Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features a fabulous minister on our blog. Today we are pleased to share this interview with Kenyetta Brown. Kenyetta IS what a minister looks like.
Kenyetta, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.
For as long as I can remember I have worked with children in some capacity, both in the church and community. From Sunday School to Praise Dance Team to fundraising for Vacation Bible School, I am willing to serve in whatever ways I am able. At the tender age of eight, I began my first church role as Sunday School secretary. After I was told about the responsibilities I remember asking, “are you sure, because I think that this is a job for a grown up?” Looking back, it amazes me that my pastor could see things in me that I could not see on my own.
Currently, I am the youth minister at First Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, North Carolina, where Rev. Dr. Thomas Smith, Sr. is the pastor. I am passionate about outreach and those suffering at the hands of social injustices. I engage in everything from volunteering with grass roots efforts to organizing food and clothing giveaways to other missional endeavors. In March, I went to Cuba with a team to help build a seminary.
In 2017, I felt God tugging at my heart to attend seminary. At first thought my reply was, “no sir, I am not a PREACHER and certainly not a pastor.” I eventually surrendered my will unto the Lord’s and enrolled in Campbell University’s Divinity School that fall. In saying yes, I have come to understand that God’s call is not inside a box, for God has use for his children in many areas of ministry. As a Guardian Ad Litem for Cumberland County, God is at work each time I investigate the best interest of children and then communicate their needs to the judge. Opportunities in ministry present themselves all around me, and I do my best to discern and obey the voice of the Lord.
What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?
Children and women are my greatest sources of joy. I love when a child realizes that Mrs. Brown’s God is their God too! In their innocence, they hold on to my every word as I do my best to make biblical stories relevant and applicable. Even though do not always realize it, they are growing in their faith with every question they ask and each time they step out of their comfort zones.
I recently had a nine-year-old express that she would like to join the church. I cried on my drive home. I had another child say they wanted to be baptized so that they can show other kids at school how to act like God. A teenager shared that she and another teenager want to teach dance lessons to disadvantaged children in the community. Every time our children make a decision that positions them closer to the fulfillment of God’s will for their lives, it gives me strength. When working with children, the rewards are not always evident or instant, but in my heart I know the seeds planted today will eventually reap a harvest.
So often women walk around with their nails manicured, make-up perfect, and no strand of hair out of place, but their hearts are heavy. Somehow, we convince ourselves that our personas are a better version of ourselves. We take several photos in search of that perfect one to post on social media. We have Pinterest-worthy birthday parties our children. We smile to fight back tears. We take on more tasks all because ministry can make us feel we must work twice as hard. The truth of the matter is that we are not the sum of the mistakes we make or anyone’s expectations of who they feel we should be. I experience tremendous joy when I see women restored so that they can unapologetically be their best selves without the mask. It is in these moments that women of God truly experience life abundantly.
What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?
I am on a lifelong ministry journey with hills and valleys, a path I was traveling long before I even came into the knowledge of who God created me to be. So often God reveals his plans for my life through the people I meet and the experiences God allows. On my journey I have experienced rejection, so I encourage everyone. I have felt pain from the actions of church leadership, and yet I still forgive. I have stared betrayal in the face and walked wounded, all while still serving others. More importantly, I have also experienced unimaginable LOVE from a risen Savior, so I smile at adversity because in the end I am still a CHAMPION! Ministry in and of itself has taught me to live my life according to I Thessalonians 5:18: “give thanks in all circumstances.”
What advice would you give to young girl in your congregation who might be sensing a call to ministry?
My very first response would be words of affirmation and a big hug. Next, I would offer to mentor her. Ministry can be scary on its own, and for Baptist women it can be intimidating. It is very important that, as a woman myself, I provide the love, guidance, and support she will need so that God can make out of her life everything he intends for it to be. From experience, I know other woman can cause your spiritual demise. As a minister, it is my responsibility to do everything I can to encourage her to go forth in God so that he can use her mightily.