Categories: Seedlings

For the past few months our search committee, in cooperation with the personnel committee, has been seeking to fill our vacant staff position.  In the interim, Kelsey Stillwell has served as our minister to youth and J D Granade has served as our minister to children.

Based on the exit interview with Lee Ritchie, we felt we should give some consideration to dividing the youth and children’s responsibilities.  As a result, we wanted to have some flexibility to hire the right person whether that person was more comfortable and experienced with children or youth.  We received just over 20 resumes and were very impressed with a number of them.  We interviewed three of those candidates (two others withdrew from consideration for personal reasons).

The unanimous recommendation of the search committee is that we call Kelsey Stillwell as Minister to Families and Youth.  Kelsey has one more year at the McAfee school of Theology.  She would begin working 30 hours per week and will transition to full time after graduation.  Our plan is to continue with a part time Children’s Minister who will work 20 hours per week.

Kelsey is a native of Kentucky and the daughter of a Baptist minister.  She has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Interior Design and a minor in Art History from Eastern Kentucky University.  She will complete her Masters of Divinity degree at the McAfee School of Theology in 2016.  She has served as a Student Ministry Intern at FBC Huntsville, AL and, for two years, was Youth Minister Lexington Avenue Baptist Church in Danville, KY.  Kelsey’s long term goal is to work with youth and she has a heart for missions.  She spent the fall of 2014 in Bali, Indonesia as an arts intern for CBF field personnel.  She also preached for the National Festival of Young Preachers in 2012.

Kelsey was highly recommended by the folks at the McAfee School of Theology when we were looking for an interim.  She relates well to youth and our youth have already noted her energy and enthusiasm.  She has shown excellent leadership skills in leading them at March Missions Madness and Passport Youth Camp.  You have observed her ability to lead in worship.  Kelsey has an excellent work ethic, has already shown a mature sense of initiative, and has become a seamless part of our ministry team these past few months.  She has already begun to earn the trust of our parents and those who have helped with youth events have been most impressed.

The “family” part of this staff position reflects the fact that ministry to youth necessarily involves ministry to families.  Eight years ago, we called Lee Ritchie at a time when we needed to provide some stability for our ministry to children and youth.  We accomplished that goal.  I believe this is a natural next step for us.  We need to offer more resources and growth opportunities for parents in the church and the community.  Kelsey has also expressed a desire to initiate a ministry to young adults in the church.  Right now we don’t offer much at all for this age group.  Young married couples are families.  Single adults constitute one-person families.  I think our community is fertile ground for such a ministry.

Kelsey’s unique gifts and her creativity will open up new avenues for ministry and worship in our church.  I have enjoyed working with her these past few months and I have been impressed with her analysis of the needs of our youth and the way she has gone about ministering to those needs.  I think she is an outstanding choice and I commend our search committee for their diligent work.

The deacons have voted to accept the search committee’s recommendation and pass it along to you as a congregation.  If you have not already, you will have an opportunity to meet Kelsey at a reception in the Fellowship Hall on Sunday August 23rd at 5:00 – 6:00pm.  We will vote on the committee’s recommendation at our regular business meeting on Sunday August 30th.

This is an exciting time for our church.  Please lift our church and Kelsey in prayer over these next couple of weeks, asking that God will guide us and bless us as we seek to serve him.