From teacher to preacher: Dr. Emily Williams earns Master of Divinity

Published 9:53 pm Saturday, May 18, 2024

Emily Williams comes from a long line of teachers. Her parents were career teachers with 93 combined years between them. Both of her siblings are educators. Like her family members, Williams became a teacher. For many years, she taught special education classes in the Vicksburg Warren School District. But Williams felt a pull toward something else.

One day, alone in her car, after earning her doctorate in education, Williams knew she heard God speak to her and tell her she would be a pastor. She said her first inclination was to dismiss it—she didn’t think she measured up.

“How can I be a preacher?” She said. “God, you know me. I’m a flawed human. I am not holy. How is this going to happen?”

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This wasn’t the first time Williams felt a call to “step out of the boat” and put total trust in God.

While working on her doctorate, she was given the assignment to create an innovative schooling program with a solid policy that could work anywhere in the world. She realized many homeschooled children had disabilities or challenges that required extra assistance and set out to create a program to help children who fell into this category. With her expertise in special education, she was uniquely equipped to design a curriculum for this purpose.

She based her proposal for the faith-based, groundbreaking school on Micah 6:8, “Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.” She was both surprised and encouraged by the enthusiasm her professors expressed for her design.

In 2017, Williams made the decision to leave her teaching post and implement that plan, naming it Micah’s Mission after the scripture she had been studying. The school is for students who are considered to be in the “at risk” bracket due to a variety of challenges, from danger of failing in a traditional school setting, to making poor choices, bullying issues, lack of confidence or trauma of some sort.

Micah’s Mission began as a small group that met in Williams’ home and quickly grew into a school housed at Crawford Street
United Methodist Church. She now has more than 70 students and a staff of teachers. Some students attend online and some
are enrolled only in the dyslexia program.

Williams describes Micah’s Mission as “a space where you come as you are. We leave judgment at the door, and we learn full circle so we can go into the community and complete the circle.”

As Micah’s Mission grew, Williams still felt the pull to do something more. She wanted to find a place where families and scripture could connect.

A local church needed a pastor, and she was asked by a superintendent in the Methodist church to consider taking this on.

“I knew if God was calling me to be a pastor, I needed to look at all the aspects of being a pastor,” Williams said.

While still working on her Master of Divinity through the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist Church, Williams began pastoring at Bradley’s Chapel a year ago.

“I was told the church is located at the end of the road where the pavement turns to gravel,” she said. Her pastoring experience
there has been fulfilling. “They’ve shaped me in a way that I will always be grateful.”

Williams also posts a blog called “” She hopes to continue to study the effects of trauma informed mindset, trauma in children and youth and trauma informed yoga.

As if it weren’t enough to be working on a Master in Divinity, being a wife and mother, leading a school for children with challenges, keeping up with a blog and preaching regularly at Bradley’s Chapel, Williams also serves on the board for Camp Wesley Pines in Copiah County. Her special interest is “Wesley Waterwalkers,“ which serves children with learning differences and their families. This year’s camp will be held July 16-18 for both children and care- givers. More information about the camp can be found at

Williams said she hopes to continue to combine her experience in teaching with her call to ministry through learning.

“I was always a teacher, but I knew God had a call for me to — I didn’t think necessarily to preach, but, I guess that’s what it all is — just being able to take his word from the church to the community and then, hopefully the community will connect to the church.”

Williams is excited about the future.

“The greatest of these is love,” she said. “That’s where I am with it.”