One spring evening in 2005, I answered the phone in my kitchen, and the voice on the other end introduced himself as a search committee member from JCBC. He asked if I knew any children’s ministers to suggest to Johns Creek. I had already heard a buzz of good reports about this young church which had relocated from Chamblee. I thought I remembered passing by it, out in the country, amid the horses, cows and pastures on my way from Roswell to I 85. So when he said, “Or, would you be interested in talking with us yourself?” something, or Someone, caused me to say yes. And there was no turning back.
We transplanted our family from a loving church, who had brought our family together, to become a part of another caring, inclusive family at Johns Creek. Maggie was 5 and ready to start kindergarten. Jack was 1 and ready to start walking. Maggie latched on to her best friend, Lindsey Richardson, in that Sunday School class, and has kept her as a best friend all of these years. (Maggie became so close with her church friends, that years later as an eighth grader, she insisted we move from Roswell closer to the church, so that she could go to school with her church friends. And we did.)
The drive from Roswell for those first 8 years was challenging. Old Milton Parkway was a two lane road under construction. Need I say more? Wednesday afternoons were almost impossible. But I’m so thankful for a husband who always got the kids up and dressed (though sometimes creatively) on Sundays since I had to leave the house early. I loved being a part of the ministry where our children were living and learning. What overwhelming and fun times!
The facilities at Johns Creek were tiny and we had a lot of preschoolers crammed in a few rooms! I remember our teachers sitting on the floor with little ones all over the place. We even had one of our classes in a closet! We really got creative! The spirit was so sweet, but we never knew what might happen on a Sunday morning. It was a successful day if all the kids were happy and safe and had a chance to encounter Jesus in actions and in words while they were left in our care. Afternoon naps were a necessity because Saturday nights did not lend themselves to much sleep.
It takes an army or a village or a whole lot of people who will care for, pray for and plan for children. My ministry has been blessed with some of the very finest. Some people are called for a life time of service when they find their favorite age group, others are called for a season, but God blesses all of them and their efforts. My prayer is that the volunteers for Sunday School, worship care and Wednesday night programs feel called to their tasks and appreciated by me and the church. They serve faithfully behind the scenes. They often are serving when no other age group is having a class. The reward is in the work itself. These folks take their job seriously and are committed to doing their best.
Children’s ministry is nothing without that village of volunteers. So many hands are needed for camps, VBS, mission classes, special classes, KidQuake, extended session/ worship care, and Sunday School. This reflects hundreds of volunteers every year. “Thank you God, for the folks that put the needs of our children first. Bless them in a very special way for their faithfulness. Give them the reward of joy and satisfaction for a job well done.” These are the people that allow our kids to encounter Christ each and every time they participate at JCBC.
I loved this quote that I heard this week, “The true value of our work lies in the fact that God calls us to it.” Could anyone live a more blessed life than I do? Could life be more meaningful than responding to God’s call and getting to work with young lives that are forming their beliefs and seeking a relationship with God? It could not.
Johns Creek Baptist Church
We were never intended to do life all alone, but rather in the love and company of God and each other.