Steve Lowe is the Executive Director and one of the original co-founders of the Joy House ministry. Steve has lived in Pickens County all of his life and has worked with teenagers for over 15 years with various ministries in the county. After seeing and ministering to broken families firsthand and taking into his own home a teenager from a broken family, he knew that something needed to be done.
Steve began to envision a ministry in Pickens County that would bring, in his own words, “Christ’s hope and healing to teens and their families and break the cycle of hurt for future generations, allowing them to understand God’s best for their life”. He had hopes for “a place where God would be recognized as real and relevant and people would give glory to Him for the great things He has done.”
After meeting several people with the same passion and desire to see God move in broken families across our area, Steve’s vision turned into reality, and the Joy House ministry was formed.
Steve’s ministry as Executive Director is to facilitate and administrate the operations and procedures of the Joy House ministry to its staff as well as its residents. He’s responsible for making sure all the resources are in place for the entire staff to carry out the ministry to the teens and families they serve. He also spends time mentoring and guiding his staff as a spiritual influence and a close friend. Some of Steve’s hobbies are playing basketball and/or tennis, spending time in the Word of God, reading, and spending time with his family. He is a proud graduate of The Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.
Administrative Assistant / Intake Coordinator
Pam Layfield serves the Joy House as the Administrative Assistant and Intake Coordinator. Pam has lived in Pickens County for 16 years. In her early years she went to church and knew about Christ, but did not live her life for Christ. In 2002, she went through a divorce and began to seek the Lord, giving her life to Christ completely in 2003. In October of 2004, she attended a women’s retreat called Tres Dias where she was really impacted by the Lord and felt that she needed to make Christ the center of everything she does.
She has been serving the Lord vigorously ever since. She began volunteering at the Joy House soon after, and after volunteering for two years accepted a position as the administrative assistant. Although her responsibilities are mostly behind a desk, she says that her heart is always “with the teens”, who inspire her, along with the Lord, to do the work that she does. She loves her job and still volunteers by relieving the house parents so that she can spend time with the teens. She says it’s a JOY to be a part of something so great!
She has one daughter, Amy, who was just recently married. Pam also enjoys spending time with her two dogs Sierra and Bailey, reading, and doing interpretive dance during the worship services at her church. She is a valuable resource and a great friend to those of us here at the Joy House.
Charles & Casey Caudell
Girls’ House Parents
Charles and Casey Caudell are house parents for the girls at The Joy House. Before they moved to Jasper, Charles and Casey were children’s pastors at New Covenant Worship Center in Athens, Georgia. The Caudells had also served in volunteer positions with both children and teens over the years. As the couple began to seek the Lord, they moved into the children’s pastor role at New Covenant. During this time, the Caudell’s vision became clear as they worked with a very diverse group of children. They were deeply moved by the affections and needs of the children and their parents. God instilled a growing desire in their hearts to minster to broken and hurting children and their families.
Just before they were offered the position as children’s pastors, Charles and Casey began to hear from the Lord. They had a vision of a place much like The Joy House, yet they had no idea such a place existed. They also could not imagine how the hand of God would move them into such a place.
After serving nearly two years as children’s pastors, a new door began to open…the door to The Joy House. Charles came across an advertisement for house parents at The Joy House in Jasper, Georgia. The couple immediately felt this was exactly the type of ministry God was calling them into. The Caudells were amazed at how God ordered their steps into this ministry. After being hired to serve in this role, Charles and Casey realize what a blessing these teens are to them. They are each so special in their own way. As these youth go through their own struggles and hardships, the Caudells remind them of such verses as Jeremiah 29:11, “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” Their passion is to show these hurting teens, the love of Christ and help them find their true identity in Him.
Charles and Casey were married on May 1, 1998. They have two daughters, Hannah, age 6, and Kaylee, age 10. They enjoy spending time together as a family. They love biking, hiking, and especially camping. Charles loves both playing and watching most kinds of sports. He really enjoys a good game of basketball with the girls at The Joy House. Casey loves to fish and especially loves cat fishing as well as trout fishing. She also really enjoys her times in the kitchen baking with her own girls as well as the girls at The Joy House. Charles and Casey also enjoy homeschooling their children. Homeschooling enables the Caudells to spend time together as a family during the day. They take to heart Proverbs 22:6 which says, “train up your children in the ways of the Lord: and when they are old, they will not depart from it.” They continue to carry this model throughout The Joy House as they help “train” these teens during this season of their young lives.
Allan & Beth Black
Boys' House Parents
Allan and Beth Black are the houseparents in the boys’ home. Before coming to the Joy House, they lived in the Memphis, TN area where they served as houseparents for six years on a 300 acre working cattle and horse ranch. A few years ago, a desire was placed in their hearts to not only work with teenage boys but also their families. It was exciting for them to see how the Lord used different people and circumstances to prepare the way to join ministry at the Joy House in July 2011.
Allan was saved during his early teenage years and he soon felt Gods calling on his life to be in full time ministry. Beth was saved as a young child and she, too, dedicated herself to ministry as a teenager. Allan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Missions from Tennessee Temple University and a diploma from Word of Life Bible Institute. Beth holds an Associate’s degree in Secretarial Science and Bible from Clearwater Christian College. They met in Florida while working at a Christian conference center and have been married since 1997.
The Blacks knew God had a special plan for their family when He blessed them with two children after struggling for years with infertility. They believe that opening their home to teenagers who are facing difficult family circumstances is the best way for them to give thankfulness back to God. Allowing the boys to see them live out their convictions midst the ups and downs in their everyday life can sometimes be challenging. But it is rewarding for them to share Biblical hope and real-life answers to the tough questions and confusing messages the world is sending them about who they are, what they should do or should be, and what it means to place their faith in God. A verse they like is Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget about what’s happened. Don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I am about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out, don’t you see it?”
Allan and Beth have two children: Matthew and Lauren. Quality family time usually takes place outdoors in activities such as hiking, biking, geo-caching and playing with their dog. They also like to play video games on the Xbox & Wii. Allan is a NFL fan and also likes hunting, fishing and most other outdoor sports. Beth’s hobbies are photography, scrapbooking, flower gardening and making creative birthday cakes. Their family also enjoys getting involved in community mission projects & church outreaches.
Director of Education
Ron Rucker is the newest addition to our staff joining us as director of The Joy House Academy. Ron is the founder and pastor of Cornerstone Church, a non denominational congregation established in 1996. Ron had this to say: “Why would anyone add more work to an already busy life as a husband, father, grandfather and pastor of a great Church family? I have been an observer, supporter and friend of the Joy House since it began. Now, I can be part of this team where God is at work. I do not want to rust out; I want to burn out for God’s work. My wife Lea is the real reason that I can take this position. She is taking on the administrative duties so I can be free to teach and supervise. I am so thankful for her support. The elders and congregation of Cornerstone are allowing me to expand our ministry. What a great congregation!”
Ron brings years of teaching experience as an Assistant Professor teaching in the Business Administration Department at Tennessee Temple University. He is, also, a former Executive with Equifax. “I feel like the great imposter! However, I come to this position trusting God to equip my wife and me to make a difference in the lives of these students.” Ron enjoys Ham Radio as a hobby, and is installing a radio station at the Joy House as part of the Physical Science Lab.
Ron has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from West Virginia State University, his Master of Business Administration Degree is from the University of Tennessee, and his Master of Ministry is from Temple Baptist Theological Seminary, Chattanooga, TN.
Brenna is our newest full time teacher at the Joy House. She was born in Georgia, and has lived here all of her life. She was introduced to the Lord as a child, but it wasn’t until high school that she became saved. Brenna recently decided to live her life for the Lord, and rededicated her life to Him. Not soon after, she heard about a possible part time position being available, and was hired at the end of February 2010. She has since been able to work in the classroom full time, and that is an opportunity she is very excited about!
Brenna has a sincere passion for helping others realize the love of Christ and how He can change lives. “I am still realizing how He is constantly working in my life, and the lives of those around me. Ultimately, I want the families and students to understand how much they’re loved by the King of Kings.”
Brenna got married in 2008, and she and her husband, Bobby, live in Jasper. She received her education degree from Kennesaw State University in 2008, and her husband is a Cobb County Firefighter. Some of her interests include scrap booking, touring any historic site, and spending as much time with her family as possible.
“I feel so blessed to be a part of the Joy House, and I know the Lord is doing some great things here.”
Director of Therapy
Darren Lane is one of the newest additions to our staff here at the Joy House and has joined us as a counselor to our teens and families. Darren has lived in Pickens County for over 31 years. Having grown up in a non-Christian environment at home, Darren wasn’t introduced to church until he was 16 years old. He was married at a young age, however through struggles in his marriage he came to the Lord when he was 23 years old. Since then, he has strived to imitate Christ in his life by serving Him and serving his family. He says that “Christianity isn’t an all out sprint…the race that I run is a long distance marathon.”
Darren came to the Joy House because of his passion to minister to youth and their families through Godly and Biblical counseling. He says that “Christian counseling is a passion that stirs deep within my soul and has been a clearly defined direction and purpose for my life.” He enjoys riding bikes, lifting weights, and in the warmer months loves to walk with his wife behind their home after dinner. Most of all, he says that “Simply spending time with my family is the ‘hobby’ I look forward to the most.”
Darren has a B.S. from Kennesaw State University in Psychology and currently holds a position as Music Minister and Worship Leader at Cool Springs Baptist Church in Jasper, Georgia.
Director of Maintenance & Facilities
Bob Olsen has worked with the Joy House for over four years and now serves as our Director of Maintenance and Facilities. Having two teenagers of his own, he understands the issues that teens face today and loves to work with the teenagers in our program by encouraging them with words of wisdom, teaching them with words of knowledge, and providing many outdoor activities for them to do.
Bob was saved in 1990 when Christ brought him out of a lifestyle of alcohol addiction among other issues in his life. He serves as a great testimony and example to our teenagers and a great and valuable friend to our staff here at the Joy House. Bob is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Steven’s Point with a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry.