Megan Turner Doud grew up Baptist without knowing of the diversity of the Baptist universe.
“I didn’t know what CBF was. I didn’t know women could be in ministry. It wasn’t until I started looking for seminaries that I learned what CBF was,” she explained.
Now it will be Doud’s turn to pass that knowledge along to a new generation of college students and young adults as CBF Georgia’s coordinator of young Baptist ministries, a newly formed position she begins today.
It’s a role Doud said she has been prepared for through previous ministry. Most immediately she served as minister for students and missions at Aiken’s First Baptist Church in South Carolina and previously was a student ministry resident at First Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala. She earned a master of divinity degree from Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology and served on the coordinating council for CBF South Carolina. She currently is serving on the CBF Ministries Council and is the current past-president of the CBF Youth Ministry Network.
For CBF Georgia, she will be responsible for fostering networks among children and youth workers, establishing college campus ministries and helping churches learn how to improve outreach to young adults.
“I remember that my time as a youth was very formative and that my youth minister spoke into my life, so I wanted to give that back to students who are growing up,” she said.
Doud recently spoke with Baptist News Global about this new chapter of ministry in her life and how it fits into CBF life.
How do you understand your calling, and how has it evolved over the years?
I was first called into ministry during high school and I finally listened in college — and still had to live into it a little more. It continued to evolve by working with students during my time at McAfee, where I was given the opportunity to work with students at area churches. Working with their youth confirmed my calling to student ministry.
I feel like my calling is always about growing and changing and seeing where the Spirit leads me. I saw this especially during my time in Aiken, where I had roles as minister to students while picking up missions. It developed my love for serving others and instilling that into my students.
How did you come to have those different roles there?
About a year into my time at Aiken we had a big staff turnover because of retirements, which left me as the only full-time minister on staff. So, I started going to Personnel Committee, Finance Committee and business meetings and being part of those conversations, plus supervising the office. That also has shaped me and given me strategies in how I do ministry.
I also had opportunities to work with college students in Aiken, taking then on mission trips to the Bahamas and also doing an urban immersion mission with Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries in New York. I witnessed how formative that was for them and to this day they will still say it was the best learning experience they ever had. That’s why I am excited to work with college students in my new position with CBF Georgia.
Why do you feel such an affinity for college students?
Part of it is that I was one myself. Trying to find community while I was in college was hard. How can you stay true to who you are and grow closer to God and be involved at a church with all the other things going on? I was given different experiences during my time in college, and I want to pass that along to college students now.
“I was given different experiences during my time in college, and I want to pass that along to college students now.”
This is not just about them coming to us but us going to them to bridge that gap between them and faith. It’s also important to me that students see me and my family as their extended family while they are away from home. That’s how those relationships start. When you are vulnerable with them, they in turn trust you. My husband and I are looking for homes in Macon that have space for that. We need a place here where they can come to hang out.
What are some of the bigger challenges facing college and young adults?
Oh my gosh. Number one, it’s just hard. I’ve been out of college for almost 10 years, and even then it was hard. It’s even harder now because of social media and all the other distractions in college life today. Some of them have been burned by the church. Some people don’t see the need to have a faith. A lot of people these days don’t grow up with church like I did. Many had travel for sports leagues on the weekends and church was not at the center for them. My parents had me in church every Sunday and Wednesday. A lot of youth don’t have that today.
What is the mission and scope of this this new position at CBF Georgia?
Part of my time will be spent with the churches and working with youth and college minsters, and also with family ministers, to let them know they are not in this alone, especially in this crazy time of COVID we are in. They need to know they have a cheerleader supporting them and providing them a community. That cheerleader is not only me but CBF and CBF Georgia. My goal will be to connect ministers to other ministers in the state and in their immediate areas. Being connected like that is so important when you are doing this work.
“The idea is to create sustainable campus ministries to serve college students in middle Georgia.”
The other part of my job will be helping develop CSF — Cooperative Student Fellowship — ministries on college campuses. Think of a BSM (Baptist Student Ministry), but it’s through CBF. The idea is to create sustainable campus ministries to serve college students in middle Georgia.
What kinds of resources and approaches will you have to offer fellow ministers?
It’s being able to connect them together. I have served on the CBF Youth Ministry Network board for six years now, so I’ll be making sure ministers are part of that community. And I’ll be doing the same with connecting children’s ministers with CBF’s Children’s Ministry Network. This is all about being able to brainstorm together and to borrow ideas from other ministers.
How much of your time will be devoted to educating churches about the needs, habits and preferences of young adults?
A lot of it will be. Young people want a place where they feel accepted, where they will be handed leadership roles and will be trusted and where they will have community. A lot of times we expect them to come to us and that they will just show up at our normal hours, Sunday morning for Sunday school and worship. That’s just not the case. It requires us to be adaptable, whether that’s having a Theology on Tap ministry or forming groups that meet in people’s houses.
And it’s having virtual options. Some of my college students love that we are livestreaming on Facebook and Vimeo and that they can be in their dorm rooms and watch and be part of church — or watch the recordings later when they have time. All of this is about establishing relationships and dialoguing and learning together. This is one of the ways I want to be a resource for our churches and young people.
Are you also responsible for educating college students and other young adults about CBF?
Yes. Everybody thinks all Baptists are Southern Baptists. I do want to let students know there is a moderate-to-progressive Baptist identity that they can find space in, and that there is a church that will accept you. The youth I have served, all they wanted was a place where they are welcomed and where their friends are welcomed. They often have a stereotype of what the church is. They have a stereotype of what a Baptist is. I won’t be alone in this because there are college kids at Mercer University who have deep roots with CBF, and they can help steer some of this effort, too.
Hopefully, when all is said and done, the students we encounter will know what to look for in a church. I’m just excited for the opportunity to connect and give back and to let students, churches and ministers know they are not alone in this and that here are people walking this journey with them.