As a third generation pastor's kid who had seen the toll a pastor's work load could take on family life, Vanessa Loyd was adamantly dead set against anything that would lead her into the ministry. In youth group, if she met a guy who even hinted that he wanted to become a preacher, she made sure not to give him her phone number.
"It was something all my life declared I would never do," she recalled. "I would never be a preacher's wife. I would never." She paused. "It tells you God absolutely has a sense of humor."
The Loyds are now going into their 11th year as heads of the Fellowship of Jesus Christ Church, a small but dedicated congregation based in Conyers.
The Fellowship began in a living room in the 1980s when the Lloyds were stationed in Germany with the Army. It began underanother pastor, Ernestine Jones, but the Lloyds were involved in founding it. When they came back stateside and moved to Conyers in 1994, the Lloyds visited at a number of churches, settled at a church but felt moved and called to start their own.
Michael, who used to be a truck driver and is currently a deputy with the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office, said one verse in particular weighed on his heart and called him to restart the Fellowship: Matthew 10:28, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in Hell."
Though the congregation is small and the size fluctuates, ranging from 10 to 40 members, the Loyds say the fellowship offered is true.
"We're not out there to recruit the biggest church in Conyers. You can have the biggest church but have the biggest headaches. What we do want are people that love the Lord and want to know about God," said Michael.
This year, the Fellowship of Jesus Christ Church will be taking it up a notch and offering a series of free speakers on topics that the Lloyds felt would help and empower the community.
"We really want to be able to sow a seed in 2010," said Vanessa, a health care systems administrator. "We're really hoping to serve the community through different activities and seminars that will help in some kind of way."
The first talk is on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. with attorneys Vanita Snow and Cole Thaler from the Georgia Legal Services program on what kind of legal service and options are out there.
"Particularly families, we don't' know what our legal recourse is, so we wanted to present that to the community."
Other topics the Lloyds plan to tackle is the college grant and scholarship process information for parents, such as where and when to begin and who should be filling out the forms - something the Lloyds went through with their three children. They also plan to have a health and nutrition seminar on healthy living for the whole family and begin a tutoring and literacy program.
The Fellowship of Jesus Christ Church is located at 1581 Lester Road, Suite C-2. For more information, call (770) 860-1207.