Joan Hammons marks 15 years as preschool minister.
Minister to Preschoolers Joan Hammons will be recognized during worship on Sunday, July 10, for her 15th anniversary on Wilshire’s staff.
“I really like getting to be part of helping shape somebody’s faith,” Joan says. “With preschoolers, you really get to lay that foundation.”
Senior Pastor George Mason says, “Joan is an effervescent personality, exuding warmth for preschoolers and their parents. She loves her supportive role in strengthening families in their ability to form faith and security in their youngest children. We are grateful for her passion and spirit.”
While some people, Joan says, may view preschool ministry as merely “taking care of” the littlest ones, “what we’re really doing is shaping their faith.” She continues, “We’ve got a Sunday School curriculum called the ‘God Loves Me’ curriculum. It has 52 Bible stories that always come back to the idea that ‘God always loves me.’ Even if a child moves away from [going to church], deep down in their hearts they’re going to remember this stuff.”
Associate Pastor Darren DeMent says, “Joan lays a good foundation that prepares preschoolers for what Julie Girards teaches them as children and what I can one day teach them as youth.”
Joan and her husband, David, came to Wilshire in 2007 from Fort Worth’s Gambrell Street Baptist Church, where Joan served as preschool and children’s minister. Joan and David, a key member of Wilshire’s video team, are the parents of three adult children — Michael, James and Lydia.
Joan grew up in Jasper, Alabama, near Birmingham, and earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She planned to become a missionary and earned a master’s of religious education degree at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. “Growing up, the only women I saw in ministry were missionaries,” she says. After seminary Joan worked as coordinator of multi-housing ministry and director of storefront ministries with Greater New Orleans Baptist Association.
It was in New Orleans that Joan met David. They married in 1992 and soon moved to Fort Worth for David’s job. The family settled at Gambrell Street, and when that church’s preschool and children’s minister resigned, Joan stepped up to take the job, a part-time position.
Once Joan and David’s children were a bit older, Joan began feeling the call to full-time ministry and discussed it with Gambrell’s pastor, Clyde Glazener, who encouraged her and began putting out the word to his contacts. It wasn’t long before Joan received a call from Wilshire about its open position.
Joan coordinates all ministry at Wilshire for newborns through pre-K, including weekly Sunday School and Worship Care along with special offerings like Preschool Friends Camp, Vacation Bible School and Friday Fun Play Dates. She also serves as supervisor of Wilshire’s Early Childhood Learning Center director, Ramona Randle, and is the staff liaison to the Weekday Education and Preschool Education Committees.
Reflecting on her anniversary, Joan says, “The thing I really enjoy is the relationships with kids and their parents. You get to know them through the years. Some who were preschoolers when I came are now helping in VBS as youth helpers.”
Joan notes that long tenure among ministers and other staff is simply “who Wilshire is.” She adds, “Being at Wilshire is a blessing. We have wonderful people and great kids.”
■ You can drop Joan a note of congratulations at email@example.com.