We have dubbed this entry to the blog “Back To The Future.” To best understand the O’Dell’s support of the children’s ministry capital campaign we call “GENERATIONS,” one must travel back in time more than 35 years. In 1984 we were members at the church in northwest Huntsville where Nannette grew up. In fact, her parents were almost founding members. Having returned to Huntsville after completing my law school years, it was only natural that we go back to this church. Nannette and I were married there. At 8 years out of school we were the parents of two boys, Denny and Clay at 5 years and 3 years of age. Unfortunately, by this time in 1984 our home church was just beginning its decline in attendance and the children’s program was starting to show evidence of it. In fact, on many Sunday mornings our oldest was in a Sunday school class which included the teacher and him alone. So, we decided to visit other churches with a special interest in children’s programs. We were most impressed with FBC and by the fall of 1985 we felt we were being led to move our membership here.
This was in the Ralph Langley era and when we were introduced on the Sunday we joined, not only did Ralph remember both boys’ names, but he also remembered the name of our cat. In 1985 FBC had just gone through a major capital campaign for the purposes of building the Christian Life Center and the bell tower. Therefore, my children were able to immediately take advantage of the tremendous improvements geared toward families and especially children. They participated in the RA program, played church basketball, enjoyed fall festivals, birthday parties and occasional gym sleepovers. Our youngest son, Patrick was born in 1992, (yeah, I was forty!) and as he grew up he enjoyed the same benefits of the Christian Life Center his older brothers did, maybe even more so.
The point of this O’Dell history lesson is to indicate just how much our family has grown spiritually and physically because of the foresight and forward thinking of Christian members at FBC in deciding to build the Christian Life Center. You should be aware that not one thin dime of the O’Dell’s donations or pledges went into the decision to go forward with the improvements that our family enjoyed during this time. The process was virtually finished when we first joined the church. We are thankful for those dedicated members who recognized the need and the tremendous potential for leading young people to Christ that could result from this campaign. Many of those involved with the decision were parents of children who would directly benefit from the building. However, I know there were many members whose children were grown and gone from the church and may never benefit in a direct way with the construction of a Christian Life Center. I am thankful for such foresight and devotion of those members.
Now as we have embarked on the improvements of the children’s ministry areas, all three of my sons are grown, we have grandchildren, one junior and one senior in high school. I am retired from my vocation of 42 years and Nannette retired from teaching almost 20 years ago. We will never have personal family who will directly benefit from the improvements that are now progressing as a part of the GENERATIONS Campaign. When this 7-million-dollar venture was presented we did not hesitate to join the many dedicated FBC members to pledge. We are now involved with monthly contributions over the three years to fulfill our prayer-led pledge. We are excited to watch what Christ will do with these improvements as we all grow in our faith. The example had been planted for us over 35 years earlier by those committed Christians who recognized the importance of doing what is correct and what Christians are expected to do to benefit future generations of children in formative years as they are led and learn about Jesus Christ. We are thankful for the examples set for us and pray that in some small way we are now setting similar examples for the next generation. Welcome back to the future!
Dennis and Nannette O’Dell