Jimmy Johnson Youth Ministry Lab

Pioneers don’t follow maps.  They make them.

When Jimmy Johnson became youth pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Methodist Church in Lemon Grove, California six decades ago, local churches didn’t have youth pastors.  Youth ministry was largely left to parachurch groups like Young Life or Youth for Christ.  Youth programs in local churches were led by lay volunteers and looked a lot like adult-age ministries.


Jimmy changed that in the Wesleyan tradition.  He became the prototype of a youth pastor, inspiring and imprinting generations of young ministers who would follow his lead.  He drew the map.  Others modeled their ministries after Jimmy’s . . . but as everyone always knew, there was only one Jimmy Johnson!  (Those who knew him, take a moment at this point to enjoy your own favorite Jimmy Johnson story...)


Jimmy’s alma mater, Southern Wesleyan University, is preserving and renovating its historic campus church as a new home for its Division of Religion. The Nicholson-Mitchell Christian Ministry Center, named for two church leaders Jimmy knew and loved, is designed to send out a new generation of ministers and missionaries who will advance the Gospel in creative and innovative ways.

Like Jimmy.


Jimmy’s wife, Carmella, and daughters, Melody and Lacey, join with SWU in inviting you to help name the youth ministry lab at Southern Wesleyan after The Wesleyan Church’s first and most unforgettable youth pastor, Jimmy Johnson.  We’re well on our way to the $25,000 needed in designated donations – more than $10,000 has already been received – but we need your help to make this tribute to Jimmy and his ministry a reality.


It’s a great way to remember a man who made a difference.


Give online to the Jimmy Johnson Youth Ministry Lab

or call 1-800-282-8798, ext. 5014.


One of Jimmy's most popular sermons was based on the Gospel account of the men who brought the paralytic to Jesus by lowering him through the roof.  Jimmy's unforgettable title was, "My Friends Let Me Down." This stirring painting was done for Jimmy's family in commemoration of that sermon, and they want to make a full-sized print of it available to you for your support of the Jimmy Johnson Youth Ministry Lab at SWU in the amount of $100 or more.