Deeply Rooted

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Eunice Miller’s 31 years in children’s ministry have
borne abundant fruit in Fort Collins, Colorado
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After 31 years in the same house, Robert and Eunice Miller are
moving. “We moved to Fort Collins 31 years ago, and our house was
on the edge of town,” says Eunice. “The town just kind of grew up
around us.”

Their move is a kind of metaphor for Eunice Miller’s lifetime
service in children’s ministry. The Millers have faithfully paid
off their mortgage, they’ve built living histories with neighbors,
and they’ve chosen contentment over consumerism.

In the same way, Eunice has planted her life at First Christian
Church in Fort Collins, Colorado, and has watched Jesus’ young
followers pop up all around her. It’s Eunice’s commitment to
establishing deep roots and her willingness to pull up old roots
that need new soil that have borne abundant fruit in her
ministry.

In 31 years of children’s ministry-both as a volunteer and as a
professional-Eunice has seen many changes in children, families,
and churches. But the primary thing that hasn’t changed in Eunice’s
life is a dogged determination to remain faithful to her Lord, to
stay current, to learn more, and to understand the people God has
entrusted to her to reach and teach.

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Eunice Miller is deeply rooted. Her life reflects the words in
Psalms 1:1-3: “Happy are those who don’t listen to the wicked, who
don’t go where the sinners go, who don’t do what evil people do.
They love the Lord’s teachings, and they think about those
teachings day and night. They are strong, like a tree planted by a
river. The tree produces fruit in season, and its leaves don’t die.
Everything they do will succeed.”

LIKE A TREE
Eunice’s church has faced its most critical challenge recently.
Three years ago, the man who had pastored First Christian Church
for 29 years retired. The church has yet to replace him. The church
membership has dwindled from a whopping 1,500 to a faithful
300.

“Many people have become discouraged and have left our church for
other faith communities,” says Eunice. “I feel the loss as though
they were blood relatives. At the same time, I must carry on my
ministry — with the added duties — and try to encourage others
who are also mourning the losses. It’s difficult to mourn with
those who mourn and yet be an encourager who’s trying to help
others work through the situation. This experience has brought me
to greater reliance on God through prayer and Scripture
reading.”

The years have mellowed Eunice and enabled her to see issues from
more than one perspective. Rather than polarize herself, she
lovingly seeks to understand each person’s viewpoint. This balance
in her life has made her a shady respite for emotionally ravaged
church members.

PLANTED BY A RIVER
There are three factors that Eunice cites as her secrets to
longevity. “First and foremost is God’s call on my life,” she says.
“Since I feel the Lord spent years drawing me into the ministry, I
feel he will also remove that call when he has other plans for me.
In the meantime, he has given me a burden for children and has
provided the wisdom and energy to accomplish whatever needs to be
done.

“Second is the support I’ve received from my husband who’s always
provided support by handling more details in our home, caring for
our sons, and helping with everything from set-building for events
to substituting for absentee teachers. He has also listened to many
hours of my spouting whatever’s on my mind.

“Third, over the years I’ve learned to manage my time better. When
I work, I work; and when I play, I play.”

No one is immune to insecurity attacks. “Throughout my years of
ministry, I’ve felt education and training are important to growth
in the ministry,” Eunice says. “I’ve regretted not going to a
Christian college for a Christian education degree.”

But that hasn’t kept Eunice from learning. Over the years, she’s
taken courses at seminaries and attended seminars, workshops, and
other short courses. She’s also an avid reader of Christian
education books and magazines.

“I firmly believe that when a person ceases to learn, he or she
begins to die. With the advent of new technology, resources, and
trends in culture, it’s essential to keep updating.”
     

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