Meet The Staff: If Yvette Massey is There, Know She's Praying With You


Rev. Yvette Massey joined the Center for Congregational Excellence team in June as Associate Director. The conference communications office caught up with her recently to hear what’s inspiring her right now and where you might see her next.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Morning Person ... I wake up talking!

Q: What is at the top of your bucket list?
Yvette:Hmmm… this is a tough one because I’ve done most things that I want to do. I am blessed to be well traveled and have had great experiences. Maybe not on top but something on my bucket list is to go skydiving.

Q: If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be and why?
Yvette: Another tough one but I’d choose Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama is someone I admire because she’s a strong, assertive trailblazer. She is a leader in the world community and an advocate for social justice and civil rights. I love her philosophy, “when others go low, we go high” and the work she does to co-create the beloved community. 

Q: Did you always want to be a preacher?
Yvette: Actually no. I went to school for nursing and was interested in forensics.

Q: What are some of the different jobs that you have had in your life?
Yvette: My first job was at the City of Rock Hill in the Engineering Department. I worked in the summer assisting the secretary, data entry and map making. Since then I worked at Carowinds as a cashier foreman, at Pep Boys as a cashier, a certified nursing assistant at various hospitals and then I went into ministry.

Q: What is your role on the Congregational Excellence Staff?
Yvette: As Associate Director, I’m providing leadership and support in a variety of areas. I’m a generalist which means I work in many areas. I think the best way to describe my new role is a consultant that provides support and resources for the local church. One of my primary responsibilities is to oversee Next Faithful Steps/Healthy Church Initiative. I am enjoying working with Rev. Dr. Michael Stinson in Black Church Development, and with Rev. Blair Zant to prepare for the next session of MLAB (Methodist Learning and Action Board). Additionally, I am available to lead workshops, preach or be a pastor for the pastor. I also serve as a resource to the Atlanta-College Park and LaGrange Districts where I’m lending support to strategic growth teams and other initiatives.

While not specific to this position, my roles as Conference Chair of the Order of Elders and as president of the Black Clergy Women of The United Methodist Church both align with work of congregational excellence.

Q: Now that you’re not serving one local church, what are Sundays like for you?
Yvette: Most Sundays, when I am not engaged in programming at a specific church, I am visiting a church. I typically try to attend at least two churches a Sunday. For example one Sunday I attended Golden Memorial UMC’s 9:30 service and then Douglasville First’s 11 am service. I wasn’t preaching, but was there to show care, support and appreciation to the churches.

During the week, if I’m doing my job right, I’m not at my desk much but I’m in the districts, following up with pastors and encouraging and resourcing our churches. Last week I was in the Atlanta-Marietta District and the LaGrange District, then closed the week offering the convocation at the Bronze Lens Film Festival in Atlanta.

Q: Do you have any tips or inspiration you’ve picked up in the past few months?
Yvette: A couple of weeks ago I attended "Plywood Presents: Loving Disruptions," a conference about pairing innovation with doing good. We saw everyday people doing ministry in innovative ways. They found a cause and got wholeheartedly behind it. I saw a willingness to be vulnerable that I sometimes think is lacking in church. They’re transforming the world.

My advice is to go to something outside the church and bring your people with you. Learn and translate what’s working to your mission field. Every person that presented at the conference had a clear ask. You knew exactly what they wanted you to do. I think we can learn from that. Do it from the pulpit and from a mission perspective. Not 10 things, but one thing.

Q: You also just attended the national gathering of United Methodist Black Clergy Women. What was the most meaningful part of that event?
Yvette: Three or four years ago we implemented a service project. This year’s project was at the Gate City Wesley Center in downtown Phoenix, AZ. The center provides programs, services, and activities for families including after-school/summer programs, nutrition, sewing, gardening classes/opportunities; and emergency food assistance. We served in the clinic and engaged in community with the children by assisting smaller kids with making ice-cream and played basketball with the kids.

Our theme this year was “Value, Virtue and Voice: Speaking Truth in this Present Age.” We had an amazing experience and the women expressed that it was a meaningful time. As we gather we emphasize education, vocation and the importance of giving space for your spirit to be revived. Also, I’m happy to share that the 2019 annual meeting will be in Atlanta.

Q: Where might we see you next?
You might see me in your church on a Sunday or a weekday! And if you do, know that I’m there as a cheerleader and a support. If I’m there, know someone is praying with you!