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Leading the Way in Development

We have a new Director of Development! Jay Boyd, who joined us in October of 2013 as a development officer, now leads the Development team in this new role, as of January 1 of this year.

As Jay was growing up in Florida, he experienced life in ministry at an early age, as his dad was a youth pastor and his mother was a staff member at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes (FBCH). Thinking back, Jay said, “I spent countless days on the Tallahassee campus of FBCH, and my first job as a high school student was on that campus, maintaining the grounds and teaching some of the boys and girls how to work and perform simple chores to earn an allowance. These experiences had a tremendous impact on me, and I would not be where I am today if it were not for my parents’ influence.”

After Jay graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Samford University, he and his wife, Lauren, moved to Louisville, Kentucky, for him to attend seminary. It was during that time that God used several experiences to point Jay back to the ministry of serving children and families that he had grown familiar with as a child and teen.

He attended a conference in 2009, where he met Bob Dewhurst, who was then serving as ABCH Vice President of Development. Bob spoke with Jay about Development opportunities with us, and gave him his business card. Jay says that he left that conference without any doubt in his mind that God had called him to serve children from hard places, and he had equipped him to do this in the Office of Development.

Jay worked for the Baptist Children’s Homes in Illinois from 2011-2013 before reconnecting with Bob Dewhurst, who gave him the opportunity to join ABCH.

We are so thankful God brought Jay here to serve alongside us, and so excited for him and his new role on staff! In a recent opportunity to hear from Jay about his family and his time at ABCH, we captured a few of his thoughts!

How do you feel you’ve grown in your time at ABCH so far?

I’m in my 4th year at ABCH and, thanks to several key leaders in this ministry who have taken time to invest in me, I feel like I’ve grown a lot in a short time! It would be impossible to list all the ways that God has been revealing areas in my life that need improvement, but there are two things that stand out among the rest.

First, I think I’ve learned to listen better since I first started; Certainly with donors, but also just with people in general. In order for me to be successful in Development, I need to bring energy and empathy with me to every visit with a donor. I usually don’t have trouble with the energy part, and I’m learning more and more that empathy is absolutely crucial. Empathy requires me to be quiet and listen. Not just with my ears, but with my heart. I have a long way to go, but I’m further along now than I was when I started!

The second is prioritizing. I’ve gotten better at learning what is important compared to what’s both important and urgent. Now I’m learning how to do this more than ever since I’ve transitioned into the Director role—still plenty of room for improvement, though.

I’m grateful for the leadership at ABCH and how they have invested time and resources to develop me as a leader.

What are some of the most fulfilling things you’ve experienced?

That’s a tough question, only because there are several things. I’ll share a few . . .

One highlight of my year for each of the last three years, has been attending Camp of Champions. I love spending that time with the kids and seeing our foster families. I also love seeing staff in other ministry locations that I, unfortunately, don’t get to see often enough.

I’ve been able to meet the most selfless and generous people in the state of Alabama, in my role as a Development Officer. I’ve really enjoyed every minute I’ve gotten to spend with them. It has been extremely enjoyable meeting so many awesome people. 

My job gives me the opportunity to ask God’s people to make financial gifts to the children and families we serve at ABCH. I’ve seen donors in all walks of life, and in all stages of spiritual maturity, grapple with the idea of giving or keeping what God has entrusted to them. Watching someone joyfully agree to make a major gift to ABCH and seeing the joy they receive from the grace of giving . . . it really is inspiring! Dare I say, that they have far more impact on me than I could ever have on them.  

Tell us a little about your family!

God gave me an incredible woman, and she is the best thing about me. I realize every man says that, and they should say that . . . I’m just really glad I can say it because it’s true!

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Lauren and I were married on November 22, 2008—a day I will never forget. Since then, we’ve moved four times and God has given us two beautiful children. My son, Brayden, turned five in December, and Isabella Grace will turn three in March. They are far more than I deserve, and I’m truly grateful. 

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Is there any advice or scripture you’ve received that has been especially impactful in your life?

The best advice I ever received was from my parents, but it was their actions, not so much their words, that were especially impactful. They encouraged me to pursue Jesus and to find my calling in life, and to pursue it wholeheartedly. They modeled a Christian marriage and they were the same people at home as they were at church. Their example and influence is immeasurable, and I think words of “advice” would fall flat compared to what they showed my brother and me each day in how they lived and treated each other and other people.

What do you most look forward to in this new role?

I’m really excited about leading a team. Our Development team is responsible for raising over $6 million of the nearly $12 million annual budget for ABCH. Most days I’m excited and confident about the responsibility of leading our Development office, but I would be lying if I said that I have never felt the weight and pressure that comes with this added responsibility. With that said, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I prayed for this opportunity, and God, in his kindness and with much grace, has given me this gift. I don’t deserve it but I am grateful for where he has brought me at ABCH. This really is the best Baptist childcare agency in the country!

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