This week I had the privilege of interviewing Jennifer McGee, wife of Pastor Josh at First Baptist Church in Clute, TX. The church recently completed an adorable project that enhances their weekly service and allows them to better support their congregation through the children’s ministry.
Jen D: Hi! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to chat. Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Jen M: Hi, Jennifer! Thanks for taking time to highlight our nursery. I’m the pastor’s wife here at First Baptist Clute. We have served here in some capacity for the last 6 years. We have 5 kiddos. 2 boys who are 10 and 8, a girl who is 7 and two twin girls who just turned 5. Our life has been super busy and blessed these past few years. I have felt a passion for ministry since I was a teenager. I enjoy helping my husband in any way possible. I write birthday and anniversary cards to church members, help him edit letters, teach a class weekly, run our church Facebook page, help plan and decorate for events and handle any projects that he wants to have completed that he doesn’t have time to handle. I also love to craft and blog. Life is busy but so, so blessed.
Jen D: Goodness, that’s a lot. I don’t know how you do it! This past weekend, our mutual friend (and my neighbor) Tamara was telling me about how much she has enjoyed helped being a part of the team that has pulled together the NEW nursery! I am honestly in awe! Y’all have really poured so much love into this beautiful space! I can’t even imagine how many hours were devoted to this project, but wow it’s lovely. I would love to know how the inspiration for the nursery came to be?
Jen M: Several years ago, we saw a big need to redo our nursery. The carpet had no padding underneath and was super hard for babies to be on, especially if they ever took a little tumble. Also, your feet would be solid black if you walked across it barefoot. We didn’t just want to replace the carpet and slap some paint on the walls. We wanted to do it right. My husband can be very visionary, which is a great quality for a Pastor to have. He’s not content with status quo or being stagnant as a church. He’s constantly envisioning ways that our church could improve. This is God’s house. Back in Bible times, they would overlay parts of the Temple with gold and they used very expensive woods because the Lord deserved the best. We knew the gold overlay wasn’t possible, haha, but we wanted to take care of God’s house. There were some unused spaces as well as some rooms that we could relocate right next to the nursery so we decided to knock down some walls and make the space an entire nursery wing. At first it was just ideas tossed back and forth. My husband was super busy juggling everything that is on his plate each week. Because of this, he asked if I could kind of run with this project. With the help of our Treasurer, Gene Burke, and my dear friend, Lisa Sutton, we took off on a nursery reno journey that would take a little longer than we thought.
After a long time of simply trying to find the right contractor, God sent us the best contractor we could ever have imagined named James Mills. He is “retired” and works on church projects now. We sat down and showed him our thoughts, went through the back-and-forths of the blueprint process, discussed budgets, went through the church voting process, took multiple trips to Lowes, had lots of meetings, etc. The Lord really directed our steps because if we had just done a simple reno, we would have had so many uncovered hazards. We dealt with asbestos behind some of the walls, dry rot, leaking windows, uneven floors, no ground wiring, fire hazards left and right, improper drainage, an improperly supported second floor…you name it, we probably experienced it. Because of all of this, the process from demo day to the day we revealed the finished nursery was about 6 months long. Within this timeframe, our church also got all new windstorm certified windows. This will help avoid more leaks and dry rot in the future.
Towards the end of this project, we sought the help of my friends, Sara St. Clair and Tamara West. They spent countless hours with us as we placed orders for necessities and took lots of late-night shopping trips. We ran all over town looking for deals or making returns. We were all so exhausted, but yet so excited all at once. My only sad thought is that my kiddos are now too old for the nursery! haha! I couldn’t begin to name the other individuals from our church who came out and gave of their time for projects, who donated their money or items, who bought things on our Amazon WishList, who installed and put together furniture and who watched our own kiddos so we could work more quickly. We are so grateful for each of them. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for a church that loves children this much. This was no small project. The hundreds of volunteer hours and even the funds that it took to make this a reality was no small thing. God has been with us the entire time and has blessed us beyond what we could have ever imagined.
Jen D: It really takes so much work behind the scenes to make renovations like this happen, it’s not a quick job either, and the commitment can be exhausting but it’s SO rewarding- look what God has made happen in this space! What is the church’s vision for the future for this space?
Jen M: Babies have been in abundance since we first started working at FBC 6 years ago. Haha. This is an awesome thing. I want our moms (and of course visitors) to know that they are leaving their babies in a safe, clean environment. Under the direction of our new nursery coordinator, Sara St. Clair, we have implemented new measures to ensure cleanliness, we are using a sign-in and sticker system, we are performing background checks on all workers…these things are just extra precautions that keep us above reproach. We are really a very homey, down-to-earth, Southern church. However, we have a responsibility to make changes where necessary that keeps us in a constant state of improvement. We want to be the best stewards of God’s people and finances that we can be. We pray that this new space will be used for God’s glory. He deserves every bit of it.
Jen D: That’s amazing…wow. So much went into this project and God was clearly there every little (and big!) step of the way. I know that FBC will be a blessing to those littles! As a mama, I love the emphasis on cleanliness, and the no-shoes rule makes me so happy! Thank you so much for this interview, Jen! It’s such an adorable space and I can’t wait to her how God uses this space in your ministry!
Jen D: One last question, because I know you’re a mama. What’s your best piece of advice for a new, first-time mama?
Jen M: Sleep when you can and enjoy those moments. Being a first-time mom was one of the hardest things I’d ever experienced and no one can really prepare you for the weight you feel of keeping another human being alive for the first time. Seek God’s wisdom as you make choices, lower your pride and allow others to help when they ask, sleep when the baby sleeps (those projects can wait), and take intentional time to prioritize your spouse. Breathe. Soon that difficult time will be just a memory that brings you a smile so try to pause and enjoy it.
Jen D: That’s some solid advice! I know there is mama that needed to read that. I completely agree and want to add, don’t be afraid to ask for help, mamas! If you are struggling, it’s ok, it’s normal – we ALL struggled one way or another.
Jen D: Thank you again, Jen, it’s been lovely getting to know you, and hear a little bit about FBC! Y’all should go check out FBC this Sunday in Clute! Their service hours are: 9:45 AM, 11 AM and 6 PM on Sundays and 6:30-8:00 PM on Wednesday evenings.
They have the sweetest nursery, just unveiled this past weekend! Now on to the pictures, because y’all know I couldn’t resist! <3
P.S. I really love getting to do these, so if you want to be featured, let me know! 🙂