I come from a strong United Methodist heritage! My father was a pastor in the North Carolina Conference for 42 years and has continued to faithfully serve in a variety of capacities in the 13 years since his retirement. When well-meaning people would ask me, as a child, if I was going to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a minister, I’d say, “NO way!”
I went to college, got a degree in Business Administration and found myself in a retail management training program soon after graduation. A chance encounter that my father had with Cokesbury management at General Conference in 1988 led to an interview and an offer to become the manager of the Raleigh Cokesbury store.
Without realizing it, I was immediately thrown into assisting those in ministry! Most of my days were spent suggesting the latest book or Christian Ed resources to customers and gallivanting to churches all over North Carolina, measuring for paraments and choir robes. But the days I treasure the most are the ones spent listening to laity and pastors who were in need of someone to talk to or share their struggles with or dream about a far-fetched ministry idea.
One day, I received a note from a pastor thanking me for taking the time to listen to him and for offering encouragement and he thanked me for “my ministry.” I had never thought of myself as “doing ministry.” I realized then that the Lord uses each of us in many different ways to “do ministry,” whether or not we ever darken the doors of a seminary!
Now I find myself working in the District Office for the North Carolina Conference and continue to love being “in ministry” for the United Methodist Church that I love so much!