Before Jamie Grimble left London eight years ago, he felt God speaking to him. He’d spent years in the church, trained as a teacher, become a successful DJ, survived a deep depression, and returned to the church.
Now, as he prepared to move with his wife to Philadelphia, he felt God calling him. “You’re going to be working with youth and kids in Philly,” he heard God saying. ‘‘DJing is going to be your sustenance, but working with kids is going to be your motivation.” Three years later Jamie volunteered to start Mosaic's youth ministry and contracted to play Mosaic events.
Working with Kids
Working with kids has been part of Jamie’s identity for a long time. “I grew up in a very Christian household. I grew up in church and attended youth camps for years. Then I started being a leader in youth camps.”
Jamie was regularly told he would make a good teacher, and when he graduated high school he enrolled in a teaching program. “I realized pretty quickly that teachers get bogged down in a lot of paperwork and assessments,” he says. “There’s a lot that pulls them away from being able to focus on kids.”
As his interest in teaching waned, Jamie began working as a DJ in London on the side. “I started being quite successful as a DJ, but it didn’t really compute with what my Christian lifestyle had taught me.” Jamie hadn’t joined a church since leaving for college, and in DJing circles, he started feeling embarrassed about his faith.
“I didn’t stop believing in Jesus,” Jamie says, “I just didn’t really pursue my faith because DJing was far more attractive.”
Getting Lost in DJing
After a while, the club scene started taking a toll on Jamie. “Unfortunately, club life can be pretty soul-sucking and depressing,” he says. “I knew that there needed to be more in my life than just that community, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.”
The more successful Jamie became, the deeper his depression grew. “I started realizing that people wanted Jamie the DJ but didn’t want to know Jamie the person.”
One night, fully sober, Jamie decided to take his own life. Standing in his kitchen, about to end it all, his radio suddenly and inexplicably burst into life. “The song was Bittersweet Symphony,” he says. “I remember hearing the line ‘I’m a million different people from one life to the next. I can change, I can change, I can change.’”
And just like that, Jamie realized he needed help. “I reached out to family and friends who were in the church, and I got connected to St. Mary’s, a church in London.”
Jamie began the long process of rebuilding his life, and at first, DJing wasn’t a part of that. “I wanted to react against DJing,” he recalls. “During my prayer time, I felt God saying, ‘Nope. I created you to be a DJ. That’s a part of you too.’”
So Jamie returned to the club scene, but this time he was open about the importance of faith in his life. “People were really surprised at first, but then I started having people come to me with their concerns or worries in their life. It led to really powerful conversations.”
Over the next few years, Jamie got married and continued to build his career. He DJed at Glastonbury Festival, the largest festival in the UK, the year after returning to the club scene.
In 2010 Jamie’s wife accepted a job in Philadelphia and they moved. They started meeting people, tried out a few churches, and then came to Mosaic. “It felt just like putting on a pair of well-worn shoes. It just felt right, and warm, and comfortable,” Jamie remembers. “It was very clear that it was where we were supposed to be.”
At that time Mosaic only had about 8 kids. But over the next few years, while Jamie and his wife settled into Philadelphia and Jamie began DJing locally, the church continued to grow.
“About six years ago we hit a point where we needed a dedicated ministry to work with the youth,” Jamie says. “A lot of families had joined the church, plus several had begun having children, my wife and I included.”
Jamie’s love for kids had never gone away, and he recognized the opportunity he had been waiting for. “I volunteered, and here I am today,” he says.
Jamie’s vision from God all those years ago has proven true. Jamie still loves DJing and works throughout the city, but his passion is developing Mosaic’s youth.
“One of my goals in working with our youth is to help them grow strong and confident in their faith as part of their identity,” he says. “I had a very immature version of my faith when I was younger and that’s where I got into trouble. I wasn’t authentic to myself. I want our young people to have that confidence to really pursue an authentic life.”
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