Each Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces a Baptist woman minister, and it is our pleasure today to introduce Carol McEntyre. 

Where and how are you currently serving in ministry? Where have you served in the past?

I am the pastor at First Baptist Church in Columbia, Missouri. I have been here for two years.  Prior to that, I served for seven years as the Buckner community minister at First Baptist Church in Knoxville Tennessee.  Prior to that, I served for two years as the education minister at Church of the Holy Comforter, Episcopal Church in Augusta Georgia. That Episcopal church is where I actually cut my teeth as a preacher, because the priest was very open to sharing the pulpit. During seminary, I was blessed to serve at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, as a ministerial assistant, doing everything from hanging pictures on the wall to organizing mission trips. It was a great place to learn about ministry.

What do you love best about your current ministry?

So many things… First Baptist is such a great church. It is historic, 190 years old, yet the people are so open to new ideas, which allows us to do some really creative things. I love our diverse worship services; we have a very contemporary service and a fairly liturgical service. We are utilizing postmodern worship elements like imagery and the arts regularly in both services, which is so much fun. I also love that First Baptist has a African worship service held each Sunday night in Swahili and led by a refugee from the Congo.  The church has a rich progressive heritage. In 1823, First Baptist had African Americans who were full members of the church. In 1912, the church had a female chair of trustees. In 1950, a women headed the building campaign for the new sanctuary. I also love that the church is in downtown Columbia, just blocks from the University of Missouri, and we experience all the energy that comes with college students.

Who was the first woman minister you remember meeting? Who was the first woman you hear preach? 

Great question! I grew up in a rural Baptist church. As a child, I never heard a women preach, or even pray out loud in worship. The first woman I ever heard preach was probably Carolyn Blevins, one of the religion professors at Carson-Newman College, my alma mater.  She and other professors, like Ross Brummett, opened up a whole new world for me. I felt called to the minister, but I had no idea that women could find a place of service in the church. At Carson-Newman, I took classes on Women in the Bible and Women in Church History, and those classes changed the trajectory of my life.

I would be amiss not to mention, Sharlande Sledge, associate pastor at Lake Shore Baptist Church, where I served in seminary. Sharlande was the first woman minister I really got to know. She was a great example of how to serve in one place for a long time and really be in community with the people in the church.

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Some of the best ministry advice that I have every received was from Dave Ward, who has been on staff at First Baptist Knoxville for decades doing pastoral care. He said wisely, “Carol love the people and let the people love you.”