CHRISTIAN CITY GROUNDSKEEPER SINCE 1989
Randy Jones – “You don’t have to live here to be family. And I’m proof.”
My story with Christian City began in the spring of 1989 – 30 years ago. At the time I was the operating superintendent for a trucking company, and I was cutting grass on the side. I didn’t know anything about Christian City when Knowles Industrial, the company that had the landscaping contract at Christian City, asked me to share the work. I resigned from the trucking company and started my own full-time landscaping business, Jones Industrial. I was in my early thirties at the time.
Looking back now three decades later, I believe sharing the landscaping contract at Christian City was God sent! Sometimes you don’t know what God has planned for you until you get it. At the time, a friend of mine told me not to look back. He told me to give it to God and let Him handle it. I decided to go with it, and I thank God for what He’s done.
About ten years later, Knowles’ business shifted to selling lawn care equipment, and they were planning to give up the Christian City landscaping contract. When I was offered the contract…
…to handle all the landscaping, I hesitated because I didn’t know if I could handle it. Then I started thinking and said, yeah, I’ll do it. I don’t know how, but I’m going to do it. I believe in asking the Lord about it and saying “Lord, if it’s your will, I’m going to do it.” And I’ve been doing it ever since.
Christian City is a big campus. This is our biggest account, and we take care of everything outdoors. We’re out here every week with a crew of four to six. While the crew is working on campus, I’m here checking on projects and getting ready for the next week. We take care of any tree work, and handle grading and spraying at the community garden, too.
Between work, church and the farm, it’s a busy life, but it’s rewarding. My wife and I have been married 44 years, and we live on our farm in Meriwether County. I have two sons and 6 grandkids. All of us are active in the church. I do a lot at church because I don’t want to say “no” when it’s God’s work. But, I don’t do it to be recognized. God knows about it, and that’s what matters.
An idle mind is the devil’s playpen, so I try to stay busy all the time. One of my best friends tells me that I’m either a hundred miles an hour or zero. He told me I’m either wide open or stopped, and I need to get middle way somehow. A Christian City resident at Hilltop Acres told me “Randy, as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been wide open. It’s a job slowing down, but you’ve got to slow it down a little bit because you’re wide open.” That’s the smartest man I know.
My daddy told me, “listen to the elders. They can teach you something.” After so many years working at Christian City, the senior residents and staff have become like family to me, and I try to listen and learn from them.
When I started at Christian City in 1989, the current Recreation Center was a children’s home. There were five homes clustered in the center of the original Christian City Home for Children campus before the Children’s Village was relocated to another part of the Christian City property.
Altogether, there were eight original homes for the children. The playground was where the walking track is now, and the children knew we would be here cutting grass at 2:00 or 3:00 on Tuesday, but they were never ready to go inside. At least one of the children would always ask to play a little longer. I’d tell my crew, “let’s go across the road to cut over there and let them play a little longer.” If the kids were having fun, we were all for it. I knew the house parents who were here then and some of them now live at Christian City in retirement homes. Still today, anything I can do for the kids or donate to help the kids at Christian City, I’ll do it.
Christian City is family to a lot of people. You don’t have to live here to be family. And I’m proof. I would tell any vendor to “do the best job you can do because Christian City will look out for you.” The great thing about working here is we’re not doing it as a job; it’s a ministry. Everybody has their own ministry here. I would tell any vendor “even though you’re being paid, you’re being blessed, also.” I’ll say it again – you don’t have to live at Christian City to be part of this family.