With the enthusiastic recommendation of the Personnel Committee and Pastor Alan Sherouse, the affirmation of the Deacons, and the unanimous vote of the Congregation, we are excited to announce our new Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation: Rev. Courtney Willis.
We have experienced Courtney’s gifts for ministry over the last several years, first in leadership of our annual Women’s Retreat and then in her leadership of a special project to invigorate our ministry to families with young children since September of 2016. Her gifts for teaching, pastoral ministry, and engaging faith formation make her an ideal fit for this part-time position that focuses on Spiritual Formation, Teaching, Retreats, and other Special Events and Initiatives as part of our larger Pastoral Staff. For more on the place of this position within our staff team and ministry, see our “As We Go” transition plan.
Courtney Willis has a broad range of experience in pastoral ministry and faith formation. First Baptist Greensboro has come to appreciate Courtney’s gifts especially over the last year and a half, as she has led a special project to build our ministry to the parents & families of our growing children’s ministry. We are now excited for her ministry to expand to the whole of our Congregation in the role of Associate Pastor for Spiritual Formation.
A graduate of Elon University (BA in English and Education, 2000) and Princeton Theological Seminary (MA in Religious Education, 2003), Courtney has served churches in Tennessee and North Carolina, before more recently serving in a variety of capacities in the national ministry of PASSPORT, Inc.
- PASSSPORT, 2010-18 | Wrote Bible study curriculum, trained staff teams, mentored young adult summer staff members, and planned events including the national ecumenical Faith in 3D Conference
- Minister to Youth, Ardmore Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC, 2006-08 | Ministered to 100+ youth and their families through weekly Bible studies, fellowships and seasonal events
- Associate Minister, West Hills Baptist Church, Knoxville, TN, 2003-06 |Pastoral ministry focused on teaching small groups and pastoral counseling
“Courtney is an effective relational minister-someone easy to talk to, who prioritizes the person in front of her. But she also gets the job done because of her intense organizational skills. She is a gifted and creative minister who works well as part of a team.” – David Burroughs, President of PASSPORT, Inc.
“Courtney is responsive to her call, to her own faith formation, to the way of Jesus Christ. She seems to understand the reality of sacrifice AND celebration that the Gospel spells out. She models this in her own “walk” and in her ‘talk.'” – Gina Yeager-Buckley, Associate for Ministries with Youth, Presbyterian Church (USA)
“Courtney is one of the most gifted, thoughtful, and dedicated ministers I know. She is theologically astute, pastorally sensitive, and committed to faith formation-hers and those with whom she ministers. Courtney is the total package.” – Larry Hovis, Executive Coordinator, CBF of NC
“Courtney Willis is as gifted as any Baptist minister I know in the work of Spiritual Formation. The fact that she already knows us, loves us, and is a fit for the parameters of this job is, to me, nothing less than the Spirit working to bring us together at the right time and place for the work of the gospel.” – Alan Sherouse, Pastor
A Word from Courtney
I’ve had the distinct privilege of getting to know the wonderful people of this congregation over the last year and a half. Now, I am honored to have the opportunity to continue serving here at First Baptist. Although I’ve been serving primarily among families with young children, it is with great excitement that my role will be expanded to encompass spiritual formation of all members. Having sensed God’s calling to ministry since childhood, it is a delight to be a part of First Baptist an extension of that calling.
My love for congregational ministry runs deep, and I am excited to consider new ways to incorporate spiritual formation into the life of the church while preserving valuable traditions of Christian Education that many of us know and love. I am a teacher at heart, and I take joy in listening for God’s wisdom to help others grow to understand God’s love in renewing and energizing ways. I intensely love all of God’s people, and feel a deep sense of calling toward helping all people know they are beloved children of God. I am a faithful student of Scripture. Reading, studying and exploring the Bible inform both my personal life and the ways in which I minister in the context of the church. I look forward to teaching, loving and learning alongside you as we seek to discover who God is, and who God is creating each of us to be in the world.
Courtney and her Family
Courtney and Stephen Willis with son, Berkley (8)