Ron Oakley- Minister of Children & Preschool
Being born in
Birmingham and growing up there, I attended West Haven Methodist
Church, right around the corner from West End High School, from which I
graduated in 1970. It was at West Haven that I trusted Christ as my
Savior as a young teenager. Years later I followed the Lord’s example
in believer’s baptism. One of the people who had an impact on my
life as a teenager was David Atkins. Bro. David was pastor at West
Haven when I was saved. During one of his visits to our home, I was
outside shooting basketball – unquestionably my favorite thing to do at
that time. Bro. David came outside and shot with me for nearly an
hour. I was amazed that he cared enough to do that. That single
event helped shape my image of ministry and I never realized it at the
time. I only saw that in looking back on that time after God called me
in the ministry.
When I enrolled at the University of Alabama, I began attending
Calvary Baptist Church where I was involved in their exceptional
college ministry. It was there that the Lord began speaking to my
heart regarding ministry, but it was not until my graduation in May
1975 that I truly submitted to His leadership in that area of my
life. I accepted the call to Emmanuel to serve as their “Summer Youth
Director” on May 25, 1975. It has indeed been a long summer, because I
have been on staff at Emmanuel ever since that day.
My role at Emmanuel has been that of a bivocational pastor. I
am currently in the middle of my thirty-eighth year of employment with
the Athens City Schools. Presently I serve as the Guidance
Counselor at Brookhill Elementary School and also as the Head Boys
Soccer Coach at Athens High School. God has used my love for
teaching, working with students, and sports as avenues through which to
minister both at EBC and ACS.
It was in May 1975 when I first met, apart from Jesus, the love
of my life and my best friend. Leah and I have been married for 35
years (June 17, 1978). God has richly blessed us with 2 children.
Laura is an RN at Decatur-Morgan Hospital and is married to Jamie
Smith. Chris is the managing partner of the Iron Tribes Fitness
facility in Chattanooga. He is married to Melody Cornutt and they
have a precious son, our first grandchild, Graham.
– 2000 I served as the Student Pastor. Since 2000 I have served at
Emmanuel as the Pastor of Family Ministries and Education. In that
role, we look for ways to honor Jesus and make Him known both within
our church family and in our community at large. Two other areas of
ministry that I have the privilege of working in are missions and
education. Emmanuel was a missional church even before that term was
so readily being used. We have had many members who have a special
place in their hearts for mission work. God has led us to short-term
mission trips to Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Vermont, West
Virginia, Mississippi, Virginia, and Louisiana, in addition to many
projects within the state of Alabama.
Currently I am
working with a team that leads our small group ministry at Emmanuel.
We are just now finishing our fourth year of small group. The
fellowship and community that has intentionally grown through these
groups has taught me much and enhanced my walk with the Emmanuel
I absolutely love
spending time with my wife, children, and our grandson. It doesn’t
really matter how that time is spent, that is my favorite thing to
do. God has richly blessed me with a birth family and a church
family in this journey of life. I appreciate what a work He has done
and is doing in my life through each of them. Each day I live I
learn a little more about God’s grace – the impact it continues to have
on my life and the overwhelming need I have for it on a daily basis.
I have many
favorite passages of scripture. One of the most precious to me is
Esther 4:14 where Mordecai says to Queen Esther… “Yet who knows whether
you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” All time is
in God’s hands. May we glorify Him as we walk together.