by Tom Sims
When Cathy Lookabaugh and Tamera Williams met, synergy led to concrete action and sparks began to fly.“We’re just a couple of crazy moms who love music and love kids,” says Cathy. “There are a million things to do in this area if you are over 21,” she continues, “but if you are young, there is nothing.” So they put their heads together and dreamed J29 Eleven into existence.
Inspired by Michael W. Smith’s Rocketown, J29 Eleven will be a physical location for the ministry of the same name. It will be large enough to host big venue concerts, have a cafe and an indoor skate park. They have some dream locations in mind.
In the meantime, it is a “movable feast’ of concerts and events. It is also a non-profit corporation with a governing board and Christ-centered ministries focus.
Both of the “crazy moms” have ministry backgrounds and deep faith commitment. That is why they envision mentoring, tutoring, counseling and internships for college students as part of the activities that will be housed in their facility.
It will also be a café-style hangout with some quiet areas for study, the arts, and small group meetings. Bands will be able to rehearse there and record their music. Young lives will bloom.
It started at a Clovis Chamber of Commerce event with a conversation on Christian music. Soon the two moms were sharing their backgrounds and skill sets with each other. They found that their experiences complemented each other beautifully and they decided to stay in touch.
They started meeting, dreaming, and scheming. More of that story can be read in the first person on their Facebook page. The name was inspired and events that transpired around the name seemed to confirm the vision.
J29 Eleven is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (New International Version, NIV, © © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica)
Though still waiting for a permanent building, things began to coalesce this February with their first concert. They had their first birthday celebration at Mountain View Community Church on July 29, 2011 which fell, conveniently, on a Saturday – J29 Eleven. That was a big bash!
However, before that, in a serendipitous moment that could have been neither controlled nor anticipated, they received their approved Articles of Incorporation from the State of California last winter, stamped January 29, 2011 – J29 Eleven!
For Tamera and Cathy, the dream location is 10,000 square feet. Cathy has the connections. Tamera is good with paperwork. Beyond that, they bring many gifts to the table along with experience and interest in concert promotions. The goal is an ‘all-ages’ venue with a target audience ranging from junior high through college age.
Why? Cathy says, “Kids don’t see their future…” and yet, there is such a bright future in store for them with so many wonderful possibilities. That is the connection to the verse from scripture and the name. It is God’s plan to give young people hope and a future.
J29 Eleven still needs volunteers in many areas as well as in actually putting on the events. They need people from hands-on workers to leaders. They need help promoting concerts and spreading the word about what they are doing. They need financial contributions.
Like any new ministry, they have more needs than offers, but mostly, according to Cathy, they need people who will “come alongside and believe in what we are doing.” The vision of J 29 Eleven is to provide a place where youth in the Clovis area can find a place to belong. To provide a place for the youth to have the freedom and the positive influence necessary to give them authentic hope for the future.
Five quotes from the organization’s Facebook site hint at the energy with which J29 Eleven is dreaming its big dream:
• “Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” – William James
• “Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.” – Author Unknown
• “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
• “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
• “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. “ – Harriet Tubman
To dream with J29 Eleven, email Cathy Lookabaugh at Cathy@j29eleven.org or call 559-341-4243 . “Like” them on Facebook.