Emily’s Story

When Nathan and I were fairly newly married, we were looking for a church that was welcoming, had Bible-based teaching, and was focused on the grace of Jesus. At CPC, starting with the greeters at the door, we were like, “Whoa, this is personal, and this is real.” That was the hook for us—this really big church could feel small. I think it’s unique for a church of any size to have that welcoming feel and to be able to make real, deep connections.

About two and half years ago, I became a parent volunteer for Kids’ choir on Wednesday nights. My participation evolved this year with the virtual program. It was sort of accidental because I was picking up the art supplies and music for the fall semester of Kids’ choir and I kind of shouted out to Heather [Hood], “If I can help out in any way, let me know!” She asked me if I could present the next art project, and I thought, Oh, absolutely. I’m a former art teacher and an artist, so it’s easy for me to whip something together.

For the spring semester I was asked to formally team up with them to create art projects for the kids that fit with the curriculum. The goal was for the message of Jesus’ love and grace to land within the hearts and minds of these little ones, through music, prayer, and art. I wish people knew how much love and care, patience, and planning goes into Kids’ choir—it’s so amazing!

The challenge for me was finding that quiet, alone time to have the space to think and plan well. As a stay-at-home mom, there’s always the tyranny of the urgent with my kids. It was such a gift to have this space to collaborate again and share ideas with Heather, Abby, and Shandra [Kids’ choir team]—and to use my artistic and leadership talents to serve God. I never imagined I’d be teaching art projects on Zoom, but it was so nice to model my faith through supporting this ministry and serving the kids.

I have an active memory of my parents being part of my Sunday school class or children’s choir experiences. That’s a huge part of why I serve—I think it’s so good for our children at CPC, and my own kiddos, to see adults giving their time. You know, at every baptism, we commit as a church community to loving these children and raising them up in Christ. I think for them to see us giving our time and truly caring about each one of them is so powerful. It makes a difference in how they grow in faith.

I grew up going to church, so I’ve never not known Jesus, and I’m grateful for that. In the good times and the bad, Jesus has always been with me. He’s in my mess, He knows my weaknesses. His gift of grace and peace is just incredible. Service is my innate response to that, and it has become a part of who I am. We’re taught to love one another, and the way I can love is by giving my time in service. Being a follower of Jesus isn’t just going to church. It isn’t about serving in order to check off that box. It’s about your heart and being all-in, living your life for Jesus.