Abbey: Tell me about your family and what you do.
Kelly: I’m married to Alp. We’ve been married for 16 years. I have two kids, Charlie who is almost 14 and Audrey who is 11, and they’re awesome. I’m an art director, graphic designer, paint- er, and mixed media artist, and I work for myself. I’ve always loved art and being creative.
I moved to Minnesota from Michigan in 2001. A friend introduced me to CPC, and I started leading a small group of high schoolers. I’m still in touch with most of my high school girls that I had in those four years. When I started as a volunteer, I just said to myself, if I’m still here when I have kids, I absolutely want to have them be a part of this church. I want to be a part of this church, and I want to keep my kids here. CPC has made such an impact on me. I love the people, the authenticity and what we’re learning.
I kept leading with the high school ministry, and then after having Charlie I started leading his group when he was in first grade. It’s been many, many years, which has been really fun.
Abbey: Wow. It’s cool to trace it back.
Kelly: Yeah, it’s been a long time.
Abbey: What does being a small group leader mean to you?
Kelly: I love being a small group leader. I love being able to share God’s Word, and I love the fact that this is inter- generational. Leading a small group is working with a different generation, and I have a chance to be a part of their story, even if it’s this tiny drop in a big ocean. It’s an honor.
Abbey: That’s great. It’s something special. It is so important to find people like you who are committed to leading. Thanks, Kelly. What keeps you going and leading kids?
Kelly: I think it is the joy that I find. I’ve always loved lead- ing kids; starting even as a sophomore in high school, when I was leading middle school students and going to camps. I love the development and changes that happen at that time. It’s hard sometimes to parent my own middle schoolers. I still love them, and I love high schoolers too. I’ve always loved mentoring and working with people.
Abbey: That’s great. What have you learned about yourself through leading?
Kelly: I’ve learned that God has called me to be an evangelist in my own way. When I was in college, I had a mentor call it out in me. She said, “Kelly, you’re an evangelist.” I thought, absolutely not. There’s no way! I’m not one of those people on the street corner, waving signs and telling people what they should do or not do. That’s not what it is. It’s just quietly or even with volume, leading people to Jesus. I have finally
heard it and believed it about myself—I love inviting people, I love connecting people, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I love watching people grow.
Abbey: What about God? What have you learned about God through leading?
Kelly: I love that He has taught me that I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t need to be someone who has all the right an- swers, and I can even say that to the kids. It’s ok to say, “I don’t know, let’s find out” or “I’m still learning that.” He’s taught me to rely on Him for everything. Because I have to teach kids to rely on God, it reminds me to rely on God. That’s a good thing. Seeing their childlike faith reminds me how much God loves me as His child too. By serving Him, you grow closer to Him. It’s a privilege, the fact that I have a chance to serve Him and be a part of someone’s life and their story.
Abbey: How have you changed through leading from when you first started to now?
Kelly: I think I’ve become more confident in the way I lead. It’s easy to question or wonder—did they listen? Did they hear this part or understand this point? Do they like me? Early on, I wanted them to like me, I wanted to be cool to them, and I wanted to know if I was even making an impact. I think as I got older, I learned that it shouldn’t matter to me, but it only matters to God. I’m just a part of the puzzle. I’m not the reason, God is. God does the work; He is in control and when
I remember that it gives me peace. Now, I have moments or conversations with them that are really good, and I can trust that God will use those.