The departure of Eli Cockrum from our staff left a substantial hole, one that we knew would not be easy to fill. We’re excited to announce that Sarah Scheafnocker will join our team this month as the new Program Director and we’re eager for you to get to know her as well. Here, in her own words, is her story:

20 years ago, on a Saturday night during YOKE camp I sat in the stairwell of the Camp BaYoCa Lodge talking about faith with a tearful Bearden Middle School 7th grader. She made a decision to follow Jesus in those moments and changed both of our lives forever. A few years ago, my family checked into a Chattanooga hotel and the manager who greeted me was that very girl! She’s now a wife and adoptive mom who continues to follow after Jesus as an adult. How much does God love us that he makes those moments happen!?!

As a YOKE Folk I learned the power of mentorship, the power in my own story, and how to prioritize ministry in the business of life.  KidTime was the highlight of my weeks – slumber parties, meals shared, and late night phone calls (no texting back then) among other adventures! I began to understand what being a disciple-maker looked like. Those years shaped my life in ways I still have trouble articulating.

Life has taken me across the country and back since my time as a YOKE Folk. I’ve had the pleasure of serving on First Baptist Concord’s Missions Staff Team for the last 11 years and before that I worked on the front lines at Hope Resource Center for 5 years, loving and serving hurting people in our city. In all that time, I kept an eye on what God was doing through YOKE. This past year, I had the honor of serving on YOKE’s Board of Directors and enjoyed seeing the ministry from that perspective. My respect for YOKE as an organization grew and grew during that time! The way YOKE seeks to join God’s mission in our city is breathtaking.

In my role with Concord, I saw first-hand how God moves when people of faith and the local church become part of a school community. I saw prayer moving mountains, I saw staff with no faith begin to believe, and I saw students reached with the Gospel begin stepping into the local church. My heart for mentorship and school-based ministry made the opportunity to join YOKE’s staff team irresistible!  I love Concord and my family will continue to worship and serve there, but God made it abundantly clear this was the next right step. I’m so thankful for the support of my church family and am incredibly excited about this new season of ministry!

I worked alongside Eli for many years on Camp BaYoCa staff and was even in his wedding – it’s been so much fun to work together preparing for the days ahead.  I can’t wait to join YOKE’s team as we navigate through new normals in the wake of the pandemic.

Students and their schools need the hope of the gospel and caring adults in their lives more than ever. Let’s meet them where they are and expect God to move!

Look for Sarah at a school near you! In the meantime, connect with her at