For the Record

An Interview with The Simple Room's Jesse Tyrell '14

Leadership Team

Above: Jesse Tyrell (bottom left) with The Simple Room's 2014-2015 leadership team of GC students and graduates.

Jesse Tyrell, a recent Greenville College graduate from Loveland, Colorado, is the director of The Simple Room, a Greenville, IL, youth ministry started by Greenville College faculty and students more than 30 years ago. Jesse leads a team of Greenville College student volunteers and staff members, who together serve the more than 150 local youth enrolled in The Simple Room’s programs, which include discipleship, mentoring, tutoring, art, recreation, and summer reading programs.

Jesse majored in pastoral ministry, worked as a resident chaplain, co-led the student-run Vespers service, and played football for the Panthers, serving as team captain during his senior year. While a GC student, he volunteered as a mentor and worked as a staff member at The Simple Room. He assumed the position of director in July 2014.

To update the many GC alumni and friends who have supported The Simple Room since it began as an interterm project in Dr. James A. Reinhard’s creative evangelism course in the early 1980s, Jesse answered a few of our questions. Do you want to be sure you get updates on The Simple Room? Sign up here.

How has The Simple Room stayed true to its mission, even as it has developed and evolved during its decades-long history?

JT: The Simple Room is here to build community and empower our youth to follow Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:17-20). Our mission is to operate in accordance to The Great Commission by intentionally living S.I.M.P.L.E. lives, an acronym which stands for “Serve, Invest, Motivate, Prepare, Love and Evangelize.” These two statements guide us as we evaluate everything we do here to make sure we stay true to the identity that GC faculty and students founded more than 30 years ago.

The biggest change that has occurred is the amount of growth we’ve experienced over the last 10 months with our kids. We now have more than 150 kids enrolled at The Simple Room, so we are working diligently to make sure we are organized to maximize our potential for serving the community of Greenville. We hope to build a new facility in the near future that will better suit our needs to love and serve to the best of our ability.

What motivates you to work as the director of The Simple Room?

JT: God is always at the root of any motivation I have to do any good thing. Without the Holy Spirit at work in my life, I wouldn’t be able to influence people in a positive way. And then of course I have the best leadership team in the world to work with – a group of people who love God and come together to invest in the youth of Greenville. My volunteers and staff members are amazing. And last but not least, the kids have stolen my heart and refuse to give it back. Gotta love ’em!

Tutoring at The Simple Room


What are some moments that have prompted you to give thanks?

JT: There are so many moments that come to mind. We have had the opportunity to witness kids make public declarations to follow Jesus by getting baptized. We see our students growing and transforming everyday, and we can’t do anything but thank God for the work he is doing in all of our lives.

Also we have to give a BIG thank you to everyone who has supported the mission of The Simple Room. We can’t provide the kids with a safe place to learn and grow if we didn’t have partners in ministry. Finally, last but not least, I can’t express enough thanks for everyone who has given their time and energy to The Simple Room, people like Jim Reinhard, John Heston, Jim McGloughlin, Lee O’Connor, Jamie Carlisle, and all of the other current and former volunteers and staff members who poured themselves into the work of God at The Simple Room.

What have been some of your biggest challenges?

JT: Our biggest challenge is lacking a building large enough to serve our students. During the week, we average more than 40 students a night, and our building is 3,200 square feet. We are working on that, but of course that means we are looking to God to provide the funds for us to move to a different building or build a new Simple Room.

The Simple Room


How can GC alumni and friends support The Simple Room?

JT: Please consider supporting The Simple Room, because God is moving in the lives of everyone that walks through our doors. Our vision is to build community and empower the youth to follow Jesus Christ. More children than ever are walking through our doors each afternoon, which means we now need more financial support than ever. We are diligently working to be obedient to the calling God has for The Simple Room, and we invite people to partner with us in the mission of discipling the future leaders of the Greenville community. The best way to offer support is by pledging a monthly gift online.

 What’s the best way to stay updated on The Simple Room news?

JT: The best way to stay updated is to read our e-newsletter and like us on Facebook. Also be sure to check out our website: simpleroom.org.

Want to be sure you get updates on The Simple Room? Sign up here.


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