Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features an interview with an amazing minister on this blog. Today, we are thrilled to interview, Telika McCoy. Telika IS what a minister looks like!

Telika, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving. 

When I’m asked about the places and ways I have served and am serving, I consider my calling. Because I am a writer, I find comfort in poetic language that clarifies the depths of God’s words to my heart. My ministry journey is captured in these sentiments: 

I am called to dark corners where light is often hesitant to go; places where darkness becomes light when it realizes it’s potential. 

I am called to depths where it’s hard to breathe; so deep that even suffocation could not destroy the power of presence. 

I am called to heights that seem comfortable on its face, yet the elevation leaves souls lonely and in need of a like-minded presence. 

I am called to peace –even when hate prevails and exposes its face like it’s superior when it is not. 

I am called to hope –even when it’s merely a shadow among the seeming brightness of sorrow. 

I am called to power –even when it crawls in communities stricken with oppressive energy. 

I am simply called; and that is enough when I answer.  

What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry? 

My greatest sources of joy in ministry are creativity, the energy of children, and an honest approach to humanity. I’ve published three books. Two of them offer unorthodox views that challenge readers; the third highlights the bliss of childhood theology. The freedom of creativity in these projects brought joy to my ministry. Moreover, my work with children, in and outside of Christian spaces, has provided me balance as I grow older in ministry. An honest approach to humanity brings me joy because I’m afforded opportunities to permit people to be real with themselves when discussing social issues. Finding common factors among diverse groups has been a delightful element of my ministry. 

What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?

My greatest challenge in ministry is my lack of purposeful leisure time. It can be difficult to step away from that which you enjoy. Recently, I scheduled fun time on my calendar. My aim was to create healthy spaces with healthy people so that I could have time to appreciate the significance of Sabbath. My desire to face this challenge was so intense that I bought a 2020 Can Am Ryker 600 Motorcycle. I figured if I couldn’t get to the beach often, I could feel like I was there while on my motorcycle. Though this approach may be drastic for some people, I understood that my extreme nature called for it. I’m proud of myself for, finally, addressing this challenge for the sake of my ministry and my relationships. I have more work to do in this area, but I’m committed to the task. I pray that my pastoral colleagues, who suffer neglect of self, willconsent to adding themselves to their calendars. It’s a great move in the right direction. 

What is the best ministry advice you have received?   

I was blessed to study under and be mentored by the late Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, a humble man who was once deemed The Dean of Preachers. Dr. Taylor offered much advice that guided my young seminarian mind. He advised me that after every ministry assignment, I should seek God for another chance to do better. This approach helped me to, not just be humble, but also reflective. I learned it’s not enough to be humble. Since that time, I often taught that there is a false humility that humanity exudes. Because we are not reflective, we use humbleness as a badge of “praise me for not praising myself” OR “I succeeded, but let’s not talk about it.” This leads to a lack of recognizing of accomplishments, shame in receiving accolades, and refusal to acknowledge rank and earned positions and statuses. Ultimately, God doesn’t get glory because we dumb-down to seem humble. Moreover, non-believers assume that being Christian lacks reward in the world-at-large. The advice Dr. Taylor gave taught me never to deny the success I gained from God-given opportunities. I’ve been blessed to become a better version of myself while, simultaneously, reflecting on WHO provides opportunities. I can hold my head up because if humility is present, then it’s OK to accept honor in my life. I fully accept Proverbs 18:12: “Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.” Honor does come my way…I’ve learned that’s OK. 

Rev. Dr. Telika McCoy is the youth minister at Mount Peace Missionary Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is the author of three books.