It’s All For The Children: Guest Blog by Janice Elrod

Whenever you see Janice Elrod, she is usually surrounded by children! The godly instruction of young children and their parents is never far from her heart—or mind. To her, it is a life’s ministry. We warmly welcome Janice to “From the Church House” today.

I really did not have a plan for what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I decided too late that I would like to be a music major in college so I registered for business courses.  My father was a bi-vocational minister/real estate broker.  I did accounting and contracts for him and began to think I would follow in his footsteps.

Then came marriage, the US Army, living overseas, coming back to the US, moving, moving again, children and moving again!  The last move was to Durham, NC.  Jennifer was 4 and Brandon was 2.  I enrolled Jennifer in First Baptist Preschool and later Brandon, too.  As I volunteered for special events I was very intrigued by the benefits my children were receiving from the teachers there.  I had never considered being a teacher but their influence was very positive.

Until my children reached elementary school age, I focused my attention on church activities – directing preschool and children’s choirs, working with Awana groups, and leading Children’s Church.  This led to the opportunity of becoming a preschool teacher in a local church education center.  A light bulb moment!  I finally knew what I wanted to do with my life – make a difference in young children’s lives.   I truly knew that was God’s plan for my life.

I decided to pursue an education in Early Childhood studies and have worked with preschool children in many capacities since that time.  I have become an advocate for every child.  I want parents to realize the precious gift they have been given and model a true Christian life for their child.  I want parents to have the tools they need for leading their child to Christ.  I want teachers to be trained in child development – mental, physical and spiritual.  I want everyone who comes in contact with a child to know they have an opportunity to impact that life for eternity.

Children’s ministry is the foundation of the church.  Jesus related to children in many ways.  Jesus was a child.  Jesus took children in His arms and blessed them.  Jesus healed children.  Jesus took a little boy’s lunch and fed a multitude.  Children worshiped Jesus.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” (Mark 9:37)

“May the Lord teach us this profound truth—that loving children in the name of Christ is loving God the Son and God the Father. Indeed it is more: It is welcoming and receiving and communing with God. Nursery work “in the name of Christ” is no small wonder.”  John Piper

It’s all for the children,


Janice Hawkins Elrod has not only been Ridgecrest Baptist Church’s Director of Preschool Ministries since 2003, she now owns and operates her own in-home daycare facility, Little Sprouts, with her husband Larry.  She’s mom to adult children, Jennifer and Brandon, and is proud nana to Hannah and Emma.

Janice is a native Tennessean, born and raised in the Cookeville area. She’s also a preacher’s kid, having accepted Christ as a child and was baptized by her daddy the following Sunday.


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