She grew up just behind the church she now calls home and remembers visiting Pinnix Drug Store as a student at East Forsyth High School. The long-time Kernersville resident also raised her two children here and frequently makes the drive from Winston-Salem to be with her eight grandchildren.
Now, Linda Sieppel has returned to the church she watched be built to serve as the minister of children and missions, and she considers it to be a dream come true.
“I love children and being around them,” said Sieppel, who has worked in youth ministry for most of her career. “I love to sit and listen to their stories because they have it all figured out. Their answers to life’s toughest questions are so simple, yet profound.”
Sieppel said she will work with children up to 12 years of age in a variety of programs, including Kids Café, the Backpack Program and Sunday school. She will help maintain the Community Garden the church started last year and hopes to foster relationships with local schools.
Sieppel said she believes wholeheartedly that children should be valued and she wants the young faces of First Baptist Church to feel part of the family. Just last Sunday, she had them greet congregational members during the service to share their New Year’s Resolutions. She said smiles filled the room.
“I’ve also begun to teach the children about the importance of love and being kind to one another. When I asked one of the young men how he thought the world would be different if everyone loved one another, he said there wouldn’t be any need for guns. That touched my heart,” Sieppel said.
Sieppel has worked with children of all ages but said elementary age is her favorite. She said they love to have fun and she never stops learning from them. Sieppel believes children are never too young to be the light of God, which is why she makes her curriculum as hands-on as possible.
Sieppel said it can be as simple as saying “hello” to other members of the church or filling shoeboxes full of goodies for the homeless. As long as the children are involved and have something they can take ownership in, they will learn that they can make a difference, she said.
First Baptist Church Senior Pastor Dr. Stephen Martin said Sieppel has been there a few days but said it feels like she has been part of the family for years. He said they began searching for a new children’s minister in the fall and every time they met to discuss their options, Sieppel’s name was at the top of the list.
“We are very excited to have her here and to have such a loving lady here to help us serve,” Martin said. “She has a contagious energy and a great sense of faith. We think she will be a perfect match to help our young families.”
Sieppel decided to pursue the job after hearing about the opening from a high school friend. She said she worked for many years at a Moravian church and was delighted to make the move. She said everyone at First Baptist Church has welcomed her with open arms, and it means a lot to her to know she can share this experience with her family.
Her daughter is a physician’s assistant in Greensboro and her son, T. B. Osborne, is with the Kernersville Police Department. In addition, Sieppel remarried six months ago and said she enjoys spending quality with her husband, Bill.
“It’s been an exciting year for me, and I am very grateful for this opportunity,” Sieppel said. “I am eager to learn all about the children and to discover my role within the church. I feel very much at home.”