The FBC Cornelia Children’s Minister Search Committee Unanimously and excitedly recommend that FBC Cornelia hire Amber Watson Miller as our Minister of Children and Community Ministries.
Eric Spivey, Pastor
Jason Hughes, Chair and Deacon Chair
Donna Trotter, Personnel Committee
Danny Almond, Stewardship Committee
Leslie Foster, Children’s Committee
Alice Gunter, Children’s Committee
Heather NeSmith, Children’s Committee
Minister of Children and Community Ministries Job Description
Amber was born and raised in Habersham County. Well, maybe not born… But definitely raised. Her grandparents, Mildred and Earl Watson had been a part of the community since they were born in 1914 and after Amber was born in Roswell, Ga., her parents, Mark and Susan Watson, brought her back to Habersham for a long visit with Mildred and Earl. Amber was 3 months old at the time and Mildred told Mark and Susan, “You are more than welcome to go back to Roswell, but this baby is staying here!”.
While visiting, the family made a seemingly harmless visit to a relative’s house to pick blueberries and while outside, Amber’s stroller was accidentally rolled over a yellow jacket’s nest. Mark and Susan turned to see their screaming 3-month old covered with bees. In her clothes. In her mouth. After taking her to the hospital the doctors told them that they stopped counting stings after a hundred.
By the grace of God, Amber was fine after the incident, but the real miracle is what took place in its wake. Susan (a city girl) sat in Mildred’s living room watching and listening as the phone ring off the hook with concerned members of the community calling to see if there was anything they could do for the family. People came by the house in swarms (see what I did there?) to check on Amber and the rest of the family. Mildred’s friends flooded the house with casseroles and flowers.
And thus, the long visit turned into a relocation as Mark and Susan realized that Habersham truly is God’s country and so, these must be His people. Amber grew up slowly as one does in a community like this. And, it’s safe to say that she spent more time at church and at Dance-A-Lott than she ever did at home. Faith was easy here. God was represented so well, in so many people that questioning Him, or the Bible, or the Church was never even a thought.
After graduating from Habersham Central High School Amber decided to stretch her legs and see what more the world had to offer. So, she went to the Big City… No not New York. Mars Hill, North Carolina. Yes, it was a small school. But it was a place Amber could learn more about musical theatre, her heartbeat since childhood. (She may or may not have been the obnoxious child that wore a Dorothy costume to church and carried around a fake dog that she called Toto. No judgement, please.) In so many ways Mars Hill was a great place for Amber. After all, it is where she met that tall drink of water she now calls her husband, Andy! She was able to learn so much about music and acting and dancing and Asheville was only 20 minutes away! What an exciting, artistic place to be!
But faith was hard in college. It wasn’t as easy as it’d been back home. People asked you why you believed what you believed. And you better have an answer or be prepared for everything you thought you knew to be ripped to shreds. It was through these trials that Amber’s faith grew, and she no longer relied on what her family or church or community believed. But, she was able to grasp her faith for herself. She wrestled with theology and doctrine and came out on the other side closer to God than ever. (Hallelujah!)
Andy and Amber were married the fall after her graduation and moved to Franklin North Carolina to be close to Andy’s work (he is a theologian disguised as a landscaper). God provided them with a church full of love and intentional ministry directed towards children and youth. At the first service they attended, the youth performed in the service and even rapped while some of the girls did a hip-hop dance! (Dance! In CHURCH! Are you kidding me?) Amber turned to Andy and whispered, “This is our church!”
As much as Amber loved her job teaching dance at the local studio, she longed for ministry. She spent all of her extra time at the church. Hanging posters, moving chairs… whatever she could do to be inside those walls.
It didn’t take long for the assistant pastor to approach her about a job. He asked her if she’d like to be in Children’s Ministry. She felt a tightening in her chest, a sinking feeling and sensed an inner voice whisper “You’re not ready for that.” Amber knew the Bible well enough to know that in the Kingdom of Heaven, there is no more important job than that of leading children. “No.” She responded.
The Associate Pastor was a little surprised but responded, “Well, I’m going to get you to work here somehow!” About a week later he offered her a position as his assistant which she took without hesitation, believing it was her pathway to ministry.
In the 5 years that Amber served at the church she worked and led and supported in whatever area she was asked to help. She managed the Community Care Ministry and Guest Services Ministry. She then moved into a full time position as the Director of Student Ministry before launching a ministry with the local university that centered around the often overlooked an marginalized students, the dancers. Amber created, directed, and grew the dance ministry. She hosted workshops and master classes at the university and took the company all over to perform and take classes. They ventured to Atlanta and D.C. and it was beautiful to see such spiritual growth in those students.
Life was great. Amber felt satisfied and fulfilled and felt sure she was walking in God’s calling but, in January of 2015 something changed.
It was New Year’s Day, Amber and Andy were in Habersham visiting and went on a hike in Tallulah Gorge with the family. They found a rock on their own and sat down to enjoy the view and talk about the last year and all that they felt God was calling them to in 2015. They had many goals and dreams that they shared with one another. But the biggest, was that they both felt that God was calling them to have a child. Little did they know, Amber was already pregnant.
Pregnancy changed Amber. She still loved her college kids but she started developing a deep almost aching heart for the children in the church. As she watched them run up the hallways or walk down the sidewalks of town she thought, “Do they know they are loved?” “Do they know how Jesus yearns for them?”
She began getting more deeply involved with the children’s ministry, leading worship, directing musicals, and teaching Sunday school. After reading, researching, and going to conferences she adopted a philosophy on children’s ministry from the incredible resources provided from Orange. (Please look them up, they are fantastic.)
- Children’s Ministry must absolutely, more than anything else, partner with and equip Parents. Together, (the church and the parents) we can have a greater impact in the lives of children.
- Children need to know 3 things before they get to middle school.
- God made them.
- God loves them.
- Jesus wants to be their friend forever.
If children can grasp these foundational truths before middle school, then instead of spending those last 6 years that we have with them teaching them the basics, we can direct them in working out their faith! Let’s lay that foundation early on.
When Ella was born in August, there was another shift in Amber’s spirit. Not only did she want to minister to the children. But she wanted to go home. She longed for that community of believers that had supported her since birth. She yearned for the people that raised their kids with a tribe of other believers, figuring out this parenting thing together.
Amber’s calling to First Baptist is one based in 3 components.
- Obedience to God.
- A Calling to the most important ministry in the Kingdom. Children’s Ministry.
- A desire to come home.
Amber finally understood what her parents felt all those years ago, when after having a baby, she realized that the community she took for granted before… may be the life-saving gift from God she’d been looking for all along.
Timeline of Call
Wednesday, May 25
Search Committee Introduces of Amber to Church
6:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall
Thursday, May 26
Summer Kick-Off and Amber Introduction Party
6-8 pm @ the Cornelia Depot and Splash Park
- Meet Amber, Andy and Ella
- Overview of Summer Children’s Ministries
- Fun Cookout
- Jumpy House
- Game and more!
Sunday, May 29: Call Sunday
9:00 Sunday School Fellowship in the Fellowship Hall
Meet Amber, Andy and Ella
Coffee and light breakfast
10:55 Worship Service
Hear Amber’s Faith story.
Amber will lead the Children’s Sermon
Called Church Conference to vote at end of service.
What Our Search Committee Members Say About Amber
As the Next Minister of Children’s and Community Outreach
“I was convinced Amber was God’s choice for FBC-Cornelia when she seemed to embrace the multigenerational congregation we have and explained how our senior members would be vital to her ministry. To me, this should a spiritual understanding and maturity well beyond her years.”
I am very excited to have Amber come to FBC Cornelia as our Children’s Minister. Amber’s background in the arts will be a great fit into our existing MOSAIC program. Being a young mother, herself, Amber will be able to relate to mothers and families in our church and community. She will bring energy and excitement into our Children’s Ministry, while leading our youngest to follow Christ.
I am excited that Amber Miller will serve as the Children’s Minister at FBC Cornelia. Amber has a passion for Christ. I’m excited to see what God has in store for the children at FBC.
I have known Amber Watson Miller for close to 20 years – I watched her (and taught her) grow into a beautiful Godly young woman with many areas of giftedness. I believe her passion to lead others, specifically children and families, to know and connect with Jesus Christ fits perfectly with the AGAPE vision here at FBC, Cornelia. Her previous experience as a Ministry Director utilized her creative gifts, including her organizational and technical skills. Her abilities coupled with her desire to follow God’s call in her life here at FBC Cornelia will open up untapped avenues for us to share the Love of God and teach the world the Biblical truths we believe and hold so dear.