In the working-class town of Johnstone, outside Glasgow, church plant Dimity Street Church were praying for someone to help full time with the work.
Joanne Sneddon was already helping her father Bobby with various activities while looking for work when the team realised the answer was right in front of them.
We spoke to CPI’s longest member Bobby Sneddon and his daughter Joanne about having her dad as a boss.
After the gospel hall Bobby attended in Johnstone closed its doors, he and a few others worked as volunteers to keep the children’s and youth work going. A year later he was made redundant from his job at British Rail and moved into full-time ministry.
“Joanne has always been heavily involved from her early teenage years. She has a real heart for the work,” Bobby said. “She has come on board at a time of renewed vision for the church after a number of difficult years which GLO and CPI helped us through.”
Joanne said, “My dad was the first person who really encouraged me (maybe pushed me) to stand up the front and deliver a children’s talk. He has always encouraged me, and I have an honest and encouraging church family who help me.”
The main focus of the church is children and families. Joanne said, “We reach hundreds of children each month through working in three schools in the town. Our school work includes religious education classes, school assemblies and after school clubs. We also have a toddlers group, a youth club, a club for children in high school and a club for children in primary years one to four.”
Joanne studied primary teaching at university but before graduating decided she didn’t want to go into that profession. “I’ve always loved working with children. I spent time working for Scripture Union Scotland and the local council,” she said.
Bobby said the main focus of the ministry is evangelism which has led to a lesser focus on discipleship. “Joanne has had a lot of peer mentors in the church and is focusing on developing relationships with young people in the community from their first contact with the church as toddlers right through to adulthood.”
“We started coffee and chat over a year ago to reach the older age group and those who are lonely. There is now a core group who come along and now four of them are coming to church,” Joanne said.
“It’s lovely to see young people initiate new activities and have the vision to keep it going,” adds Bobby.
Joanne said the best part of working with her dad is that they have similar thoughts and ideas and work well together especially planning and preparing events and schools work. “The worst part is he is more honest with me than others because I am his daughter,” she laughs.
Bobby says, “It’s brilliant to have Joanne on the team and we haven’t fallen out in two-and-a-half years.”
Joanne’s hope for the future is “to be a faithful servant and continue to move forward in God’s work, and not be afraid of changes that will come as my dad looks towards handing over some responsibilities. I want to keep trying to reach the people of Johnstone through a variety of activities, for example we are starting ‘messy church’ next month which is a new venture for us.”
Bobby and Joanne both say it was a real step of faith to bring her onto the staff but God knew what he was doing and they have no regrets.
For more information on Dimity Street Church visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/dimitystreetchurchinjohnstone
The main focus of the church is children and families. We reach hundreds of children each month through working in three schools in the town.