Using the Arts for Jesus

Hashim LaFond is more than passionate about using his creative gifts for God. He says, "God is our Creator, and since we are made in His image, we were made to create." His enthusiasm brims over as he shares about making children's ministries vibrant and fun. He says that "it should be a sin to bore children in Sunday school."

These values and abilities are just part of why Hashim is our new Children's Teaching Director. He is excited to help enhance our KidZone program. He wants to create an environment where kids can dream and believe. He thinks it is our role to fill their eyes with the wonder of God and show them that God is an exciting experience. He says, "God is a joyful God, so we need to bring joy and laughter to the church." And Hashim certainly personifies that joy.

As a 15 year-old, Hashim responded to an altar call and found himself receiving Christ and a call to preach at the same time. He was confused, because he definitely didn't like speaking in public, but it seemed clear in his heart that God was planning to use him to articulate His Word through art. Hashim and his sweetheart (and future wife), Johnetta, attended the Boston Arts Academy. They shared the same desire to use their gifts for ministry. To that end, they created murals together to beautify the inner-city.

Hashim has been blessed to serve as the host for Radio Disney and Disney Cruise Line. He has also made appearances in a number of movies and television shows. He has written and directed plays and short films. Hashim and Johnetta have now been married for five years, have two children, Anaiah and Zariah, and another one on the way. When Hashim lived on the Disney Cruise Line for a couple of months, away from his family, he missed them tremendously. From the outside, it may have looked like he was living a dream, but he discloses, "It's not worth it if you're not with the people you love." He decided that this wasn't for him. Also, he longed to bring the same art of story-telling that Disney excels in, to the church.

Hashim and Johnetta recently made a bold move and brought their family to California. Like Nehemiah, Hashim left a good, comfortable job, for something great that God was calling him to. He didn't have all the answers when he left Boston, but he believes that without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) That step of faith has led him to Ventura Missionary, and he is excited to begin to add to our team and to modernize our children's curriculum. It promises to be a fun season as we share the transforming love of Jesus with our kids in increasingly creative and contagious ways. Be sure to welcome this wonderful family into our church family.