Introducing Our New Children's Pastor
Last Sunday, we announced that we have called Jon Merkling to become our new Children's Pastor! We believe Jon has the passion, gifting, and heart to lead this ministry into the future and we are excited to have him become part of the team. Learn more about Jon's story and what his role will be below.
Jon hails from the Bluegrass State and graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2007. After college, God led him to Clemson to serve as one of the first Generation Link residents at Crosspoint Church. He and his wife, Meredyth - a Clemson grad - married in 2011 and moved to the Charleston area in 2013. They have two children: Jonathan (5), Abigail (3); and one on the way: Paul (due in December). Jon recently completed his master’s degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He enjoys reading, playing with his kids and cooking with Meredyth.
How did you come to faith in Christ?
I grew up going thinking I was a “good” person because I went to church and did not smoke or drink. However, as I grew older, I began to doubt the existence of God and meanwhile became very bitter and angry, left empty with my supposed morality. As this went on, I grew in my disbelief but was still interested in figuring it out. I desperately wanted to find meaning in my life. One day, during my senior year of high school, I noticed one of my friends talking about a Bible study at his church that was just for guys. I inquired about the study and he invited me to come. I was eager to go because I did not learn much about the Bible in the church I grew up going to. In that group, we studied The Case for Christ. After reading it, I could no longer deny the existence of God and believed that Jesus died, was resurrected and was the only way to God. However, I did not yet trust Christ for my life, for I was still trying to “fix” all the things wrong in my life on my own. I knew I needed to change, but did not really understand how. When I started college that fall, I was invited to a Bible Study led by an older student, who would later become a lifelong mentor. Through his discipleship, I learned about the grace of God, and that the purpose of our lives is to give glory to God (1 Cor. 10:31). I came to understand that I did not have to work to please God, but just needed to give up and put my full trust in Christ. So, 15 years ago this September, I repented and placed my trust in Christ, surrendering to his call to follow him wherever he leads!
What will your role be at Citadel Square?
As the Children’s Pastor, I will oversee our children’s ministry, equipping parents to disciple their kids and continue developing our awesome team of volunteers. I will oversee Sunday operations as well as lead in driving our children’s ministry to match our vision of life on life discipleship in the context of a biblical community with an all people’s mindset. Meredyth and I are very excited to come alongside the families in our church and to “…equip the saints for the work of ministry". (Ephesians 4:12)
What is your hope for Citadel Square?
My hope is that we would continue to foster a culture of love, grace, and fun for our kids and volunteers, and that our families would feel equipped to disciple their children. My hope for our children is that they would come to know God early and live for Jesus for the rest of their life! And, ultimately, for our church, that we would continue to proclaim the gospel of Jesus and that lives would be changed as a result.