Alumni Q & A with Merrie Johnson

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MJohnson with signQ: Tell us about your ministry and family.

A: For 14 years I have been the senior consultant of student evangelism and discipleship for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and in youth ministry for 30 years.

In December 2013, I earned a Doctor of Education from Southeastern, a Master of Arts in Communications from Southwestern in 1984, and an undergraduate degree from Berry College in Rome Georgia 1982.

I have two sons, Mac and Murphy. Mac and my brother, Chris, graduated from Southeastern in 2013. My dad, James Ray Allen, also graduated from Southeastern with a Master of Divinity in 1981. He recently retired from after 64 years of pastoral ministry in South Carolina and Georgia.

Q: Why Southeastern?

A: Living in Raleigh, I became interested in the Ed.D. program at Southeastern. I liked the idea of a cohort of 9 to 12 people to go through the program together with providing encouragement and support along that journey

Q: What was your most influential moment at Southeastern?

A: Hearing the words that I had made it–the announcement that I had graduated in the doctorate program. This seminary allowed me to tailor my research in the field of youth ministry, which helped me in my ministry in the Baptist State Convention. For each paper I could concentrate on how to help teenagers, regardless the subject.

Q: How did Southeastern help you achieve your ministry goals?

A: The Ed.D. program at Southeastern allowed me to have new excitement after 27 years of youth ministry. I was challenged not to settle but to learn and do new research. I was able to take a fresh approach to youth ministry in a fun and engaging way.

Q: What advice do you have for current and future students?

A: Take your education seriously. Find a place where you can learn that believes the same things you do because the teachers that you study under affect you.

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

A: My sons and I enjoy going on trips together and attending sporting events such as University of Tennessee football games.

Q: What was your favorite class or professor at Southeastern?

A: Dr. Coley for “Differentiated Learning” because he used activity based learning that encourages different learning styles for students.

Q: What is one book that everyone should read?

A: For right now, “The Rise of the Nones” by James Emery White because it attempts to explain this new generation that often has no religious affiliation.

Q: What has God been teaching you lately?

A: From my dissertation, I learned that the biblical literacy level of North Carolina Baptist teenagers is very low. We have to be more diligent in making sure our churches are teaching students the Bible and providing a disciple-making culture. I direct the student program at Fort Caswell on Oak Island each summer where over 7000 students attend and the focus for 2015 is how to study God’s word.

Q: Southeastern is known as a Great Commission seminary, how did Southeastern prepare you to be a Great Commission leader?

A: Southeastern encouraged me to find youth ministers, volunteers and students that I could help become fully devoted followers of Christ. Learning here was not about my getting smarter but about taking what I learned and passing it on to others.

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