There was new life at New Life Community Church last Sunday, when Pastor Nichole “Nicci” Moroney took the reins of the church’s children’s ministry.
Head Pastor Thomas McCulley is elated: “I am a failure at reaching the whole family, and I supplement my reach with specialists who are gifted and spiritually called to particular groups of people…Nichole Moroney will be the best possible bridge between Jesus and young hearts, and Jesus is the best possible bridge between humanity and heaven.”
Moroney grew up in the small town of Sandy Creek, NY, on the banks of Lake Ontario. Armed with an Associate’s degree in Humanities and Social Sciences from Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY, she high-tailed it to Sarasota after graduation. There, she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Practical Theology with a minor in Children’s Ministries at Southeastern University.
She came to Marco Island and New Life Community Church thanks to an email she received from her alma mater about ministry opportunities around the country. “I received one about the children’s pastor position in Marco Island and decided to check in on the church,” she explains. “What I found were people who were committed to children as much as I was, even if they were in different ministries. I was really drawn to that. I applied for the job and God provided a way.”
That is not to say that Moroney does not have work cut out for her. She is creating the church’s children’s ministry from scratch after all. In addition to assembling her team, she also is in the process of getting the children’s room ready at the church. “There is a lot to think about and do, and it can be a bit overwhelming,” says Moroney. “My goals right now are to make this children’s ministry the best I possibly can with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
Coastal Breeze News sat down with Moroney to find out more about her and the plans she has for the children of New Life Community Church.
Q: Describe yourself in three words, and explain why you chose these words?
A: This is a hard question for me. Honestly, I believe that most people have a false identification of themselves and I don’t believe I am any exception. If I would describe myself to anyone it would be that my identity is in Christ. I suppose the three words I would use would be: strives for holiness. Obviously I am not close, but I try everyday to be as Christ like as possible.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
A: I believe that this would be my husband. We were very good friends in high school and throughout college before we started dating. He was (and still is) my best friend. He exhibited the patience and love that a great Christian friend should, and I came to Christ with his gentle influence.
Q: If you could have dinner with any famous people in history, who would they be and why?
A: I think the first obvious answer is Jesus. Probably not to ask him questions but just to be in his earthly presence. The next would be Paul. I identify with him the most out of all of the Apostles, and his mind would be so interesting to dive into. The next is C.S. Lewis. I have almost all of his books, and when I first came to Christ his words really inspired me. The next would be my favorite apologist, Ravi Zacharias because he is so influential and hilarious at the same time. I would love to get tips on public speaking from him.
Q: How did you choose to go into the ministry as your career?
A: I have always wanted to be a teacher. I used to make my sister sit in this little desk that we had at my house and she would take spelling tests that I created for her. She hated it, but it was so much fun for me! Going into the ministry didn’t come to me until after I came to Christ. I was called almost immediately after, but didn’t realize children were my call until later. I guess you could say that it wasn’t so much of a choice on my part. I knew the talents and interests that I had, teaching, public speaking, etc. and followed those things with God’s guidance naturally into my calling, ministry.
Q: Why children’s ministry?
A: I don’t think that I have ever really grown up. To this day, a fun day for my husband and our friends is to go to the playground and then get ice cream. I am having the most fun when I am acting like a child, so when I started helping out in children’s ministry, I felt like I fit in so naturally. I don’t feel like I am generations older than the children; I feel like I am one of them. The biggest thing for me, though, is how much God loves His children. He wants the children to come to Him, and I believe that the best way to bring Jesus to them is by loving them the way that they receive love: through having fun. My biggest desire is for children to see how much Jesus loves them and for them to pursue Him everyday of their lives.
Q: What have you learned about yourself from your work?
A: That I am inadequate. I cannot do this by myself. I am a very independent person and I have a “let me do it” mentality. But ministry is a team effort and it HAS to be led by God. Leading ministry yourself is just not going to work. This job has made me realize that if I do not stay in the Word and let God guide me, it’s not going to work.
Q: What have you learned about others and the world from your work?
A: Everyone here at the church is wonderful. I have learned that they really do want to help and see me and the ministry soar. That is so encouraging to me and I hope that I can return the favor to them one of these days. I may have left my one family in Sarasota, but these people are quickly showing me that I have family here, too.