Ron Oakley - EBC Athens

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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.
From 1975 – 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 family.
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.
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