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Alumni Spotlight: Sharon Yancey

Published Date: October 3, 2016

sharon-yanceySharon Yancey’s walk with Christ has provided her a multi-faceted portfolio in ministry. From parish and youth ministry, to ministry mentoring and ministry resource networking, Nancy has witnessed the Lord at work in a variety of settings.  But her first encounter of the Lord at work was in a personal encounter at a young age.

Sharon recalls, “I came to faith when I was 11 years old at my home church, Richards Memorial Church UMC in Pensacola, Florida. It was after a Wednesday night prayer meeting and I was sitting by myself waiting for my mom’s choir practice to finally be over. I was reading a brochure and John 3:16 popped out at me and I reached out God, who really reached back to me. The pastor was on his way out of the church, but was prompted to come back to check on things and found me sitting there with John 3:16. It was a Damascus road moment to say the least.  This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about children’s ministries.  If you ask people when they came to faith 75% of them will tell you it was between the ages of 10 and 13.  This is certainly true for me as well.”

 Sharon had dreamed of a career as a Teacher or News Anchor until receiving a call to ministry in her senior year of High School. After receiving confirmation from friends and ministers, she entered college with the intention of pursuing full time ministry. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Minor in Education from the University of West Florida, Sharon went on to earn a Master of Arts in Religion from Asbury Theological Seminary.

sharon-3Upon completion of her seminary education, Sharon went on to complete an internship at Wesley’s Chapel in London England, and then served congregations at First UMC in Waco, Texas, and Highland Park UMC in Dallas, Texas. After moving to Atlanta with her husband, Sharon went on to serve at Peachtree Road UMC, Northbrook UMC and Roswell, UMC as well. It was at Roswell UMC that Sharon received a new calling from the Lord.

Sharon left Roswell UMC to pursue service within The Matthew Initiative, an organization which seeks to assist under sourced churches to establish their ministries to children and young families. Currently serving as the organization’s director, Sharon states, “The Matthew Initiative empowers churches to become places of joy, hospitality, and hope to the children of their communities. We work with our partner churches for 6 months to a year until they can launch, build and sustain their new ministry to children and families. To date we have been part of the revitalization of over 15 partner churches, and we are currently working in 6 churches in north Georgia and West Florida. We are beginning to understand the need for entrepreneurial ministries like The Matthew Initiative to address critical needs in the church today.”

yancey-2In addition to her life in ministry, Sharon enjoys time with her family, and traveling. “I have been married for 32 years to Steven Yancey, who has been my best friend since middle school.  Our daughter Jordan is married to Ezekiel Black and is also a graduate of Asbury Seminary. Jordan is the Associate Director of The Matthew Initiative. Her daughter and our granddaughter Zelda was born on Christmas Eve and is 9 months old. Our daughter Alex has just started her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Georgia State University. We enjoy frequent trips to Black Mountain, North Carolina and family dinners together. As a serious “foodie”,  I also enjoy cooking and finding that next great food adventure.”

Moving forward in her ministry adventure, Sharon hopes to equip 30 more churches to become places of joy, hospitality, and hope for the children and families of their communities over the next 2yancey years. She also hopes to reproduce the model of The Matthew Initiative throughout the United States, bring The Matthew Initiative to England and beyond, and use that ministry to train the next generation of children and ministry leaders. Whatever the task required for the Kingdom, Sharon has a expansive ministry skill set to draw from!

For more information on The Matthew Initiative, visit their website at:


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