Back to Reach • Testimony #5
James Mann | Children’s Director
I was born into a Christian home and lived a cookie-cutter Christian childhood. I was saved at the age of five, and I was baptized, at Faith Baptist, later that year. I was the child that could tell you everything about the Bible and recite countless verses that were learned in Awana. When I was nine years old, my life flipped upside down. My parents got a divorce. My dad ended up moving to Florida to work with my Grandpa. I was bitter and angry, not only with my parents but with God as well. How could God do this to me? Was I not doing everything He told me to do? This began my downward spiral away from Him.
My parents only stayed separated for one year. They ended up remarrying each other, and my mom and I moved to Florida to join him. Florida was the furthest I have ever felt from God in my entire life. We tried to find a church that we could call home, but after many attempts, we just gave up. This was when I started living completely in the world. I was not doing anything too crazy, but it was not what God intended for my life. Florida was the most difficult six years of my life. My Grandpa ended up passing away, and our family realized there was nothing left for us in Florida. We packed everything up and headed home to Michigan.
Once we got here, we began to attend church almost immediately. We went to The River Church. I was hesitant from the beginning. I fought with my parents for six months. They wanted me to join the youth group, and I did everything possible to get out of it. Finally, the Student Pastor at the time contacted my mom and said they were going on a leadership retreat. My mom just mentioned it to me but did not say anymore. I did not know what it was, but something inside me told me to go. So, I asked my mom if I could go. That was my first time doing something with the church in nine years. My life changed at that moment. At the age of 17, I decided that I was done living the way I was, and it was time to get back on track. It was not an easy transition. God challenged me in many ways and forced me to lean on Him. He performed many miracles in my life. I realized that if He was not in control that I would have died before the age of 18. It was at this point that I decided to jump completely into this new lifestyle. I wanted to join the ministry field. That is when I fell in love with children’s ministry. He made it clear to me that I am meant to be a Children’s Pastor someday, so that is the path I decided to follow and I love every second of it.