Each Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing woman ministers. Today we are pleased to introduce you to Erin Collier.

Erin, tell us about your current ministry role.

I am on staff at First Baptist Church in Lumberton, North Carolina, where I serve as minister to children. I partner with families to help children grow in their faith. I build relationships with children (birth-sixth grade) and also do worship planning.

What have been some of your “bumps in the road” as a woman minister?

I contemplated this question for a while, and I have to be honest—the “bumps in the road” that I have encountered really have nothing to do with the fact that I am a woman. I realize that I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by people who have encouraged and supported me in my ministry journey. Am I perfect? Definitely not. Is the church perfect? No. And by our imperfections combined, bumps in the road are inevitable. But, I really can’t attribute those missteps and struggles to the fact that I am a woman.

Who has inspired you in your ministry journey?

My aunt, Sharon James, just celebrated her retirement after thirty years in ministry. In fact, her ordination service was the first one I ever attended—and I was a toddler! Thanks to her, I never once doubted the fact that God calls both women and men to ministry. Her courage, confidence, spunk, integrity, and faithfulness have set a high bar for all ministers.

Also, my youth minister and former colleague, Nelson Taylor, is an inspiration to me. He was the first to verbally acknowledge God’s call in my life, even though I wasn’t ready to acknowledge it myself! His wisdom and insight have been very helpful to me in these early years of ministry.

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

I guess technically this is life advice, but “everyone has stuff.” That is, everyone has circumstances, situations, or relationships in their life causing them pain or difficulty that others may know nothing about. Sometimes in ministry, you are invited into sacred moments where the “stuff” is shared, and your heart just breaks; other times, you are treated unfairly or poorly due to the overwhelming pain from the “stuff” in the lives of others. And yes, even ministers have “stuff” in their lives! This advice reminds me to extend grace and understanding to others in the midst of the busyness and frustration that ministry can bring . . . and even to myself.