Northview Stories Jesse Wilson's Story: The Transition

July 7, 2021


My name's Jesse Wilson. I grew up in a small farm town in south central Indiana. My parents were worship pastors, so I grew up in a Christ-centered home. As I was growing up, I got connected with baseball and really started to have that become a big part of my life. As I transitioned into high school, baseball really became who I was. That kind of starts my transition of, you know, not Jesse, the Christ follower, not Jesse, the redeemed, but Jesse, the baseball player.

So as I transitioned from high school into college, and everything about college in terms of the freedom started to come into my life in terms of freedom of my decisions, freedom of my own time, that sort of thing. My identity got closer attached to baseball than Christ. I was in an environment without structure. With that, the ups and downs of success, you know, added in with the absence of Christ in my life, I just went into things that were temporary, you know, void fillers, where I would be out on the weekends partying and I would be, you know, pursuing girls and premarital sexual relationships, and pornography, addiction and all of that. Because what I had rooted myself in terms of my identity with baseball, that was temporary.

And so as I'm walking through life, I get to a point where I'm just so low because nothing is filling this void. Need to get connected with a church, because at this point, I'm just ready to try anything. And my mom encouraged me. "Why don't you go check out this church?"

So I get connected with a young adult ministry at this church. And one time the young adult pastor asked me to go to dinner with him. And as we're sitting down, I order a beer and he doesn't. And I just asked him, "What's the deal with that? Is that a you thing? Is that a I'm a pastor thing? What is that?" And and he just tells me directly, "I've seen from your social media that you struggle with alcohol and partying. And I don't want to be the reason that you fall into that tonight."

As a person with no identity, this just just blew me away. I mean, I went home and just cried all night because I just couldn't understand why a guy who knew me for two months could value me in a way that was more than I value myself. And so this spurred on a great friendship. And, he actually is my best friend now. He led me back to Christ and showed me that the reason that he could love me the way that he did that night, it was because of the way Christ loved him and brought him out of his struggles.

And so from there on, I just started running towards Christ. I got rededicated in my life to Christ. I got rebaptized and I started serving in the ministry in any way I could.

A couple of years ago I got married and we moved to the north side of Indianapolis. Through an incredible timing situation, I got to partner with Northview around this program called the Ministry Associates Program. Essentially what it is, is it just gives volunteers the opportunity that if they want to commit a little bit more - it's not a full time thing - it's just every week a little bit more to one ministry that they're passionate about, that they feel like God has brought them to serve, and that God has equipped them to serve. And they can do that. And so you get brought on with the church and you get, you know, support and a coach and all these incredible opportunities.

At the exact same time that I was getting plugged into that ministry, the church was planning to launch a young adult ministry here at the Binford campus. It's called the Porch Live Indy. So I have been able and blessed to be a part of this launch and to lead part of this ministry to reach young adults here in Indianapolis.

It's so much more than we could have ever thought, you know. We have a leadership team that serves every single week. And we actually talked about what we thought the first night was going to be. We thought if we could get 100 young adults in the doors that night, it would be incredible. And, we had over 230 show up the first night! It's not all about numbers, but it just shows that there's a need, right? Every single week we've got hundreds of young adults coming back.

I walk in on Thursdays to the Binford campus just so ready to go, because the way God has changed my life was walking through a door into a ministry just like this. And every single week, we are creating an environment for young adults to come and get real Christ-centered life change in an area where that's not happening a lot.

When I look back at where God has led me, what he's brought me through, and the struggles he's brought me out of, and where he has me now, the opportunity to serve in this way, the opportunity to affect change, hopefully in people's lives in the same way it was affected in me, there can't be anything better than that. It's one thing to be saved by Christ. It's another thing to then be used in that story going forward for someone else.


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