Audra Reinders is the new Director of Congregational and Nurture, and joined the staff full time on Aug. 1.
Coming to us from Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, Audra served the church part-time before stepping into the new role.
The mother of four has a servant’s heart. We invite you to get to know her better as she becomes an integral part of church life.
What is the best part of being a part of your family?
The best part of being in my family is experiencing the love that we have for each other. I have been fortunate to have strong and loving family ties my whole life. Growing up, my parents were incredibly supportive, and my siblings and I are still incredibly close. These family values have set the stage for my own family, and my husband Adam and I have been busy loving and raising four children: Aidan, Nadia, Isaiah, and Arianna. I love watching them grow into their own unique and amazing individuals, and I consider it a privilege that God has entrusted me to raise up these amazing children.
Where did you grow up/ go to school?
I was born and raised right here in Fort Wayne. I attended Snider High School (where my two oldest children now attend), and graduated from Ivy Tech and IPFW. After getting married we briefly lived in both Angola and Decatur, but moved back to Fort Wayne over 10 years ago.
What do you remember about growing up in the church/VBS?
A lot of my church/VBS memories throughout my whole life revolve around music. I still remember some of those childhood church songs that I sang in VBS in my earliest years. Throughout my life I have so many memories and meanings attached to hymns and spiritual songs, both classic and contemporary. I can always find faith inspiration in the music.
I grew up attending the same church that my parents, siblings, and grandparents also attended. My whole childhood and adulthood I have spent sitting next to them in the pews, and I love having that family connection so closely associated with my faith connection. We would almost always have Sunday Brunch after church with the whole family, and I have so many fond memories of sharing Sunday meals with them after worship.
Looking back on my church experience, I can honestly say that there there was a huge focus on relationships. My relationship with Christ, with other church members and the community, and [through service work and modeling compassion] with others who are less fortunate than I am. This has helped me form the foundations for creating and maintaining meaningful and lasting relationships with others, and that is something for which I am extremely grateful.
What’s been the most impactful mission trip you have taken?
I have gone on several mission trips, and each of them has been unique and meaningful. My confirmation trip when I was 13 was the first time that I truly felt the importance of helping others in a profound way. We traveled to Chicago and helped repair a downtown church. The last day we were there we stood up in the church service to sing a hymn for the congregation, and nearly the whole confirmation class was crying by the end of the song, along with quite a few of the church members! I still remember being amazed and recognizing the importance of the strong emotions that I was feeling.
My older children and I spent the beginning of this July in Puerto Rico repairing homes that were damaged by Hurricane Maria. Our group also walked up and down the streets in disadvantaged neighborhoods handing out “Blessing Bags” containing food and supplies. Getting to know some amazing people and hearing their faith testimonies really broke me open in a way I have never been before. I consider it such an honor to have the ability and resources to help others that are less fortunate. My heart and passion is in Missions, and I am grateful that I have had some amazing opportunities to make that happen. I look forward to seeing what mission work God has in store for me in the future.
What led you to ministry?
My faith is a very important aspect in my life; I have depended on it in heavy and difficult times, and rejoiced in it at times when I have felt like my blessings are so much more abundant than I could ever deserve.
I love being around people and building meaningful relationships. I wanted to find employment where I could feel like I was making a positive difference in the lives of my community. When I learned of this opportunity at First Wayne, it felt like all the pieces just fit together perfectly.
What’s the best piece of encouragement you have ever received?
My life has been so full of supportive and inspiring people, and it’s honestly impossible for me to narrow down a single piece of encouragement among so much that I have been blessed with. I know that between my husband, family, and friends, I’ve got lots of people in my corner cheering me on! As for scripture, there are many verses that I find encouraging.
One of my personal favorites is Proverbs 31:25:
“She clothes herself with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”
What do you like to do on a rainy day?
I love to be outside, and if it’s not raining too hard, that usually doesn’t deter me! I enjoy going on nature walks with my family and dogs, feeding the birds, and gardening. I also love reading, baking, and sewing.