When reviewing the rubric on the Agency Paper Assignment for Professor Michael Collie and Professor Adam Brown at the University of Arkansas, I was ecstatic! You might ask yourself, why “ecstatic?” Well, the reason why I was so ecstatic was because we had the opportunity to interview a social worker and have a better understanding about what a social worker does. It was our task as a student to research an agency near our geographic area. I was so excited about researching this particular topic that I actually interviewed two individuals that I believe are Perfect Examples of the Perfect Social Worker.
On Saturday, June 27, 2014, I had the opportunity to interview Reverend Michael Hansberry. Reverend Hansberry is a middle-aged, African American, male who is currently the Pastor at First Baptist Church in his hometown Wrightsville, AR. He has two sons and a wife that is actually a triplet. He has attended Boyce Bible College in Louisville, Kentucky. After pursuing “biblical studies”, Reverend Hansberry transferred back to Arkansas where he attended Arkansas Institute of Biblical Studies. Later on throughout his academic career, Reverend Hansberry attended the University of Arkansas Little Rock and Pulaski Technical College to study management. He has a degree in biblical studies and also in management. I also had the chance to interview Minister Frank King for a few minutes. Minister Frank King IV is a middle-aged, African American male from Little Rock, AR who is a licensed minister. He attended J.A Fair High School in Little Rock, AR and decided to attend the University of Arkansas Little Rock where he pursued “computer engineering.” He later earned a degree at UALR for his major in computer engineering and was well respected among his peers. He eventually attended Rodney E. College where he earned a degree in biblical studies. Minister King accepted his call to ministry at the age of twenty. He was given his certificate of ordination while serving as an Assistant Pastor and Youth Director at St. John Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Sherman McKenzie. His passion for Christian service has led him to be an Associate minister at St. Mark Baptist Church under the leadership of Youth Pastor, “Big” Nate Stewart. In this capacity, he helped lead and minister to over seven hundred youths on a weekly basis. Minister King is a member of St. Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock, AR and is currently serving at First Baptist Church as the Assistant Pastor and Youth Director with Reverend Michael Hansberry. He is married to Andrenatta King and together they have four children. Along with a passion for preaching, Minister King also has a passion for youth and is an active Foster Parent with DHS here in Arkansas. Minister King believes that, “if we would allow Christ to teach us to stop something physically, then that is when HE can teach us where to start spiritually!” Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones (Proverbs 3:7-8). Both Reverend Hansberry and Minister King have received a bachelor’s degree in social work at their respected institutions.
First Baptist Church of Wrightsville has the mission of helping others to develop a closer relationship with God and their outlook on life. First Baptist has reached out to the southwest Little Rock and Pine Bluff, AR geographic area. The workers at First Baptist are both male and female, whom are skilled and highly educated workers who have great experience working with others. The Church provides an outreach ministry through their mission department. Their mission department visits the nursing home for the elderly. To add, the Pastor and the deacons visit the sick at home and or hospital. I was not sure what the qualifications or criteria to become a pastor so I asked Reverend Hansberry. He said, “In order to become a Pastor at a Baptist Church, you must have a calling from God. He must have the truth of one’s ability to do the work of God. He must be able to perform the duties of a pastor. The Candidate must be put through a test; He must come into the church and become active. It also depends on the individual church of what it takes to become eligible.” I then asked him, “Where does the program get its funding?” He told me the funds received from the church are from the free will giving of the members. Reverend Hansberry and the First Baptist Church of Wrightsville have set the goal to continue to encourage people to seek a stronger relationship with God. After his statement to this question, he quickly exclaimed, “That is always the goal!” They also have set the goal of having facilities that will meet the needs of the ministry. I also was interested whether or not there were limitations to managing a church and being a Pastor. Reverend Hansberry responded, “Staff size, funding, available personnel and time. These are limitations to having a church but God always gives us everything that we need.’
Following the initial interview with Reverend Hansberry and his program/agency First Baptist Church of Wrightsville, AR, I wanted to ask him a few personal questions and what his thoughts are on being a social worker. I asked him, “What is a typical day like for you?” He said, “Busy.. Well because I am bi-vocational. I start my day on my eight-to-five job but I still find myself doing ministry. My evenings include me studying, counseling or attending rehearsal. My nights are spent mostly with my family.” I asked Minister King the exact same question and he responded, “With me being bi-vocational Youth Pastor, I usually only preach once or twice a month. Our Senior Pastor handles the day-to-day administrative responsibilities and I assist him when it is needed.” I did not know the real definition of “bi-vocational” so I looked for help from Google. According to the Tennessee Baptist Convention website, “the basic understanding of bi-vocational is a person who has two vocations.” This indicates that the pastor has another source of income beyond the church. I continued my interview by asking Reverend Hansberry, “What do you enjoy most about social work?” He replied, “Being able to help others through their situation.” Minister King went more in-to-detail by telling me that his biggest passion is neither clever nor is it original. “I would have to agree with Ezra in the book of Nehemiah when he said, Joy of the Lord is my strength! Christ is our Chief Cornerstone and for anything to be built, it must start with Him. For in Him, we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).” The next question I asked the two social workers was, “What do you dislike or find the most frustrating about social work?” Reverend Hansberry said, “What I dislike the most is seeing people that I have tried to help, do not value the advice that is given unto them.” During Minister King’s interview he said, “At this stage in my calling, I have not encountered a duty that I do not enjoy doing but overtime that might change.” By this time during the interview, I picked up a couple social work attributes that both Reverend Hansberry and Minister King had equipped. One of those attributes was the thoughtfulness and positive attitude that they had while encountering with others. No mater the situation, they had a positive outlook on things. I was interested in learning how the two became social workers as well. Reverend Hansberry said that he didn’t, he answered the calling. The reason why Minister King became a social worker was because of his upbringing. He was brought up in the church so he felt that’s where he should stay. The final question I asked Reverend Hansberry on that cloudy, but beautiful Saturday was, “Do you have any advice for a student who is interested in the field of social work?” He told me, “You must be willing to move around. The pay is not going to always be as great as other fields but you must look for the joy in seeing people’s lives change.
As you can see, Reverend Hansberry and Minister King have had a diverse academic career and have been many places. Initially I did not know what it took to become a Pastor or a Minister. The qualifications for both positions are definitely more than feeling out an application. It takes a person that loves people and has a positive outlook on life to fill this position. My initial reaction from the interview was impressed. Positivity goes a long with these two specific job titles. The reason why I chose this agency was because I am personally a spiritually person. I felt that it would only be right to interview two social workers that are heavily spiritually as well. Even though it was raining and cloudy on this Saturday, it was still a beautiful ending after the interview. I was enriched with much knowledge from two devoted social workers. The agency, First Baptist Church of Wrightsville was definitely the agency I thought it was. During our brief inter-session, spiritually I felt heart-warming. In my opinion, I believe the upbringing of Reverend Hansberry and Minister King helped shape their social work careers in a positive way. They were not only humble to discuss their careers, but also what they have been through. I learned a lot by interviewing them. They informed me what it takes to become a dedicated pastor, minister, father, friend and social worker. These are perfect examples of what it takes to become the perfect social worker.