Meredith Martin- Called to Extend the Ministry of Christ in Community
Meredith Martin is the Director of Programs at Family Services of Davidson County, Inc.. She is appointed there as an extension minister of the Western North Carolina Conference.
At Annual Conference in June, she was ordained as a Deacon, and will continue her work with Family Services as an ordained clergy.
She is a 2006 graduate of Wake Forest University, received her M.Div. from Duke Divinity School in 2009, and received a Master’s in Social Work from UNC- Chapel Hill in 2011.
She served as a Deacon Associate at Wesley Memorial UMC in High Point before working in Davidson County.
She is married to Rev. Duncan Martin, who serves Ebenezer and Reeds UMC’s in Lexington. They have two-year old twin daughters, Ginny and Kate.
Below is a conversation that will help you learn more about Meredith and her ministry:
Tell me about your call to the ministry of a deacon…when did you hear it? How did you know that was a right fit?
Throughout my call experience I have consistently heard a call from both the church and God to connect the church with the world. I am grateful for our denomination supporting an order of ministers in this important work. My passions for justice and mercy have always defined my life as a Christian and thus I knew when I was being raised up as a leader in our church that the Order of Deacons would be the right fit.
You are working as a clergy of the church in a county agency…have you been received well? Does it ever feel odd?
I am currently appointed to a nonprofit agency called Family Services of Davidson County, Inc. (we are not the county/government DSS). Our agency works with people in our community who are experiencing challenges in their lives due to mental health problems, involvement in the criminal justice system, domestic violence and/or sexual assault and related risk factors.
Our staff and board of directors have been very open to me having dual training and vocation as a social worker and a clergyperson. I have been able to use my training as a clergyperson in a variety of ways to support our clients and agency. While it is important that I respect ethical boundaries as our agency is formally a secular agency, our community values the faith community significantly and I have been able to incorporate my divinity school training, when appropriate.
How does this job connect with your commitment to a local church?
Through this job I am able to support many local churches of all denominations in our community. Through my work I connect with local churches to provide volunteer opportunities for churches, training for clergy and their congregations, community presentations, and I also do some consulting with pastors and other faith leaders on issues they are facing in their churches and how to appropriately handle them. Currently, I am doing a lot of training for faith leaders on how to respond when persons in their communities share they are experiencing domestic violence. I am also a certified trainer in Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid, two nationally recognized trainings for persons who want to be better responders to mental health emergencies in their communities. I would invite the opportunity to share my expertise in either of these areas with other local churches in the connection. I have a secondary appointment to my local charge as well which allows me to stay involved with worship, teaching and other ministry duties.
What does being received as a clergy member in full connection mean to you?
I am honored and humbled. It is hard to believe I am officially a member in full connection! The process is long and, at times, challenging but I am very grateful for my call and the church’s confirmation of it through ordination. I look forward to continuing to offer my gifts to the church and am grateful for the other deacons, elders and lay persons who have supported me along the way. I believe that the order of deacons has a responsibility to help keep the church responsive to our communities and I hope that my ministry will support many churches in succeeding in this important work.
How do you see yourself working as a deacon in the church in the future?
I am open to where the Holy Spirit calls me. So, while I am comfortable and feeling effective in my ministry in a local nonprofit I have certainly not crossed off the possibility of working for a local church again one day.
You can contact Meredith at email@example.com
Resources for Vital Congregations
Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor
GBHEM Leadership Resources
Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church
Englewood Book Review
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
Ted Talks: The Golden Circle
Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability
Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability
Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians
Be A Disciple
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network
Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations
Living As United Methodist Christians
Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials
Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today
John Wesley Sermons: Anthology
Get Their Name
Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit
Canoeing the Mountains
Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People
Community: The Structure of Belonging
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
Institute for Emerging Issues
Congregations 4 Children
The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants
The Duke Endowment
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.