Runner Ready?!

The race is well underway. In fact, the lead off runner has nearly completed his portion. He is rapidly approaching the transition zone, holding out the baton. The second runner is reaching behind, looking back, and starting the slow jog. The pass from one runner to the next is critical. It must be an expression of fluid teamwork. The baton must not be dropped. For a moment, the runners are one as they both grasp the baton. Then, the lead off runner lets go, allowing the second runner to take over, play his role on the team, and carry the team forward…

These days, we’re operating in this mindset of a runner in a relay race getting ready to pass the baton… or pass many batons, rather. We have been incredibly blessed to participate in leadership in the life of the community of Lovington in some idyllic ways. We recognize that we may never have many of those opportunities again. And, we realize that it’s time to pass the batons, make space for new leaders, and allow for others to carry the vision and the ministry forward.

In some areas, we’re approaching the second runner who is anticipating the reception of the baton. In others, both leaders have a firm grasp on the baton, working together to make sure the transition goes as smoothly as possible.

One of those areas is After School Adventures, LovingtonNaz’s after school program. After School Adventures was a dream that grew from a seed planted several years ago when an after school care program failed to take off because there was no one to run it. It was a gaping hole in terms of the social services and educational opportunities available to our community. That seed grew and After School Adventures has proven to be an essential social service, a vital ministry of LovintonNaz, and an excellent means of partnership in the education and formation of our community’s children. It is everything I dreamed it could be, and with the addition of Summer Adventures, even more. I have been delighted to dream and direct something that so significantly impacts kids and families.

However, I am also delighted to introduce you to the second runner in the race, After School Adventures’ new director, Gina Acosta.

Gina, Abel, & their daughters.
Gina, Abel, & their daughters.


Gina Acosta is a mother of two daughters, Alexiah and Analise, ages 8 and 6. She was born in El Paso, Texas, but is a lifelong resident of Lovington, New Mexico. In 2005, Gina and her husband Abel took on the endeavor of owning and operating a Sonic Drive In in Denver City, Texas. After 5 years of business growth and a learning process, they decided to leave the franchise. A short time, thereafter, they moved back to Lovington.

After a couple of years of being a stay at home mom, Gina decided to take a leap of faith and try something new. She started working at Cornerstone Coffeehouse where she has been for 2 years. Gina is currently a barista and the front of the house manager. She really enjoys the public interaction and getting to know the community through their mutual love for coffee and sandwiches.

When Gina is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, running, and the occasional golf game. She is very excited for the opportunity to be the new director of After School Adventures and to be able to connect with and influence children of the community through this creative program.

Gina first became involved with After School Adventures when she enrolled her daughters for the 2014-2015 school year. She brings management expertise, public relations experience, and a parent perspective to the After School Adventures leadership team. Gina and her family call LovingtonNaz their church home and are actively involved in the life of the church.

Gina Acosta with her daughters.

Gina Acosta with her daughters.

Currently, Gina and I both hold the baton. While she is officially the director, I will continue training and supporting the ASA team through much of the fall. Lisa Reed will continue working as the Program Coordinator, which will also provide a great sense of continuity.

I anticipate great days ahead for After School Adventures (and yes, Summer Adventures too). Gina will bring her own personality and flare to leadership. She’ll learn and grow and ask a lot of questions, but she’ll also love the kids of our community well, greet parents with a warm smile, and provide a high caliber of leadership. I am grateful she’s the next runner on our team.


  1. As someone who is also receiving the baton from Elizabeth’s husband and current lead pastor at LovingtonNaz, I am excited to work alongside Gina. I’ve ordered countless lattes from Cornerstone and literally as I walk through the front door she starts brewing the espresso and steamed milk. By the time I reach the the counter, she hands me my finished latte and I hand her my credit card. This simple act of service is a wonderful way in which I know Gina is going to take wonderful care of our ASA children. I also have a daughter in the program and I while we are sad Elizabeth is leaving, I couldn’t be more excited for Gina to be the one receiving the baton and carrying on the race!
    I am excited for both of us as we journey together in our new roles and how LovingtonNaz can and will be a place where people meet Jesus. My 5 year old daughter has asked me several times how we see Jesus. I always tell her that we see Jesus through other people, like Elizabeth and Gina and everyone else who is a part of the church – the Body of Christ!
    Pastor Aaron

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