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From Food Services to a Career in Ministry

Drew Theological School alum Jimmy Brooks T’17 found the courage to pursue his calling while working for food services at Drew

September 2022 – There is no clear path that brings students to Drew Theological School to answer their calling or pursue theological careers.

Master of Divinity alum Jimmy Brooks T’17 found the courage to explore his calling after working at the Drew cafeteria and snack bar for several years. 

We sat down with Brooks to learn more about his journey at Drew that started as a part-time employee at food services to a Master of Divinity in Chaplaincy alum.

How did your work at Drew’s food services inspire you to enroll at the Theological School?
I was hired to work part-time and evenings at Drew’s snack bar. At first, I was kind of intimidated. This was Drew University and I thought it was strictly a religious institution, but I found out differently. It was when I began working catering functions at the cafeteria that I was convinced I would never sit in one of the classrooms, but rather look at God. Little did I know I was being prepared to become a student.

I discovered I knew several Theological School students and professors as we were members of the Calvary Baptist Church in Morristown, New Jersey.

The year before I was due to graduate from Pillar College, I asked my pastor if it was too soon to be thinking about a master’s degree. Never ask your pastor that question!

As God would have it, when I mentioned I was thinking about Drew to my advisor at Pillar College, she suggested I get in touch with the Rev. Dr. Kevin Miller, executive director of graduate admissions. It turns out I knew Dr. Miller from his pastorate in Boonton, New Jersey. Well, now the rest is history.

What is your vocational work now? How did the Theological School provide a transformative experience?
My experience at Drew has been transformative because I’ve been equipped to better serve the world. I work at Union County Social Service and I interact with many different situations that require more than handing out tracts. I am present with those I encounter to encourage them through what seems impossible to overcome. I started as a community service aide where I would visit the jail, nursing homes, and community events. I learned sometimes people just want someone to listen. I was able to encourage, give information, and hope to others. My ministry is one of encouragement and pastoral care to and for my co-workers. 

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