I began to sense a call to vocational ministry as a high school student. I led Bible studies and retreats, and I noticed an interest in building community through the local church during these formative years. I continued to discern a call to ministry as I accepted employment with Capital One in Richmond, VA following my undergraduate study, and I became heavily involved with Second Baptist Church in Richmond in several areas of church ministry there. It became clear that ministry was not my part-time calling, but, rather, the primary focus of my energy. The discernment to vocational ministry led me to enroll in the Baptist House of Studies at Duke Divinity School. While receiving my theological education at Duke, I had the wonderful privilege and opportunity to seek a variety of internships which offered multiple perspectives on church ministry. From serving an underprivileged congregation in the Fifth Ward of Houston, TX to affluent, downtown churches, these experiences have had a significant influence on my ministerial formation. The diversity offered to me through these varied experiences allows me to view any ministry situation with open-mindedness and creativity.

Following my theological education, which also included a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) to receive significant pastoral care experience in a hospital setting, I began serving as Associate Minister to Students at Greystone Baptist Church (GBC) in Raleigh. As one of a team of associate ministers, I was a regular participant in worship planning and leadership, including preaching. I also provide pastoral care to all demographics of the congregation, including significant pastoral care involvement with senior adults. In addition, I have supported our church’s Finance Committee and Stewardship Committee during a recent pastoral transition.

I am committed to the local church being engaged with the surrounding community in innovative ways, while maintaining the loving community that exists within a congregation. I hope to share a giftedness in preaching/teaching and pastoral care with a congregation, while also leading the congregation to new ways of doing church together. I am also currently participating in the CBF (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship) Fellows program which provides education, formation, and coaching to ministers in their first full-time ministerial position. The cohort began in August 2018 and will end in June 2020. It is just one of many opportunities I have taken to seek further education and formation to develop myself as an individual and as a minister.

One of my favorite verses of Scripture is John 1:14 – “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” What better way for a church to follow God than to also become a part of the surrounding community. It would be a privilege to come alongside a church on that journey.

–Reverend Allan P. Smith