmm... sounds familiar).

I don't think I say it enough, but THANK YOU for all the prayers, packages, financial support, and encouragement throughout this year.

Prayer requests:

  • I am going to N. Ireland this June! So soon! Please pray for me as I brush up on some C.S. Lewis reading (who was from Belfast), prepare to embark on a journey with team members (most of whom I don't know well), and support raising
  • My resume will get in the right hands at the right time for the right position.
  • Continuing relationships with local artists. There are some talented people here in DC. There's a core group I have gotten to know and hope to get to know better.
  • Street Team Summer Small Group. For the past nine months I have led the Ebenezers Street team (basically people who help with promotion + hospitality to artists by hosting concerts). It's been a struggle to meet consistently, but I am leading a summer small group with hopes that we can gain a few more people. Right now my core group consists of four people. 
Thanks! Let me know how I can pray for you!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Brief Update

I continue to build relationships with musicians in the area. It's amazing what months of conversation can do. Small successes + conversations = big successes.

We had some out of town musicians come recently.

If you have a chance to see The Gray Havens, I highly recommend them! They're based in Chicago, so it should be doable for most of my friends/family in MI. I told them to contact Storyline Church, so if you connect with them, that'd be awesome! They are a husband and wife duo, and I feel like they fit SL culture.

Brad Cole was another person who came from Chicago area and he'll be in South Haven in June if you want to see him!

My weekly rental continues to be a highlight of my week. I love being a consistent presence and I'm starting to know some of the regular attenders and our caterers. One of my favorite caterers, Will, recently hurt his back. Please pray for him.

I begin PT in June for my knee. Looking forward to being done with all this medical stuff.

I went to the European Union Embassy Open House this weekend. I just uploaded a bunch of pics to Facebook. I had REAL Italian pizza + that made me really happy! I loved meeting new people + actually recognizing a few people along the way (an NCC co-worker and one of my small group leaders from the fall)! This is Gail, a girl at the British Embassy, who was really nice. She was promoting Wales + gave me a mini rugby ball for answering trivia questions. Wales has always been on my bucket list. Although she's actually from Bristol, Gail has spent time in Wales.

Life is good. Continuing the good work in DC and trying to remember to appreciate every moment.

I don't say it enough, but THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT THIS YEAR! I cannot be here without YOU!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Small Groups Revisited

(Photo by Rachel)
L to R: (Front Row) Taylor + Danielle
(Back Row) Becky, Eve, Georgiana, Sam, Denise, Joel, Rachel, Me

In a previous post, I mentioned the two small groups I joined this semester. I decided to stop going to Theology 101 because I was just overwhelmed with the reading and stressed out about it all the time. It was a good group with thought-provoking discussions, but at a staff meeting we were encouraged to take a look at our lives and cut out things that make us too busy for our relationships with God + people.

Storyline, on the other hand, has been so much needed. I feel like we hit another benchmark this past Monday with our group. I just love hearing their stories, how God is at work in their lives now and how everyone in the group is trying to live a better story. 

There is something beautiful that happens when people are vulnerable with each other. I did not know any of these people very well when I joined the group, yet I have shared with them tough life moments that have shaped who I am.

I feel like it's Life Support Group. Isn't that really what small groups are? Support in life.
I am very thankful for this group.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Baptisms in Pictures

(Photo Credit: Adam Mason)

This is what it's all about.
What makes what I am doing in DC important.
I am a part of a church in a powerful city trying to make an impact on the people God has put in our path.
I love this city.
I love what God is doing here.
I LOVE that I get to be a part of it!

Praise GOD!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

That's What It's All About!

No, I'm not talking about the hokey pokey!

This weekend was crazy awesome!

We had a Good Friday service in the Lincoln Theatre in DC. This theatre is historic -- where Ella, Duke, and so many others performed -- and it's where I go to church every Sunday! So cool.

On Saturday we had a community festival at Lincoln Park (why yes, we name things after presidents and you can tell who is popular -- ha.). We had over 2,000 people come out for the event -- so cool to see families together enjoying this FREE event with games, snacks, and a photo booth (where I was -- crazy how many volunteers are needed to keep people in line, let them know the pictures will be on facebook and help the characters in costume take breaks).

Saturday night, though, THAT is what I'm talking about!

37 people made the decision to get baptized. 37! One of those 37 was Kate. She is one of our kids' music artists. She found out about NCC through Ebenezers Coffeehouse. She's been attending one of our locations and joined an Alpha group this past semester. She got baptized on Saturday! I am so proud of her and her decision.

Little by little, we are seeing little moments of celebration. It doesn't happen every day, but this is HUGE! This is a cause for REJOICING IN HEAVEN!

Thank You, Jesus, for pursuing Kate. Cannot wait to see what you are going to do through her story.

(Might post pictures later -- our Internet is being wonky right now and I cannot find them online. No delay for celebrating this moment, though!).

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Remember that time I got hit by a truck?

Well, I now have a story to go along with that question...

I have been cleaning our church office buildings while we were looking for new cleaners to hire... earning a little extra money.

This morning I was making my way to our Barracks Row location to clean before services tonight. I rode my bike and because of my Pennsylvania Avenue scare last week, I checked out bike routes and found one that works well. Pretty straight shot. I was stopped at a red light when it turned green. I started pedaling, but before I knew it, the guy in the truck from the opposite direction ran into me because he was turning left and I was still going straight.

All I remember saying is "HEY" in a this-isn't-fair tone.

Because it was right after a red light, he didn't hit me hard; it was just shocking. He said he didn't see me because of the sun. I fell on my hands and scraped my knee pretty good. I met some very nice police officers. There were tons of witnesses because a metro bus was stopped right in front of us. A man from Columbus who was here in DC on vacation came over to see how I was since he had witnessed it all from the sidewalk. One of our regular homeless friends asked how I was since he was there to witness the whole thing, too.

I am fine. A friend helped me walk home with my bike today. Taking it easy this afternoon and watching the latest Parenthood episode.

Might go to church later for the fact that one of our campus pastors used to be in sports medicine and it'd be good to get an opinion if I need to get things look at in the hospital.

All that to say, God is good. I am happy to be alive. Thank God I shaved my legs! hahaha...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Variety of relationships

A few weeks ago I was walking down the street thinking about life.

That day, I saw a senator, three middle school girls singing along to music on an ipod while bouncing a basketball, and I met some of the guys who work at the Italian restaurant across the street from Ebenezers.

That sums up DC city life. The fact that I can come into contact with so many different people all in the same day.

Two weekends ago, I met with a guy in my small group who does life coaching. It was a very interesting conversation and I'm still processing what that means. We're meeting sometime this weekend to continue the process. It's just great to get a little insight into what God is doing. Two of my passions are middle schoolers and Italians. Amazing that just a few days before meeting with him, I saw those middle school girls and met the guys at the Italian restaurant. So cool.

I am beginning to see little "wins" with people here. It's been eight months since I started here. My weekly rental has been good. I am a consistent presence and I'm beginning to recognize regulars there.

We have a musician who got accepted to film school in Boston. I saw him recently and it sounds like things are great.

Prayer requests:

  • Funding for Northern Ireland trip in June.
  • I'm recruiting people for our street team to help with hosting + promoting concerts.
  • Lent season. NCC is doing the New Testament in 40 days. It has been challenging but also so refreshing! I'm so looking forward to Easter, though!
  • Job search. We met today with the HR Director about refreshing our resumes. I am going to send my resume out to anywhere and everywhere. I'm also trying to enjoy what is in front of me now without worrying too much about the future.
How can I pray for you? Shoot me an email or Facebook message! I'd love to hear from you! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014


A word that brings comfort to so many people...
and yet I have not felt like I have had a home since high school.

Because of the journey I am on and the places I have lived, it is hard to feel like I belong anywhere. Eventually I hope to put down roots somewhere. I am thankful for my experiences in different places, but HOME is a tough word for me.

Since my parents divorced when I was an adult, it makes it even harder because my nuclear family unit is separated. While each of them have a house, I'm not sure I will ever truly feel at home in either place. (I have a great relationship with both my parents + stepparents... there's just something about feeling like you truly belong somewhere that I am in desperate need to experience as I try to create my own home somewhere).

As my own family unit of one now, I am on a search for a place to belong.
It could be DC.
It could be somewhere else.

As I am reading the #LentChallenge through the NT, I read John 10-14. The verse that stuck out was John 14.23: Jesus replied, "All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our HOME with each of them."

As my roommate can tell you, I tend to have a little bit of clutter. I have piles all over my apartment. Organized piles, but piles nonetheless. The same thing happens to my heart. Unnecessary stuff takes up space that doesn't need to be there... It reminded me of a song from high school:

My prayer for Lent is that God will take over and make things clean in my heart. I tend to deal with heart issues a lot more than visible sins.

HOME: A place of comfort where people can be real.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Small Groups

I'm a few weeks into my two small groups: Theology 101 and Storyline. Both make my head hurt for different reasons.

I joined Theology 101 in hopes that my Alpha group from the fall would stay together and have more great conversations. Since the fall, however, we have had two people move to different cities and most of the others joined different small groups.

I have continued going to Theology 101 because I find it intriguing. I have never been one to think through why I believe what I do. It is really great to see different sides and understand where people are coming from when you talk to them. I am not naturally into debates, but we are always asked to pick a side in the discussions. It has definitely been stretching me to think through some common beliefs I have had for years and why I choose to believe what I do.

Storyline is a small group based on Donald Miller's book. It is plotting our own life story timeline and seeing how we can use what we have been through to further the Kingdom of God. It makes me miss my home church in MI (Storyline Church) a lot. The people in the group are sharing their stories -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. I shared mine last week. I still cry. It still hurts even after ten years since most of the hardest events in my life have happened. Our group leader, Joel, does life coaching on the side, so I am hoping to meet up with him at some point before our group is finished to talk through life.

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday. He said "You cannot imagine the amount of people who feel alone in this city. You are NOT ALONE." I share this to let you know that as well. It was comforting for me to hear those words. I am making small steps to try to find friends/community here, but lately I have felt lonely. It is worth the risk. Worth the effort. Worth the fight.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's OK to not be OK

I have a confession: I am not OK.

I am exhausted.
There are several reasons for this exhaustion, but I have hit a wall in my protege year.
I did not believe it when people on staff told me it would happen.

This also happens to be the season of Lent, a time in the Church calendar I am finally observing.
It is hard.

I am doing the #LentChallenge.
I am giving up something in my life that has become an idol.
I am filling that time with a 40 day NT reading plan.

God is truly challenging me in this time period. I think it is a time I will look back on as a preparation for good things. It is just hard for the moment.

Please keep me in prayer.
I need community.
I need God's Word.
I need encouragement.

Just keepin' it real.
Thanks for reading.
Next post will be about the two small groups I am in this semester (which will be happier than this post, but I am truly embracing this sadness/somber time and all that God has to teach me in it)!

Friday, February 28, 2014


This summer, I am going to NORTHERN IRELAND!

Ok, there you have it.
No it's not a job offer.
Yes, it requires MORE fundraising.
But I am so excited and I know God will provide.

You can read more about the trip at NCC's mission site, Aone:eight. This ties in well with what I am gaining from my experiences as a protege. We will be helping a church put on a week long festival in the City of Derry. It will include concerts, which makes me really excited. This trip is also the encouraged youth trip, so I might get to work alongside middle school and high school students as well. There are other teams coming from other churches.

I am hoping my NCC network will be able to provide most of it, but I wanted to offer you the opportunity to be a shareholder in this part of my protege journey.

We are doing fundraisers locally as a mission team.
The total cost is $2400. I'm hoping to raise $24 a day for 100 days.

If I raise more than $2400, it goes into the general mission fund.
That being said, I could also use support in my personal support raising.

For the past six months, support has averaged to around $1000 each month, but they are not at all consistent. This month, I received less than $500 (my half of the rent is $600), which is what I get on a consistent basis. People who give one time gifts offset that cost. God is faithful to provide (even when I struggle to see how it will happen). Please consider giving, whether it is a one time gift or monthly giving for the next six months!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Justice Conference

This weekend I volunteered to work the Justice Conference at Ebenezers. I was there to troubleshoot if we had any sound/lighting difficulties (imagine me, technologically-impaired, running sound/lights!). God works daily miracles. ha.

Speaking of miracles, I witnessed one this weekend. Our Internet at the coffeehouse was slow and not working correctly Friday night, the start of the conference. We were live streaming the conference on our screens, so Internet was vital. Our production guys were working right up until people came. The Internet worked and I am claiming that miracle! Thank you, Jesus!

So much good content at The Justice Conference. A lot of the speakers were from DC.

My favorite speaker was talking about justice in the education system. Her name was Nicole Fulgham, a Michigan native living in DC (she went to UofM -- GO BLUE!). She spoke about The Expectations Project. She taught in Compton and talked about the difference in education for her students compared to those in Beverly Hills. It's a matter of awareness, funding, parent involvement, community involvement, and just an overall interest in setting kids up for success.

Great weekend. Long day but soooooooooo good.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Good Busy

As an introvert, I'm not ever sure that there's a good side to busyness. Lately I have had a lot to chew on because I have been learning a lot, meeting with new people, and hearing people's stories.

Have had great conversations with

  • a guy who works at a local church as the small group coordinator. I loved hearing his background in ministry, what God is doing through the small groups, and the fact that most people don't think they will like living in DC but end up loving it!
  • Monday night I went to another concert venue to see past performers from Ebz. It was great to touch base with the musicians as well as hang out with a girl from my Freshmen of the City small group.
I decided to get back on Twitter. This is my fourth attempt. @JenniButtonUSA because I'm pretty sure one of my other three attempts was simply jennibutton, but I shut it down. ha. Also there's a South African designer with my name.

February... six months into the protege "program". I really hate calling it a program because really it's just LIFE! I was telling someone earlier that it's less of a program and more networking and placing yourself in a posture of learning. 

Speaking of learning... 
At staff meeting on Tuseday, we talked about the Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. Like the normal 5 languages, the choices are Touch (although that was left off the survey for workplace because it does not score high on anyone's workplace quiz), service, affirmation, quality time, and gifts.

My top two in everything are Quality Time and Words of Affirmation

I also took the Strengthsfinder test again. Mine are Achiever, Learner, Intellection, Input, Discipline. Last time I took it in 2011, I did not get input but rather developer. Interesting that I switched one...

That's the update! You guys are awesome! 
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Normal Work Week

You may be wondering: What do I do on an average week? I can't remember if I've shared my normal work week schedule, but it looks something like this:

Monday: Work on updating shows on our websites, send reminder details to baristas and artists about shows that weekend, send follow up thank you emails to artists who played that weekend.
Tuesday: Meetings, Meetings, Meetings (staff meetings, weekly meeting with Juliet, weekly meeting with the other proteges)
Wednesday: Weekly luncheon rental set up and tear down (this is also when I get to master my A/V skills... Paul Rice would be so proud) For those who did not have the privilege of knowing Paul, he was the sound engineer for KCU. I was in Destiny, our school's singing outreach group and he was the sound tech for that. A wonder behind a sound board and hilarious. Was never my professor, but I learned a lot about life and good music from him. Miss him so much!
Thursday - Saturday: concerts
(My normal days off are Saturday and Sunday).

My favorite time is Tuesday morning. We have weekly staff meetings when we share what is going on throughout all seven locations. We get updates from missionaries who are home, wins across all ministries, and hear from Pastor Mark (or campus pastors) about what they are learning from God. Mark is great at continuing to share the vision of NCC. DREAM BIG. THINK LONG. PRAY HARD. (Yes, all the things Mark tweets, he really does say... a lot... sometimes I wish I had a voice recorder to just hit every time he talks because there's always something great...)

I have slowly built relationships with people throughout the weeks I have been here. I am recognizing artists as they come back to play at Ebenezers. Like I said in my last post, we are hosting a concert with nine artists in one night each month. If people are not playing, they usually come out to support the other artists. So cool to see how the small things add up to the big things.

This is unlike any other ministry job I have had. I love that I am allowed the freedom to engage in conversations with people and be part of the real world, if that makes sense. Too often church leaders do not know people who do not know Christ. I love what I get to do in showing people simple ways that God loves them... even if it is by just having water available to artists who come to play at Ebz. Simple hospitality goes a long way.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Year of God's Favor

This month has already shown that this is going to be a year of God's favor.

We kicked off 2014 at Ebenezers with a South African artist named Zarni, who was fantastic! I only saw a little bit of her show on the main level of the coffeehouse, but she was really great!

On January 3rd we hosted The 9 Songwriter Series at Ebenezers. It is so great to have nine artists play at an almost sold out show! We will be hosting them monthly now and I am pumped for this!

At my weekly business luncheon rental that I staff, I was asked about Ebenezers as a church meeting place (NCC used to use Ebenezers as one of their locations. It has been two years since they had services there, but obviously the man remembers that). The man who asked me was not a Christian, but I am thankful for his boldness in asking and the fact that he is curious. I continue to build relationships with him, the guy in charge (who currently has pneumonia -- please pray for him!), and the caterer, Will.

We had four violinists from the NSO (National Symphony Orchestra) come to Ebenezers for a kids' show! It was free and the place was packed! So cool that our vision of ministry and marketplace colliding continues to be a reality. Good music + tons of new people in the place!

The mission team leaders went before the zoning board to get approval on our next steps for the DC Dreamcenter (DC/DC). It was approved! The DC/DC will be a place that meets physical and spiritual needs of the people of DC. It is inspired by the Dreamcenter in L.A.

God is doing a great work in DC! 2014 is going to be the best year yet!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pre-Christmas Adventure

I know it's been a while since I shared some stories from my DC adventures.

One day before I came home for Christmas, I decided I would go to the Botanical Gardens after work. I got off around 5.15pm and made my way over there. I walked around the ENTIRE building to find out it is closed. No worries; I've wanted to see the Byzantine exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. That is closed as well.

FYI: If you visit DC and want to hit the museums, do them during the daytime. Grayson/College life that closed at 9pm was looking pretty good that night. ha.

I ended up going with Allie to the Botanical Gardens. Fun times!

Three FAQs

Here's the video.