I’d like you to meet Jon Downs, Heartland’s Pastor of Student Ministries. You may be wondering, “What does that mean?” It means he is the spiritual overseer of everyone from infants to high school seniors. He works alongside parents to equip kids to live and function in the Kingdom of God. As if that weren’t enough, he also runs the Safety and Security Team. However, on a day-to-day basis at the church office, he does, “whatever Laura tells me to do.”
Jon grew up in the northern Polk county area. He attended Heartland as a child and was blessed to have Barb McAfee as his Sunday school teacher. Jon graduated from Woodward-Granger High School before meeting and marrying his wife of 28 years, Tara. Together they have six kids ranging in age from 28 to 8, a beautiful daughter-in-law and an amazing grandson. In his spare time, Jon is a passionate bow hunter and also enjoys shooting sports.
Jon served in the Air Force as a firefighter at the Airforce Academy in Colorado Springs. He has worked in the security field in various positions from uniformed security to loss prevention to security manager at a casino. He was on the way to becoming a police officer when he was called into full time ministry. He joined the staff at Heartland in August of 2001.
Jon’s favorite scriptural passages include portions of Jeremiah which have been pivotal in his walk with the Lord and Malachi 3:10. Identity and tithing are essential elements of his life and ministry. In discussing his relationship with God, Jon says there truly are parallels between it and his relationship with his wife and kids. So if he is pursuing God in a certain way, he should also be pursuing his wife and children in the same way.
Jon’s happy, playful nature acts as a magnet with children who are drawn to him. Not just those who consider him their pastor-friend at Heartland, but also kids who encounter him at the grocery store or at his children’s school. He is a natural actor as well, and his is the voice you hear at the beginning of Heartland’s podcasts and CDs.
Jon will be posting a blog each month here at heartlandchurchonline.com. If you have any questions for Jon, please comment below.