Seeking the lost, discipling the found ::: Game Changer Carmen Caldwell

KAY BRUMBELOW :::

Carmen Caldwell may not have grown up in Griffin, but she certainly has a heart for its citizens, especially the children. A Georgia native, she grew up in Albany and received her undergraduate degree from Albany State. Shortly afterward, she moved to Washington to pursue her Master’s degree in Public Administration from The University of Washington.

While content in her life in ministry in Seattle, she began to feel God pulling her back to Georgia in early 2007, though she didn’t share these thoughts with anyone. Her father, a pastor of a church in Hampton, invited her for a visit, and while here, informed her of a new church they hoped to open in Spalding County. Carmen knew this was the sign she looking for. Four months later, she moved to Griffin and became the youth pastor of New Mercy Baptist Church in November 2007.

Carmen thrives in her current role. She embodies the church’s mission statement of  “going out in the power of Jesus Christ to seek the lost, disciple the found, and teach them how to apply God’s word to everyday life.” She works closely with the youth, inspiring them to participate in volunteering at the church’s  food pantry and clothes closet.

She involves the youth in New Mercy’s  Anne Street Elementary after school program for Kindergarten students.  Carmen strives to integrate the youth and adult members of the church, involving them in worship together as often as she can. “This allows the adults in the church to see that the teens are actually humans who can handle responsibility and share their gifts with others,” Carmen shares.

She has always had a heart for children and youth because she personally knows their needs. As a child, her father was addicted to drugs. As a person who lived in that world, she identifies closely with many teens today, especially the young, angry girls. “I was that girl. I understand where that anger stems from and can meet them at that place,” Carmen shares. This experience allows her an “in” with these girls. They listen to her and feel that she does truly understand their plight. Carmen adds, “In an area of such blight and poverty, I want to expose these girls to another way of living that is truly possible.”

As founder and lead consultant of Life Fulfilled Coaching and Consulting, she extends her mentorship to adults as well. She offers both personal and professional coaching, as well as team building, improving interpersonal communication, and developing accountability systems. Carmen’s goal is to be a “conduit of God’s grace and love to the community, and a voice to those that feel they have none.”

Carmen’s work with children extends far beyond the walls of New Mercy. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Griffin Alumnae Chapter and serves as the Chair of Social Action. She also serves on the Spalding Collaborative Board as Vice Chair, as well as participating in the Youth Advisory Council as Adult Advisor.

In addition to her other outreach, Carmen is the coordinator of Kid’s Explosion, a city-wide Vacation Bible School. This organization is an interdenominational ministry that reaches the children and youth across Spalding County. “Kid’s Explosion involves a great partnership of churches in our community to make this event happen each year. We are currently in our 9th year, and see over 250 kids during this VBS.  We are in great need of volunteers in so many areas this year,” Carmen adds.

The VBS will be held July 8-11 at Anne Street Elementary from 7-9 p.m. Her organizations currently have a huge need for men’s clothing for men transitioning from incarceration to the workplace. “These men need suits, ties, dress slacks and shirts for job interviews and employment,” Carmen states. Food donations for the food pantry are always needed, as well as volunteers in the community that can expose the youth to career information, field trips and life experiences. To volunteer or donate your time or items, please contact Carmen at 770-227-2422. Ω

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