A Shepherd to the Littlest Flock

January 19, 2017

Galilee is excited to welcome Bri Smart Jones as our Director of Children and Family Ministries, assisting the spiritual growth and education of the youngest members of our congregation.

Bri is a Loudoun County native. She graduated from Stone Bridge High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Education with minors in sociology and psychology from Liberty University. She says she knows the importance of raising kids in faith, because that’s how she was raised.

“My parents made a tremendous impact on my spiritual walk with the Lord. Seriously, my mother is a rock star for Jesus,” Bri explains. “No matter what I went through, Mom was there and her love planted seeds. She made sure that I knew about Jesus, but was also flexible enough to step back and let me claim the faith as my own. My dad encouraged us all to serve God with our talents. Any Saturday, you could find him at church painting walls or building sets. He was a prime example of how when we serve others, we point them toward a higher purpose.”

Bri Jones, Director of Children and Family Ministries, shares the gospel at Preschool Chapel Time.

Bri’s mother, LeAnne Smart, was an influence in a more particular way, too. “My mother is the Children’s Ministry Director at McLean Bible Church—so kids and Jesus have always been a HUGE deal! Church, Jesus, and all those great things were never strangers or something out of the ordinary growing up. Sunday school was important to our family. For many years it was just a fun time, but the older I got, the better I understood the reasoning behind the gospel. The Lord grabbed a hold of my heart at a young age, which is why I am so adamant about growing the faith of children.”

“As the Director of Children and Family Ministries at Galilee, I partner with parents to nourish the spiritual life of their child. It truly is a partnership as we oversee these beloved children, newborns up to fifth grade, and lead them to develop their own relationship with God. I get to organize and encourage faithful volunteers to let them know that, yes, they CAN do this—be the church that stands as a community for this child.”

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Bri with her husband, Grant Jones

“I have many goals for Family Ministries, both big and small. These will all happen on the Lord’s time and through the faithful service of parents and volunteers in our program. My main goal is for every child to find Jesus on a personal level. This is the most important part of our ministry. I pray that they learn who Jesus is, what He did for us on the cross, and what He is still doing in our lives and in our future. I pray that these children know the Lord as their leader, forgiver, and friend.”

“Second, my goal is to create a passion in volunteers to serve this age group. I pray each volunteer feels equipped, encouraged, and empowered to be the hands and feet of our ministry.”

“Finally, I want each child to feel loved and have fun. I want church to be an adventure, an escape, a welcoming place where they can be themselves. A place where they belong.”

“There are two pieces of scripture that I find myself returning to in my life and in my work. Matthew 19:14 reads, “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” My prayer in ministry is to always let the focus be Jesus. While we love bright colors, fun games, and engaging crafts, I pray that all the “bells and whistles” are merely tools to let the kids see Him and to make Him known. 1 Peter 5:2 says, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them not because you must but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve.” I feel blessed to be entrusted with God’s littlest flock—each special and unique child that is in our ministry.”

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You’ll often see Bri surrounded with friends big and small.

Bri doesn’t come to Galilee alone. She’s got a great partner in her husband, Grant. Bri says, “Grant and I met in 2011 when we were freshman at Liberty. We got married after we graduated, and have lived a couple of different places including Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Grant loves football and FOOD—that’s right. We Joneses LOVE a good meal. Grant works in Reston in IT sales. On Friday nights, you can find us at the movie theater or trying a new restaurant in the area!”

You’ll see Bri and Grant at Galilee each Sunday morning, so introduce yourself and say hello. There will be a special opportunity to do so on February 5 (Super Bowl Sunday), when Galilee will host a special meet and greet in the Children’s Check In area from 8:15-9am and again at 10am between services. There will be coffee and donuts.