The Joy House ministry was born in the hearts of Steve and Wendy Lowe and Rick and Mary Bell in the mid to late 90’s, while they were working with teens through a local church in Pickens County. The Lord blessed them to share their lives with troubled and hurting teens, and through this experience they came to realize that so many of them needed more than could be offered through their position in the church.
After discovering other successful Christian residential programs that were working to restore teens and families, they felt that the Lord was calling them to begin a similar ministry here in North Georgia along the 575/515 corridor. However, they realized this was a task that only God could accomplish.
Therefore, they began to pray for the Lord to confirm this call, by bringing alongside of them, other key community leaders who could aid in bringing this vision to reality. The Lord faithfully provided and this group met as the first board in December of 2000. There was no money, no staff, and no facility. The Lord moved in a mighty way over the next several months and their doors and hearts were opened to the first teen and family in July 2001. This journey began in a leased facility on the south end of Jasper.
The vision from the beginning was to have a campus in Pickens County that would allow the Joy House to eventually serve 40 to 50 teens and families. Toward that end, in 2005, the Lord provided the debt-free purchase of nearly 30 acres for a future campus nestled in the foothills of the mountains. The existing home on the property was renovated in 2006 and a second set of house parents were hired to work with the young men and they were moved to the campus in July of 2006.
The first major capital campaign began in the fall of 2006. During 2007, the major infrastructure was completed along with a new home for the girl’s. The terrace level of this home was designed to provide the needed office and school space allowing the entire operation to be moved to the campus at the beginning of 2008. With the addition of this home, the ministry expanded to serve eight young ladies and four young men residentially.
The next phase of this ongoing campaign is to complete a matching boy’s home, which will have a specially designed school space on the terrace level. The foundation has been laid, but in keeping with their debt-free philosophy, building will only continue as they have the available dollars. At its completion, eight young men and eight young ladies can be served.
Since its inception, The Joy House has been privileged to partner with many teens and families across North Georgia to see Christ’s hope and healing brought to them. The vision still remains the same to continue the expansion of the ministry in God’s time, allowing them to open their doors and hearts to more hurting teens and families.