Alumni Council Spotlight: Rev. Katie Grover
How did you come to know the Lord?
I grew up in the church, rarely missing a Sunday. I feel as if I have always known the Lord. I have always been drawn to church, to Scripture, to Christ. In the church, I found a family; a family willing to encourage me in my faith. A family who were willing to come and pick me up to make sure I made it to church. I started teaching Sunday School while I was in high school. And yes, I know going to church doesn’t mean you know the Lord, but for me, it has truly been a way my relationship with the Lord was cultivated and nurtured. I have never felt as if I have not known God, and not known Christ as Savior. I have journal entries dating back to late elementary/early junior high days of prayers and desires to love and serve God. In eighth grade, I had a profound experience which I believe cemented my relationship with God, as God answered the prayers of this 13 year old girl, uttered as her head hit the pillow. Of course, I have continued to grow in my knowledge of God, and pray I will never quit this journey.
How were you called to ministry?
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” ~Jeremiah 1:4. I truly accept this as the means to which I was called -even before my birth. I have a harrowing birth story; born very prematurely, born needing a miracle. And, in prayer, my mother offered me, much like Hannah, to the Lord. I look back and see the women in ministry God placed in my life, including a woman who came to preach revival at my church when I was seven or eight. I remember where I was sitting; I remember spending the service trying to think of a question to ask her so I could speak to her. I was nine when I offhandedly told my cousin I was going to be a pastor. However, it was in Zimbabwe, on a cultural-immersion/mission trip with the Wesley Foundation from the University of Maryland, that I heard the still small voice of the Lord as I was on the mountain top at Great Zimbabwe. Cliché, I know.
How did you decide to come to Asbury?
I had decided on Asbury Theological Seminary long before I set foot on campus. In fact, the first time I stepped on campus, I was registering for the fall semester. I knew Asbury to be Wesleyan, to be steeped in the holiness tradition, and to have a rigorous academic program. I also knew it was located in a small, quaint town. Though, what cemented my decision was knowing Jonathan Smith and Casey Walker had chosen ATS. These two people never spoke to me about going to seminary or even much about the school except for the fact it was where they had gotten their degrees. I knew them to be well educated, theologically grounded, and persons of genuine faith. I felt I could trust their decisions.
If I were telling people why they should choose ATS, it would be because of Asbury’s focus not just on academics, but on the whole person. Asbury Theological Seminary does not just want to graduate men and women with degrees, but men and women who are Spirit-filled, who have experienced healing, who are worshipers, who love (not just intellectually know) the Triune God and God’s Word revealed in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh and the Word made text. ATS is also a school where you are encouraged to form community, not just with fellow students, but with professors and staff. We are all in this together.
What were some of the best parts of your time at Asbury?
Chapel! Hands down. I made a commitment to attend chapel each time it was offered. If I did not have one hour to spare a day, then I needed to re-prioritize. Later, I would add Daily Eucharist to the schedule on Monday and Fridays. I also enjoyed working on the chapel team. Attending so many chapels and helping execute so many worship experiences equipped me well for the task at hand.
My NSO was also very transformative. Among other things, Rev. JD Walt took us out into the cemetery on campus and called for us to die to self, else seminary become a cemetery where our faith might die.
What has your ministry been like after (or even before) your time at Asbury?
Ministry has been challenging, though I didn’t expect it to be otherwise. I serve two churches as an ordained elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. I even preach from a pulpit once filled by the Rev. Bob Mulholland. There are theological differences between myself and a large number of my colleagues. However, one of our professors (Dr. Bill Arnold) reminded me I was serving as a missionary in this context. I would consider there to be fruit from the ministry God assigned me -not large numbers in the pew, but people’s hearts growing closer to Christ. At the outset, I was met with several people fighting huge spiritual battles. ATS really equipped me to recognize those things and gave me resources to use. ATS also taught me the value of relationship in ministry.
How has staying connected with Asbury assisted you in ministry?
I know my ATS community stands behind me. Facing a $12,000 fine for ministry to the homeless, countless alum contacted me (even those I did not know) to offer support, shared the story on facebook, prayed, and contributed. I also have had the opportunity to return almost yearly to ATS, once for a Spiritual Renewal Retreat (planned for me at the last minute and oh, so necessary). Staying connected has allowed me to sit in a room with Dr. Seamands and Rev. Peg Hutchins to pray with and be prayed for. Several professors were able to help me navigate some of the questions I had to answer for the Board of Ordained Ministry. Even now, I often preach sermon series together with one of our alumnae. Another is in a band with me. ATS has given me a family and a place to land when I just need to feel the holy presence of God.
Personal: Tell us anything you would like to share about your family, hobbies, etc.
I live with Elisha, my cat. I enjoy reading (finally back at it after recovering from seminary), doing various crafty things, and the outdoors, especially the beach (though not as accessible in Baltimore.) I love my Baltimore Orioles and have season tickets with a colleague friend of mine (we call the games mini-vacations.) I love spending time with my nieces and nephews (and their parents.) I watch far too much television, but often find sermon fodder in the midst of it.