The Search Task Force unanimously and enthusiastically recommends that St. John’s Baptist Church call Haley Blackwell as its new Minister for Youth and Young Adults. Haley is currently the Associate Campus Pastor of Formation at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. If called by the church, she and her husband, Austin, will relocate to Charlotte, and she will begin her ministry with us on August 1.
Haley has received the unanimous approval of the Personnel Resource Team and the unanimous blessing of the diaconate. She was presented to the church for a call on Sunday morning, June 12, during the worship service.
The Search Task Force is co-chaired by Lindsay Wilson and Todd Stillerman. The task force members are Meg Bond, Steven Follis, Wilson Gray, Eric McCombs, and Mattie Stillerman. Dennis Foust is the staff liaison to the task force. Sally Young, chair of deacons, and Nancy Wilson, chair of the personal resource team, provide additional support and guidance to the task force.
Haley Blackwell is currently the Associate Campus Pastor of Formation at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. She holds an M.Div. in Spiritual Formation & Theology from Baylor University and a B.A. in
Religion & Philosophy & Christian Spiritual Formation from Friends University.
Haley on her call to ministry:
From a young age I sensed a call into ministry of some sort. When I was a college student, I was invited to explore my first ministry leadership opportunity at First Baptist Church in Augusta, Kansas as a youth intern for my uncle, who at the time, had been in youth ministry for over 20 years. It was during that opportunity that I sensed my calling deepen. I went on to study Religion and Philosophy at Friends University and it was in that place that I had mentors help me grow in my faith and in my ministry skills. Upon graduation I headed to George W. Truett Theological Seminary where I focused my studies on spiritual formation and college aged students. I was part of the Resident Chaplain program through Baylor Spiritual Life. This was a program focused on providing programing, pastoral care, and crisis response in residence halls.
Haley on the transition to church ministry:
After my time at Truett I came back to my alma mater to serve the student body at Friends University. I’ve had a wonderful time getting to know students both in and out of the classroom. I’ve loved the freedom I’ve been allowed to explore new ministry initiatives and teach students practical ministry skills that will
prepare them for vocational ministry. I’ve spent the better part of the past five years studying faith formation and spiritual development. As much as I have enjoyed my time in higher education, I grieve that I do not get to support my students before and after their time in college. I believe the church has
much more to offer the spiritual development of students and that’s why I’m excited to move into this role at St. John’s.
Haley on working with young people:
My mentor in seminary, Burt Burleson, taught me that you want your Children’s Minister to be a fundamentalist (teaching children the fundamentals of the faith) your Youth Minister to be an evangelist (inviting students into a life with Jesus) your College/Young Adults Minister to be a deconstructionist (inviting hard questions about faith) and your Senior Minister to be a mystic (delving deep into a rich, meaningful, spirituality). The opportunity to work with youth and young adults at St. Johns will allow me to put into action the study I’ve done on faith development and formation in a church setting. This allows me to walk alongside students as they grow into late adolescence, young adulthood and beyond. We couldn’t be more thrilled to join the St. John’s community this August.