Teaching young people – whether in a school or church setting – is not a job suited for everyone. But it’s a job that makes Jayna Coppedge smile when she talks about it.
For 22 years, Coppedge has worked as children’s minister at First Baptist Church. Working with kids is a blessing for her, and is more about who she is than what she does.
“I am a children’s minister in the same way I am a mother and a wife. It is not something I do; it is who I am,” Coppedge said.
When she sees a child, she feels compelled to connect, even with a smile, so the child has a sense of her caring.
“It annoys my family, but if there is a child in restaurant, I will make eye contact and give him or her my biggest smile. I want them to know I see them and that they are important,” she said. “I may not be able to tell all children that God loves them and has a plan for their life, but I do try make a connection.”
She appreciates many aspects of being in children’s ministry, from holding babies to sharing hugs. But most of all, she likes being able to help children understand that God loves them.
“I get many hugs and smiles. I also get some eye rolls from sixth-grade girls. I love watching the light go on when a child makes the connection that the Bible applies to them, and it is not just a book of stories,” Coppedge said. “I love camp, when I can be silly and play with the children without structure. I love getting to hold a sleeping baby close and talk with the parents.”
Church has been a part of Coppedge’s life as long as she can remember.
“My earliest memory was entering through the Dutch door of my church nursery in Odessa, Texas,” she said. “We moved to Lubbock when I was 3, so I had to be 3 or younger. I thought the lady at the church, Scotty, had the sole purpose of holding me.”
To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.
Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.
Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.