We are delighted to welcome Rachel Shepherd as a member of the Children’s Ministry staff. Keep reading to hear from Rachel and learn more about what she is bringing to our family here at First Church!


My name is Rachel Shepherd, and I come to the area from Northwest Arkansas, where I was raised for the majority of my life. I am a 2020 graduate of Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Psychology, with a concentration in Social Justice. I am currently pursuing a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling through Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Additionally, I am a certified candidate for ordained ministry as a Deacon in the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. I see my calling as to the intersection of faith and mental health with a special focus on the holistic development and wellbeing of children and young people. 
Over the course of my academic career, I have had many opportunities to explore my passions for children, youth and mental healthcare. My work history includes three years as a youth ministry intern, one year in children’s ministry, a summer as a pastoral intern in the Great Plains Conference, some time as a mental health technician in a Methodist behavioral hospital for children and youth, a summer as a pastoral care intern for a continuum of mental health facilities across the state of Arkansas, and some time as an Assistant Teacher in a Chicago area Preschool/Daycare. 
I started school with the goal of ending up as a spiritually informed psychotherapist for young people. However, over the last few years, I have discerned that my passion lies more in the local church community, and I have pivoted my career goals more toward children’s ministry with an eye for holistic wellbeing and development. To that end, I hope to work in the local church with young people while also potentially working for a community mental health agency and bringing those resources to local faith communities. 
In my role as Nursery Coordinator at First Church, my goal is to provide a safe and nurturing space for your little ones to play, learn, and grow. I also aim to build relationships and connections with as many of you as possible and pour into you as we work together to pour into your children. 
I look forward to serving this community and working with you all toward the flourishing of all children and ministries at First Church.
With much love and care,