As soon as he stepped on the Emmanuel campus, alumnus, Antonio Proctor ’01 felt at home.
“I had visited other colleges but there was an appeal at Emmanuel that everyone knew everyone,” he remembered. “Everyone was pleasant and I was confident that the Lord was leading me there.”
Antonio was involved in everything from student government to serving as a Residence Assistant for three years.
The Middle Grades Education graduate is confident that the small class sizes at Emmanuel helped groom him for success.
“I think the small, intricate feel IS Emmanuel,” he said. “I do believe it allows every student that passes through EC the opportunity to really be seen and heard. At larger colleges it’s easy to blend into the background and become a part of the routine, but the nurturing that comes along with the small class sizes allows students to grow into their own sense of themselves.”
One of the greatest lessons he learned at Emmanuel was taught outside of the classroom.
“The heart to serve was nurtured around Emmanuel, to serve God and to serve his People,” he said. “Our faith is lived out through our service to others. That resonated with me in my faith journey.”
After graduation, Antonio went on to teach middle grades (6,7,8) in the Atlanta Public School System where he taught for 10 years. During this time, he completed a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration & Supervision, from Georgia College & State University and began pastoring a local Baptist church.
Antonio felt called to seminary, completing his degree at The Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta. In the same year that he completed seminary, he was called to become the senior pastor of a historic church, St. James Baptist Church, in his hometown of Forsyth, Ga.
How did his time at Emmanuel prepare him for a career in education and ministry?
“One of the major lessons I took away from EC is the beauty and power of relationships,” he said. “As a small school, we felt like a large family. In education and ministry, relationships are powerful. You can be invited into vulnerable spaces to serve based on what kind of relationships you’ve built and nurtured.”
Outside of his role at St. James, Antonio serves at The ITC, as a Senior Admissions Officer and Student Support Advisor, helping students who have the same aspirations he did.
“It’s amazing how the Lord works and you never know what he’s doing behind the scenes of your life,” he said. “Once you step back and allow the hands of God to work – you can witness him doing some amazing things.”
What advice would he give to students looking to follow a similar path?
“Never limit what God can do,” he said. “If you are walking with God and trusting him there are no limitations to what he can do. Secondly, don’t ever limit yourself. If you have a dream, a passion or goal within, trust God and work toward seeing those things come to pass. Understand the timing of God. Your plans may not unfold as quickly as you intended, but a dream deferred is still yet a dream. Don’t let go of it.”
When Antonio Proctor stepped foot on Emmanuel’s campus, he knew it was a special place. What he didn’t know was how his time in Franklin Springs would help prepare him for life in ministry, both in the classroom and behind a pulpit. For him, Emmanuel laid a foundation and now his mission is to use the tools he gained to encourage others that there truly is no limit to what God can do.