Rev. Toya Lynn Richards of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been endorsed to serve as an International Ministries (IM) global servant in Cape Town, South Africa. She will serve as a teacher and professor at the Cape Town Baptist Seminary (CTBS), a ministry of IM partner the Baptist Union of Southern Africa.
Drawing upon her extensive career and experience in print journalism and communications, Rev. Richards will teach intermediate to advanced English language skills and research methodology, preparing students to meet the demands and requirements for seminary studies. Rev. Richards will also teach biblical peacemaking and be involved in community initiatives through the CTBS Center for Biblical Justice.
Rev. Richards earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University and an M.Div. from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She is currently enrolled in a Doctor of Ministry program at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. She worked as a communications specialist with the Alliance of Baptists (Raleigh, North Carolina) and was director of communications for the Office of the General Assembly with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Louisville, Kentucky.
Rev. Richards has extensive cross-cultural experience that has shaped how she engages with those from different racial, ethnic, and cultural contexts. “I feel blessed to have been endorsed by International Ministries, which has led the way in sending global servants to all nations, and I am ready to serve according to God’s will.” says Toya. She recalls that after sensing God’s call to global mission for decades and having lived that out in various ways, God continued to nudge her to serve on a long-term basis. She believes that God has made it clear for her to be on the front lines of global justice and equity work to bring about systemic change for the most vulnerable. Toya remarked, “I have skirted around this direct call for some time, and now it is time to answer it.”
“IM is very excited to see how God is going to use Rev. Richards’ cross-cultural experiences, work in justice issues, extensive communication skills and seminary training to advance God’s mission in South Africa. Her background and lived experience are very significant given South Africa’s past history of apartheid. I know she will be a blessing and will also be blessed in this sacred vocation,” says the Rev. Dr. Rodney Ragwan, IM’s director of Mission Mobilization. Karen Smith, IM’s area director for Africa, senses a deep movement of the Holy Spirit in leading Rev. Richards to this role at this time. “Rev. Richards’ gifts and skills – in communications and also in racial reconciliation – will be a profound blessing to the CTBS students, faculty, and surrounding community. We are blessed to endorse Rev. Richards to this ministry in Cape Town.”
Rev. Toya Richards is a member of the People’s Congregational Church in Bayport, Minnesota. Romans 12:2 has a very special meaning for Toya. It says: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Rev. Carole Collins, director of operations and finance for the Alliance of Baptists wrote, “We were grateful to have Toya Richards on staff with the Alliance of Baptists before she followed a call to pastoral ministry. Toya was a valued staff member who helped our organization in both communicating our mission and vision and in moving forward on our journey toward becoming an antiracist organization. Toya is a gifted communicator and pastor who will bring expertise, experience, and heart to her ministry as a global servant in Africa. We wish her much success and satisfaction in this new call and will pray for her and those she serves.”
IM’s CEO, Rev. Sharon Koh writes, “Rev. Toya has been a delightful addition to the IM family. I am so grateful for her courage and gentle but strong voice. Our Lord has done such a great job of writing her inspiring story that I look forward to her future in God’s mission with IM.”
Rev. Richards’ family includes her adult children: Kayla (28) and her husband Vincent, Harrison (26), and Sierra (24). She is working now to build her Mission Partnership Team and raise the funds needed to begin her ministry in South Africa.
More information about Rev. Richards is available on her profile page on the IM website. To send words of encouragement and support, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.