John and Linda Hartman began their journey together as husband and wife forty-five years ago this past July 3rd. Now serving as campaign directors for Journey, they know God has blessed their marriage with two wonderful daughters and four grandchildren. They honor and serve God here at Northeast Church as the Young Married Couples’ Small Group Teachers; John formerly taught Men’s classes and Linda, 1st and 2nd grade children. John serves as a member of the Deacon Body; Linda serves in the Women’s Ministry and sings in the choir. They have experienced God’s blessings firsthand but even more so when they’ve been willing to simply say “yes” to God.
Upon the merger of First Baptist Church of Hoschton and Zion Baptist Church, the Hartman’s were somewhat skeptical of whether a merger would be best. As John served on the Vision Team responsible for checking the possibilities for First Baptist to purchase more land as a solution for the growing membership, the committee made little progress since “every door seemed to close; however, God truly opened a door for a merger to take place. Our church needed more space and Zion needed financial assistance.” God made a way for the needs of both churches to be met and allowed the merger of the two into Northeast Church. While this merger was definitely God’s plan, John knows that “God hasn’t shown us everything He wants to do here yet.”
When they were approached to become directors for The Journey, John said, “We just don’t want to miss out.” John recounted the time that God called him to teach Sunday School. Since he was working at the time, he gave God many excuses but then said “yes” to the Lord. He often wonders what might have happened if he had said “no.” John and Linda both concluded that they would have missed out on so many blessings. John indicated that God has given us “time, talents, and finances. They belong to Him; therefore, it’s important to be good stewards of all three.” As the community grows, especially with the opening of the new hospital in Braselton, there will be even more opportunities for us to minister to people. They reiterated that our church’s mission is to reach lost people – a growing community will allow many opportunities to do just that.
As statistics currently show that 84% of the people within a five mile parameter of Northeast Church do not attend church on any given Sunday, John and Linda believe that we Christians must do our jobs to ensure that number does not continue to grow. As Linda stated, “God allowed two churches to merge into Northeast Church, and He knows that two groups coming together could do a lot more than the bodies of two smaller churches.” Their message is one of faith and vision: stepping out in faith and saying “yes” to God brings an abundance of blessings, for God is faithful. As John emphasized, “While the merger of two churches into one was what was best for our community and God’s Kingdom, we cannot even begin to imagine what lies before us [through The Journey]. We say, ‘Yes!’”
~John and Linda
Story By Traci McBride