Coming Home: Meet GFC’s New Family Life Director
It feels a little bit strange introducing or (re)introducing myself to you all since my husband and I have called Grace Fellowship Church our home for the past 24 years. I have literally “grown up” here. God has used the leadership and people, both past and present, here at Grace Fellowship in mighty ways to shape me into the adult that I am today.
After graduating from Samford University, this Florida girl moved to the beautiful Appalachian Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee to follow her summer camp sweetheart, Bryon Grant, who was finishing his masters at ETSU. We both knew how important it was to find a church where we could grow and find community. Back in the day, you turned to the Yellow Pages (some of you will have to Google what that was) looking up non-denominational churches and we’ve been at Grace Fellowship ever since. We immediately plugged into a community group that became a second family and provided so much to us as a newly married couple. One area of ministry we became involved with as a couple was local outreach. At the time, Grace was beginning to explore what it looked like to share the love of Jesus with our community. I was working at a local non-profit and diving into this area of service just seemed like a good fit. It was a blessing to be a part of GFC’s early reach into our community and hear stories of God at work not only in our local community but in the hearts of this church.
In 2002, I was invited to join the GFC staff as the Local Outreach and Hospitality Coordinator. Over the next 17 years, I had the opportunity to watch God at work in so many different ways. Through different roles and responsibilities over that time, I served in a multitude of areas of the church, such as assimilation, newcomers, volunteerism, and weekend services. In all these different ministry experiences, my love for the local church and my understanding of God’s work in and through it grew. In 2013, I transitioned into the role of Elementary Ministry Director. Over the next 6 years, God brought all of my previous ministry experiences together in serving kids and families. God’s faithfulness was evident as he was also growing my heart and love for family ministry. What a gift to be able to partner with families in the same way God had used the local church to partner with and grow my own family!
In 2019, a BIG change and step happened in the life of our family. The Southern Appalachian Ronald McDonald House had an opening for a new Executive Director. A past board member reached out inviting me to consider applying for the position. I was humbled and surprised as I pursued and was chosen for this important role in serving broken and vulnerable families in our region. How beautifully this echoed the mission of Grace Fellowship Church and how much God would teach me about our community, leadership, resiliency, team, and ultimately dependence on Him in these last couple of years leading an organization through so many challenging changes. I’m so excited the next chapter of my story.
It is with great JOY and EXCITEMENT that I am returning to the GFC staff team to serve as the Family Life Director. Over the past 17 years, our family has been BLESSED by the ministry of the Family Life Team as they have welcomed our girls as toddlers when they didn’t want to leave our side, in elementary they were that familiar face that showed up each week to let them know they cared, they loved them through those awkward years of middle school, and now they hang out in a coffee shop weekly because they want to grow in their walk with Jesus. THIS IS FAMILY LIFE MINSITRY. Partnering with parents at every stage so that we can launch students with an authentic, reproducible faith. It is a gift to be able to lead a team of staff and volunteers that show up each week in the lives of our kids and students to let them know they are loved by us, the local church, but most importantly by Jesus.
There are so many ways to invest in the next generation and if you’d like to learn more, I’d love to talk with you. I promise, it will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.
Family Life Director
If you’d like more information on how you could be a part of investing in the next generation or if you’d simply like to welcome Malia, you can email her here.