Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister, and today we are pleased to introduce Jessica Asbell.

Jessica, tell us about your current ministry role.

I am the minister to children at First Baptist Church in Roswell, Georgia. Although my title is minister to children, I tend to focus much of my time on family ministry. Children need more spiritual formation than the forty to fifty hours a year that many of them get at church. I look at my role as a partner for parents, joining with them to spiritually nurture their children. I plan events, pick curriculum, and do children’s sermons, but I also plan family activities, teach classes for parents around topics of spiritual formation, find resources for parents, and write weekly family devotions for families to do at home.

What do you love best about your ministry?
I love the children! I love seeing their faces when they learn something new about God, or when something clicks for them. I love how excited they get at VBS and how they recognize their VBS leaders in the grocery store. I love VBS. I know it’s crazy, but I started planning our 2016 VBS about a week after this year’s was over! VBS is exhausting but it’s the most rewarding thing about my job. Seeing all of those kids learning about Jesus and praising God with their voices is amazing. I love that my job gives me variety. Sometimes I’m in the office writing devotions or planning something, but other times I get to go to water parks or the movies or to play laser tag. And I love that when something fantastic happens in the lives of the children with whom I work, they come running up to me to tell me.


Who has inspired you in your ministry journey?
I have been blessed to have many sources of inspiration in my journey. My mother has been a huge source of inspiration. She raised my sister and me as a single mom and taught us that we could be whoever we are called to be. She also taught us to care about others and to be helpful and kind. My grandparents have also been an inspiration. My dad’s mom, Shug, was the first woman to work for the city of Macon. She broke down barriers and she, like my mother, has taught me that I could be whoever I wanted to be. My mom’s parents, Granny Rose and Granddaddy, have always been there for me, supporting me even when I told them that instead of being an accountant, I was going to be a children’s minister. I have been blessed with a loving and supportive family that has shaped me and helped me become who I am today.

Ministry-wise, my inspirations have been the children’s ministers with whom I have worked. Ruth DuCharme and Carol Browne took a chance on a business major who interviewed to be a children’s intern. They showed me how to do children’s ministry well, and I still follow in their footsteps. Debbie Britt modeled for me how to do children’s ministry in a larger church setting, and for that I will always be grateful. They have been strong women along the way who have reminded me of the greatness and the mystery of ministry.
How do you keep yourself healthy–physically and spiritually?
I would love to tell you that I do everything I’m supposed to do to keep myself healthy physically and spiritually. And I always have good intentions, but those intentions don’t always translate into action.
But to keep myself healthy, I am trying to cut down on the caffeine and get more sleep. Full disclosure: it isn’t ministry keeping me up late, it’s the books that I love to read that keep me up late! I am also starting a new exercise routine, but I already do yoga a couple of times a week. I’ve found that yoga helps me relax and get rid of stress. I read. Reading is good for the soul (at least it is for mine).
Reading helps me relax, which is a key component of staying healthy. There are times when God shows up unexpectedly in a fiction book that I’m reading and teaches me something. I love when that happens. As far as keeping myself healthy spiritually, lately I’ve been focused on the Book of Common Prayer. I find that I get a good bit out of it when I use it as a devotion. I wish I could say that I pick it up every day, but I don’t. That is something that I’m working on. When it is cooler I go for walks and just enjoying being in the silence with God. I also read spiritual/religious/theological Books as well.
There are times when I am surprised that my life has brought me here. But I know that I am where God has called me to be, and I love being a children’s minister. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!