Linda Morgan speaks in churches many times during a year. And it’s not uncommon for the person introducing her to list the many titles she has held in her 45 years at Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH). But of the more than a half dozen jobs she has held, Morgan will tell those who listen as she stands at the pulpit: “You are welcome to call me by my title, by any title, but the most important thing to know about me is that I am a child of God. That’s really all you need to remember.”
In 1973, Morgan was at the top of her class at Haywood Community College. She planned to enter the medical administration field and was serving an internship in a doctor’s office.
“I received a call from Hugh Starnes about a job at the newly constructed Broyhill Home,” Morgan recalls. “It was totally out of the blue.”
The two met the next day and Starnes offered her a secretarial position. She was graduating soon and decided to take the job, but confesses that at 19 years old, she never intended to stay long.
“My life was impacted immediately,” she says. “I had been raised in a Christian home, accepted Christ as a child, and attended a Baptist church, but the people I met at Broyhill Home were the ‘real deal.’ I remember thinking, ‘These people pray about everything.
How do they get anything done?’”
Morgan watched their lives and God began to work in her life. She watched the childcare workers and saw how they worked with children –– it was more than a job. They were missionaries. She wanted what they had.
“It touched my heart,” she says. “The way they gave of themselves was inspiring. They lived as if they were called.”
Morgan felt God urging her to rededicate her life and surrender her life to His calling.
She believed her decision needed to be public. In the cold, head waters of the Pigeon River, with loved ones and friends surrounding her, she was baptized –– plunged beneath the surface and raised to a new life.
“I had yielded to what God wanted for me and my life,” she says. “I was not going into the medical field like I had planned. God had another idea.”
Morgan went from being secretary to administrative assistant and then served as Broyhill Home’s campus life director, resident director and campus director. She has served as BCH’s western area director of residential services and, today, she directs all of BCH’s residential services across the state.
Ten years after Morgan was hired at Broyhill Home, Michael C. Blackwell met her for the first time as he traveled around the state as BCH’s new president in 1983.
“Linda has always been a standout,” Blackwell says. “I remember her coming around her desk with a big smile on her face and a welcoming hug.”
Morgan’s outgoing, energetic outlook is contagious. From her childhood, she says, it’s always been “just who I am.” People who meet her always agree.
“It’s very clear to me now,” Morgan says. “As God directed my life for the next 45 years, I became a part of creating opportunities for children to be children. It’s as basic a need as providing a safe environment, food and clothing. To hear a child laugh and play, to see their eyes get big when they are offered a bowl of homemade ice cream, to see them stand at the shoreline and gaze out into the ocean for the first time, to hear a child say, “This is the best day of my life” –– this is what I was called to do.”
Morgan credits those she served with throughout the years and those who she serves with today for any success she has known at BCH. “From the president to those at each of our ministry points, we are one heart –– with Jesus at its center. Together, we glorify God.”
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