Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister, and today we are excited to introduce you to Karen Kelley. 

Karen, tell us about your current ministry role.

I am a member of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Stockbridge, Georgia. Since joining Mt. Olive in January 1985, I have grown a love for teaching and preaching God’s word through words and works. Over the last thirty years, I have led and served on various ministries. Currently, I am an adult Sunday School teacher, work in the church clothes closet; and serve on the grief ministry.

I am also an active member of the New Era Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, where I have had the opportunity to serve on various committees. Currently, I am the executive board president. During the summer, I work with the New Era Congress of Christian Education. Since July 2003, I have served either as a staff member or a faculty member. Currently, I am the Congress first vice president.

I also have been blessed to preach for many Women’s Day Services and teach at many Women’s Conferences. Currently, I am preparing to facilitate a missions conference for women in the near future. Once a month, I lead a small prayer group comprised of friends who meet for a time of sister share and fellowship.

How did you discern your sense of calling to ministry?

I was raised in a Christian home, and my parents taught and lived the word in front of me and my brother. I’ve even attended church all my life, but it wasn’t until I was  eighteen years old that I gave my life to Jesus and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior.

In January 1995, during a moment of prayer, I asked God “what was His will for my life?” After a few moments, I heard him say, “To Preach.” Upon hearing that, I got up from my moment of prayer and went about my business for the next five years.

In 2000, I began to sense an overwhelming desire to preach. I describe it as a pregnancy. God was growing the call to preach within me, and I could no longer run from the call or hide the call. Whenever I taught Sunday School or spoke in any manner, I felt a pushing to proclaim the Word. The call became so great that others witness the call to preach on my life. After running from the call and discouraging myself to even answer the call, I blurted out to my pastor on Saturday, October 21, 2000, that I had been called to preach.

Who have been sources of inspiration for you along the way?

My sources of inspiration are truly varied. I draw inspiration from many seasoned senior ministers—male and female. They have provided me with wisdom and “know-how” when it comes to maneuvering through ministry. I enjoy listening to senior preachers, because their sermons churn the gift of preaching within me. To hear them tell the story of Jesus in their own unique way inspires me to keep telling the story.

I draw inspiration from my peers—male and female—because they encourage me to continue in ministry and even to climb higher in ministry. My peers challenge me not to stay where I am in ministry or even spiritually. They challenge to grow and go in God.

Lastly, I draw inspiration from my family. My family has supported me since day one of the public announcement. They have seen me make mistakes and wrong decisions. They have watched me endure challenges and difficulties, and they have seen me grow in and through ministry. They inspire me to never give up, but to stay the course.

How do you keep yourself healthy–physically and spiritually?

I stay healthy physically by staying active. I keep moving and take advantage of opportunities to be physical. At work, I take the stairs instead of the elevator. I eat “clean,” staying away from beef. I eat very little pork. I mostly drink water.

Spiritually speaking, I believe wholeheartedly in personal private time of meditation. Daily, I give myself to reading a passage of scripture and a devotional, and then I spend time in prayer. I also believe in being a life-long learner, so I’m always taking classes to stay biblically sharp. Currently I am studying at the Ministry with Excellence (MWE) School of Ministry.