By Leigh Pritchett
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
Melissa Carlisle Golden, 30, of Prattville is a licensed professional counselor and president of her private practice Transformation Counseling, Inc. She also sings in her church’s choir, is involved in neighborhood outreach and serves on the board of directors for TAB Media. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Samford University and her master’s and doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Adam, are newlyweds.
Ministry: Licensed professional counselor
Church name: First Baptist Church, Prattville, in Autauga Baptist Association
Life verse: “And we know that all things work together for good, for those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
Q: Describe where you focus your greatest ministry efforts.
A: My ministry and vocational calling have centered around integrative Christian counseling. I believe the Christian counselor should be a humble vessel in the Lord’s pursuit of the hearts, minds and souls of His precious created beings. Counseling can be used as a tool for discipleship for the Christian, as well as an evangelistic outreach for the non-Christian. As a licensed professional, I enjoy living out this calling in both the church and the community.
Q: Who is one of the most influential people in your faith life? Why?
A: My mother, Laurie, instantly comes to mind as the most influential person in my spiritual life. As a young child, my mother read Scripture and prayed with me every day. She sacrificed her own conveniences to provide Christian education through high school, Samford University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She encouraged church activities to further build on the foundation God was already graciously building at home. Day by day, she modeled active evangelism, compassion for others, seeking the Lord above all else, delighting in the joy of the Lord and remaining confident in His great faithfulness to our family.
When trials or difficulties threaten my focus, I can always count on my mom to help me place my full confidence and gaze back on Christ where it belongs.
Q: If there were one thing you could tell your younger self about faith, what would it be?
A: One morning in class at seminary, a classmate asked for prayer that she succeed on a very important exam.
Dr. Steele compassionately replied, “I will not pray that you pass, but I will ask God for peace as you prepare and faith and wisdom if you fail.” We all giggled and told our classmate we would pray for a passing grade, but we were thoughtfully reminded that our wants and desires are not always what God has planned for our good and His glory.
Q: Does your church have any special traditions that mean a lot to you? What are they?
A: During two wonderful seasons of my life, I have been a member of Shades Mountain Baptist Church (in Birmingham). Every year, Shades hosts the “Global Impact Celebration,” where we bring in our missionary partners from around the globe to care for them, encourage them, fill their bellies with some good Southern cooking and make connections for our missions trips with them throughout the year.
This exciting annual event helps these missionaries we support become like family. They aren’t just a picture on a post card or a quick, unknown visitor to a Sunday service. They are friends and family we can’t wait to go visit and serve alongside.
Q: What has God been teaching you lately?
A: The Message states Jeremiah 29:13 in a simple, yet profound way: “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” My husband and I have committed to reading Scripture together every day. We are following Shades Mountain (Baptist Church’s) Chronological Reading Plan. I find that I crave it each day. Communing daily with God, especially together as a family, is a refreshing practice that is nurturing our marriage and changing our hearts to be more like Christ.