The Joy House ministry was born in the hearts of Steve and Wendy Lowe and Rick and Mary Bell in the ’90s while they were working with teens through a local church in North Georgia. 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 what could be offered through their positions 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, realizing this was a task that only God could accomplish. The Lord confirmed this calling by bringing alongside them other key community leaders who could aid in bringing this vision to reality. This group met as the first board in December of 2000. 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 in a leased facility in Pickens County.
The vision from the beginning was to have a campus that would allow the Joy House to serve 40 to 50 teens and families. In 2005 the Lord provided the debt-free purchase of nearly 30 acres for a campus nestled in the foothills of the mountains in Jasper, Georgia. In 2006 the existing home on the property was renovated, boy’s houseparents were hired, and in 2006 the boy’s home opened on the purchased campus.
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. The operation was consolidated to the purchased campus in January 2008 with the opening of the new girl’s home. A new boy’s home was completed in 2012 with a dedicated academic space on the terrace level to house The Joy House Academy. Currently the Teen Residential Program can serve seven boys and seven girls. Over the past five years, Cherokee County families make up the highest percentage of families served through the Residential Program. The Joy House is seeking to expand by building a second girl’s home with their “Second Home for Second Chances” campaign.
In 2012 the Lord led them to launch a community Counseling Center to provide Christ-centered counseling to families and individuals struggling with difficult life issues along the 575/515 corridor. During 2018 over 240+ families were served through the Counseling Center. As 2019 begins, they have three counselors providing counseling in Jasper, Woodstock and Ellijay.
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 their passion as they seek to follow God’s plan for the ministry.