Nowadays, members of the Merriman family can be found serving in multiple volunteer positions throughout Pathway—parking cars on Sunday mornings, leading children in their classes and worship, or welcoming and inviting visitors; stepping up in any way they can to “Follow Jesus, In Community, For Others.”
Just a few short years ago, it was the Merrimans—Rob, Robin, Bryce and Brooke—who came walking into Pathway with little understanding of what they were looking for or how to be church-goers. “Neither of us really went to church growing up, and we had really only been exposed to church on a small-scale,” said Rob. “We believed in God, we just didn’t know where to go with it.”
After attending Pathway for summer childcare, Bryce and Brooke began asking their parents to take them to other Pathway activities. Slowly, the family began attending church at the Westlink Campus about once a month, then more often. Thanks to friends who attended, volunteers and staff members who made them feel welcome, the family felt energized and at home even though it was a place far from their comfort zone.
“Every time we were here we met the friendliest people,” said Robin. “And we loved hearing how much the kids loved it and what they were teaching us; it did so much for our family.” Intent on building on this good feeling, the couple took the Life on the Path course taught by Dan Doerflinger. They also began to see their kids’ lives being changed by how their leaders—Rick Baker, Mitchell Sturdivant, Laura Heagler, and Amanda Baker—were intentionally investing the love of Christ into them.
Rob, Robin and the kids all began to feel the Holy Spirit lay the importance of baptism on their hearts. “I knew I wanted to be baptized, and Rob and the kids did, too, but I didn’t feel like I had earned the right to be baptized,” said Robin. “I kept struggling with that. I didn’t feel like I understood enough or had done enough to deserve it.”
Then during a message one week, Todd Carter made a comment about not needing to be a Bible scholar to be in the family of God. “That was it,” said Robin. “It finally clicked, and we decided to do it. We were ready to show people our faith and show it together as a family.”
Together, as a family, in November 2013, all four of the Merrimans were baptized with their Pathway family by their side. “I think we are a lot happier and at peace now,” said Rob of his family and his wife of 17 years. “We are very much aware of the blessings in our life and we know that it is not our doing. We don’t take it for granted.”
By Jess Lindsey | Photo by Curt Tarpley