When Bill and Melissa Harvey first came to Brook Hills a little over three years ago they were a bit nervous, as anyone would be when visiting a church for the first time. They had loved the community they had experienced as a part of their previous church, and were concerned that they would ever be able to find that community again. “We just loved everyone and were so loved by them,” said Melissa, “and we all knew their teachers and had such love and trust in them and weren’t sure we’d ever have that again.”
Their second son, John Miller, was having an especially hard time. “We had been attending for about six months at that time,” Melissa said, “and he was beginning the three-year-old class when everything started back that Fall. He did not want to go and was pitching a fit, and I was almost having to drag him down the ramp to his small group room.”
So many parents-of-preschoolers have experienced a similar scenario when their child begins a new class. You’re trying to get to worship yourself and know your child will be fine, yet you’re wondering just how to help them and what will make it better and who exactly can lend you a helping hand.
“Bill and I had not yet started a small group or anything ourselves, but, by the grace of God, I had met Jaime James at a homeschooling workshop that summer,” recounted Melissa. “She was one of the only people I knew at Brook Hills. So, there I was, almost dragging John Miller to his classroom, and when we arrive, lo and behold, Jaime James was his teacher. We were both so relieved. I was like, ‘thank you, God!’ John Miller walked right in that room and never looked back.”
“Jaime is still his teacher today,” Melissa continued. “This is her third year to be his teacher. And that consistency is so important for children that age, in preschool, but not just for them. Teachers like that get to know you and know your family, and you develop the type of relationship where you can totally trust them.”
The Harveys had found that trust they weren’t sure they would ever experience again. Though it, of course, took some time.
“It doesn’t happen overnight,” Melissa said, “but as we have been able to grow with them over time, it’s been a really good experience.”
“It’s a partnership,” Melissa continued. “They play such an important role, and I have to learn to open up with them and share things about my kids that make them unique and will help their teachers lead them. And then there is such a joy whenever I come to pick up my kids and are able to hear from their leaders and even the other workers about how they’ve been and what they’ve done and learned.”
Not every teacher can be with the same group of kids year after year and not every volunteer serves in the role of a teacher, but every one is vital to helping families and their children in getting to know Christ and His church.
“God has been so gracious in the leaders He’s given my children,” Melissa said. “They see them week in and week out, and those leaders really become their friends. And for us, it’s not like we just drop our kids off at a place, and we don’t know where they are or who they’re with. Those teachers and other workers and the staff really do become partners and community with us. You don’t feel alone at all.”
Bill and Melissa Harvey are the proud parents of four sons, Will, John Miller, Ward, and their youngest whose adoption from foster care they are finalizing this week. They have been members of Brook Hills since 2015.
Did you know it takes about 250 volunteers to serve our preschoolers and their families each week? That doesn’t even include our other areas of ministry. If you’re up for talking with a member of our Local Disciple-Making team about serving our faith family in partnership and community, simply go to brookhills.org/serve.