Joan Woolley's Story: Mission:Dignity® Serves More than Pastors


As a country pastor’s daughter, Joan Woolley has always had a heart for the rural church. Knowing her father’s example of faith in Joan’s childhood, it is no surprise that she soon found herself back serving in a rural church.

As a single mother of two kids, Joan served as the secretary at First Baptist Church, Crockett, Texas. She served well and long but felt the Lord leading her to retire after 31 years. However, Joan was concerned about how she would financially support herself in retirement. For a while, Joan made do with the small monthly retirement check she received from GuideStone® based on the contributions she made throughout her working years — along with an equally small Social Security check. But things were tight.

A friend then suggested that Joan applied for Mission: Dignity. She knew she needed some financial help but didn’t think that Mission: Dignity was for her initially.

“My first response was simply, no, because I was not a minister, nor had I ever served in a foreign country,” she remembers thinking. “How could I possibly put myself on the same level as a pastor and wife who sold themselves out to God and moved far from friends and family?”

But that question got her thinking, and Joan began to do a little more research.

She was surprised to learn that Mission:Dignity — a ministry her church has supported for decades — also served retired church staff members as well. And after more than three decades of service, she certainly qualified!

“I can’t tell you what a blessing Mission:Dignity is to my life. Between it and my GuideStone retirement check, I can live in my own home, and I don’t have to get up every morning and look for a job to make ends meet,” Joan says.

Today, Joan lives a full life that includes volunteering at First Baptist Church of the Fields’ Friendship House outreach in Carrollton, Texas. Her excellent organizational skills, coupled with her gentle compassion, make her the perfect intake receptionist for the food pantry. She is quick to offer a smile and encouraging words, comforting the individuals who are requesting assistance. The monthly support provided by faithful donors provides Joan with peace of mind that allows her to remain on mission — with dignity.

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