As graduation day approached for Lauren McCoy, an international business major at the University of Oklahoma, she anticipated a future of finance and administration. She was interested in microfinance, a type of service that involves giving small loans to low-income individuals to help them start a business and support their families.
“That’s what my hope was, which it still is in some ways,” McCoy said. “I wanted to find a way to use my business skills to do ministry of some sort. I always had an idea that I wanted to do that, but I didn’t know what it would look like.”
With graduation just around the corner, McCoy began looking for jobs at various banks, hoping to gain experience in finance. But one phone call changed all of her plans.
“First Baptist Amarillo called me out of the blue and said, ‘We’re looking for a new associate youth minister. Would you be interested?’” recalled McCoy, who had worked at a church in Norman throughout her time in college. “I said, ‘Um… Sure!’ So God picked me up and put me in Amarillo. I didn’t have any family or friends there, so it was a really defining life movement for me when I realized I really am called to ministry.”
After several years in Amarillo—during which time McCoy met and married her husband Ryan—the newlyweds decided to quit their jobs and pursue degrees at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. McCoy applied to and was accepted into Truett’s joint Master of Divinity (MDiv) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program, a partnership between Truett Seminary and Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business in which students graduate with both an MDiv and MBA.
“I chose Truett mainly for the joint degree because I was interested in both business and ministry,” McCoy said. “I had known about Truett from pastors and mentors, and I wanted to be like them.”
McCoy has now completed two years of her MDiv degree at Truett and is currently taking courses with the Hankamer School of Business to complete her MBA. She will then return to Truett to finish her last semester and her required mentorship.
Looking toward the future, McCoy hopes to use the knowledge and skills she’s gained through her time at both Truett and Hankamer to positively impact a church or ministry organization. She can picture herself on a church staff helping the church to become efficient and effective with often limited resources. She also envisions herself working with congregations, educating people on how they can use their gifts and talents to help others.
“I can see myself teaching the congregation to use the skills they’re gifted with—whether that’s marketing, banking, being a doctor—and helping those less fortunate for the long term, not just little handouts here and there but really investing in people. I would like to help teach the church how to do that in their own community.”
McCoy’s future plans and her confidence in pursuing them stem from her formative experiences at Truett and Baylor. One class in particular at Truett stood out to her—The Business of Ministry.
“It was a really practical class, which I appreciated. It helped me see visually ways that I could use my business skills in the church or in a ministry organization,” McCoy said.
Through the course, seminary students engage with professionals in the fields of ministry and business, like a representative from a church insurance company or the law division of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
“After the class, I also now have a lot of resources and contacts that I can connect with if I want an internship or if I just want more information about something specific,” McCoy said. “I thought that was a really helpful class for me, figuring out how business and church are connected.”
In addition to her classes, McCoy considers the strong partnership between Truett and Baylor to be one of the greatest assets to her in her education. For example, a Truett staff member encouraged McCoy to attend a class concerning financial accounting in the church that was offered by Baylor. Extra classes and resources like this have helped to grow and form McCoy in ways she may not have had the opportunity to otherwise.
“That’s something that I’m really grateful for— the connection that Truett gives me to churches and also to the greater University,” she said. “I want to go back to the church so I’m here at Truett, but Baylor is giving me great business tools that I can apply to the church as well.”