Courtney Allen weddingEach Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features its blog series, THIS IS WHAT A MINISTER LOOKS LIKE and introduces you to an amazing woman minister. This week we are proud to introduce Courtney Allen, a current member of Baptist Women in Ministry’s Leadership Team.

Courtney, tell us about your  current serving in ministry?

I serve as the minister of community ministry and missions at First Baptist Church in Dalton, Georgia. I have the opportunity to build and bridge relationships across all sorts of boundaries and lead the congregation in engaging our neighbors down the street and around the world. Dalton has been an incredible community and congregation  to love and serve! I’m grateful to be in a church that really does have missions woven into its DNA.

What do you love best about your current ministry role?

I have the opportunity to do exactly that I feel called to do each and every day at First Baptist, and that is an incredible gift! After seminary, it took a while for me to find a position that truly fit my call to ministry. I am grateful that First Baptist Dalton has both the theology and the resources to have a minister focused on relationships beyond the walls of the church that ultimately enrich and and transform the community of faith.

In any given day I can find myself in the fellowship hall around the table with working poor families and church members, at a hospital bed, in a courtroom, or a gathering of community and faith leaders. I give thanks for the flexibility of what “missions and community ministry” looks like at First Baptist and for the almost innate willingness for the congregation to partner and participate in missional life together in Dalton!

What is the best book you have read lately?

So . . . my sister often reminds me that I need to read less “serious religious stuff” and just enjoy some celebrity magazines at the beach.  And she’s right. I certainly need to read more novels, memoirs, and imaginative stuff beyond the most recent ministry titles ordered from Amazon. That being said, the best book I have been reading has been The Art of Pastoring by William C. Martin. I have been reading a thought from this collection each morning when I get to my office. My colleague, Matthew Johnson, recommended the book to me and said, “This is the only thing I encounter that reminds me each day that I am not solely responsible for this venture we call the church.”

But, I still need some less serious stuff on my reading roster . . .

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

My friend, Carol McIntyre, shared this wisdom that she received from an older pastor as she began her first pastorate several years ago: “Never forget, you do not bear or carry the entire weight of the church on your back.” As ministers, we need to be reminded that church functions and depends on much more than our leadership, worry, or even energy invested, because God is it work among us, through us, and sometimes even in spite of us! No one person or pastor can carry the weight of a congregation’s burdens without the partnership of God, and I continue to be reminded that God is always doing far more than I can dream or imagine.