MEET THE CRAFT TEAM
Joel and Aimee Johnston
Craft Founders and Directors of Community Discipleship
Inspired by his father, JJ, who did hair for over 50 years and owned several barbershops, Joel began doing hair in 1989 at the age of sixteen. During hair school, Joel encountered Jesus and became passionate about sharing Him with others. Desiring to do full time ministry, Joel attended Elim Bible Institute in Lima, New York, where he met Aimee. In 1993, they graduated from Elim, were married and returned to Michigan. This began a journey of understanding God’s heart for people, living a life of faith and seeing impossible dreams fulfilled.
A passion for discipleship developed as they began raising their six children and served as youth pastors for twelve years at New Life Christian Church in St. Clair Shores . Although many creative ideas were attempted to reach youth inside and outside the church, their greatest fruit was seen in investing in student leaders, many of whom are serving in full time ministry today. In 2004, Joel transitioned to leading a local missions organization that helped students in public schools reach their peers while Aimee focused her time raising and homeschooling their six children and ministering to women in the church.
Due to an economic downturn, Joel was forced to return to work with his father at JJ’s Barbershop in Troy. Although this seemed to be a discouraging setback, the barbershop became a pivotal point in their understanding of ministry. Joel discovered that people who would never step foot into a church were willing to share openly with their barber. More than a job, the barbershop became Joel’s mission field. Joel and Aimee began seeing the community and workplace differently and learning to befriend and disciple people outside the church walls. In order to engage and reach the community surrounding JJ’s Barbershop in Novi, Joel and Aimee took a step of faith to leave their friends and church on the east side . Soon the need to plant a church close to the shop became evident, and the Johnston family obeyed God to birth Groveland Christian Church in 2015.
As the Johnstons saw lives change, God expanded the dream in their hearts. Craft Education, a ministry of Groveland Christian Church, opened in 2017, with the vision to equip others with the hair trade and to disciple them to impact their community and establish the Kingdom of God.
The story continues as they daily take steps of faith to follow God’s lead to disciple others, expand His kingdom and, ultimately, to bring Him glory in this community and around the world.
Lead Cosmetology Instructor
With a heart to serve people, Alyssa began her hair career at the age of 16. Attending cosmetology school, she was able to graduate early from high school through dual enrollment and started working at JJ’s Barbershop soon after. Through the shop, God brought many opportunities to reach and encourage people who would never step foot in a church. Over the next five years, Alyssa was promoted to management and earned her hair instructor license. While serving as a youth leader at her church, she met her husband, Raul, and now have two children.
Raul and Alyssa share a common desire to help and see people grow in their education as well as their spiritual life. Motivated by a love for God and people, Alyssa travels locally and overseas on various mission trips. For several years, she served as project coordinator for Michigan Abolitionist Project, a local ministry for preventing modern slavery through education and awareness. Alyssa is passionate about teaching barbering and cosmetology for the purpose of equipping students with a way to provide for themselves financially while at the same time impacting their community.
Administrator and Director of Leadership Development
Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Alex followed God’s call to Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, to pursue a degree in theology where he met his wife, Elise. They were married shortly after graduation and moved to Michigan. Alex worked in the banking industry for four years, has been a volunteer youth leader since 2007, and currently works as CEO of Living Dreams Key developing leaders and expanding locations of JJ’s barber shops. Alex is passionate about discipleship and seeing people grow in their walk with God.