On Sunday July 24, 2011, long-time FBC Jax Director of Children's Ministry, Shelly Baumgarner-Norman announced to her department that she is stepping down from her position. Next Sunday, July 31st, is her last as FBC Jax Children's Director.
She will be leaving to work with her husband in his local business here in Jacksonville.
This leaves two Director or higher vacancies at FBC Jax - Jim Smyrl announced on July 6th he was leaving FBC Jax, and now Shelly is leaving effective July 31st. Members tell me that no plans have been announced yet for a going away party.
Shelly was hired by Homer Lindsay, Jr. back in 1994 or 1995, right out of seminary as I recall. All three of my kids came up through the children's ministry while she was there, and without a doubt Shelly was loved by all. She always held a high standard for ministry - teaching kids to love Jesus, memorize scripture, and to be good citizens. I also recall back in the late 90's when AWANA was implemented at FBC Jax on Sunday nights, she was the minister who led that effort and it was a huge success.
I served one year as a 4th grade "table teacher", and my wife served for many years in the children's ministry. In my one year of service I was absolutely amazed at the dedication of the volunteers working under her that ministered to young children and their families. Shelly and her workers at FBC Jax proved that what makes effective ministry is not fancy buildings or programs or bells and whistles - it is people motivated by love to minister to other people that makes a successful ministry.
Best wishes to Shelly and Ben as she embarks on a new phase of her life.
And I'm sure many parents would join me and say a great big "Thank you Ms. Shelly!!" for the positive impact your ministry had on the life of our children!!