More often than not, you can find Joseph McBrayer living out his call over a hot cup of coffee.
As the director of Emory Wesley Fellowship—Emory University’s United Methodist campus ministry—McBrayer spends lots of time in coffee shops, listening to and praying with young adults, helping them navigate the transformative experience of college.
An interview with Joseph about his call story and ministry
“It was just this beautiful moment of DOING church together, not just going to church.”
“I talk to students and help them figure out this whole Jesus thing,” says McBrayer. “I get to help them build Christian community where they can learn who they are in Christ and who they want to be in life.”
It was during his own college years that McBrayer began to discern his vocational call. As a freshman at Auburn University, he traveled to Mobile, Alabama with Auburn Wesley Fellowship and Alabama Rural Ministry to work at St. Francis Street Mission.
McBrayer says the trip marked the first time he experienced doing church in such a profound way. Together with the men, women, and children of the mission, his team cooked meals, sang songs, read scripture, prayed, and broke bread together. It was a pivotal moment in his journey of faith, revealing a new sense of purpose for his life.
“I came back from that weekend saying, ‘You know, I think I want to do this,’” said McBrayer. “And I don’t know what ‘this’ looks like, but I’m really excited about it.”
After that experience, he began seeking more leadership opportunities in campus fellowship, helping to plan mission trips, lead worship, and engage with mentors in ministry.
“I learned so much about who I was…and who God was calling me to be, and how I might do “this” in ministry.”
After graduating from Auburn, he enrolled in seminary, where he was able to engage deeply in theological discussions about God and learn about the practice of ministry how to teach and preach.
“Seminary was a great time for me to be in ministry with people and to really learn, experientially, what ‘this’ is,” says McBrayer.
It also gave him a chance to further discern his call—to collegiate ministry.
“I hope to continue to learn and grow in my ability as a pastor in ministry, to think theologically, reflect upon my context of ministry locally, denominationally, and globally,” says McBrayer. “I want to further engage our young adults and faith communities in meaningful, collaborative ministry to transform the church and the world.”
McBrayer describes his vocation as “living the dream.” Through conversation, worship, Bible study, and community outreach, he walks with students seeking God’s presence, helping them share the transforming love of Jesus Christ with each other and the world.
If you feel inspired and want to know more, click here