The Joy House ministry was born in the hearts of Steve and Wendy Lowe and Rick and Mary Bell in the mid to late ’90s, while they were working with teens through a local church in Pickens County. The Lord blessed them to share their lives with troubled and hurting teens, and through this experience they came to realize that so many of them needed more than could be offered through their position in the church.
After discovering other successful Christian residential programs that were working to restore teens and families, they felt that the Lord was calling them to begin a similar ministry here in North Georgia along the 575/515 corridor. However, they realized this was a task that only God could accomplish.
Therefore, they began to pray for the Lord to confirm this call, by bringing alongside of them other key community leaders who could aid in bringing this vision to reality. The Lord faithfully provided and this group met as the first board in December of 2000. There was no money, no staff and no facility. The Lord moved in a mighty way over the next several months and their doors and hearts were opened to the first teen and family in July 2001. This journey began in a leased facility on the south end of Jasper.
The vision from the beginning was to have a campus in Pickens County that would allow the Joy House to eventually serve 40 to 50 teens and families. Toward that end, in 2005, the Lord provided the debt-free purchase of nearly 30 acres for a future campus nestled in the foothills of the mountains. The existing home on the property was renovated in 2006, a second set of house parents were hired to work with the young men and they were moved to the campus in July of 2006.
The first major capital campaign began in the fall of 2006. During 2007, the major infrastructure was completed along with a new home for the girls. Our entire operation was consolidated to our campus in January 2008 with the opening of our new girl’s home. A new boys home was completed in 2012 with a dedicated academic space on the terrace level. The completion of the boy’s home allows us to serve seven boy’s and seven girls in our residential program.
As the new boy’s home was completed the Lord led us to launch a Counseling Center as part of the ministry to provide Christ-centered counseling to families and individuals struggling with difficult life issues along the 575/515 corridor. During 2016 over 180+ families were served through our counseling center. As 2017 begins we have two counselors working in the counseling center providing counseling in our Jasper, Woodstock, and Ellijay offices.
Since its inception, The Joy House has been privileged to partner with many struggling teens, families, and individuals to provide hope and healing through Christ. This mission continues to be our passion as we seek to follow God’s plan for the ministry.