Teresa MacBain is a worship leader and part-time instructional designer at Samford University’s Office of Online and Professional Studies. With over 30 years’ experience in pastoral, church, and non-profit leadership, she brings a rare combination of religious and secular perspectives to her work. This multifaceted background fuels her passion for innovative, authentic worship, and ministry to those hurt by the church.
Teresa has a B.A. in Organizational Leadership from Samford University where she graduated summa cum laude and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology and Design at Samford. She holds certifications in worship leading, Website Development, and Microsoft Office Expert. She is also received her license as full-time local pastor with the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.
After a tragic event within her family, Teresa began to question and doubt her beliefs. She slowly realized that the faith that once gave her comfort and strength no longer made sense and she felt it slowly slip away. In 2012, after serving in ministry for most of her adult life, she walked away from her faith and came out publicly as a non-believer. But God never lost faith in her.
Teresa’s life came to a screeching halt in 2015. Personal failure resulted in losing her job and moving back home to Alabama in shame. As time passed, she began working to rebuild her life and make amends for her actions. It was during this process that she began to hear the gentle whisper of God through Christian music. In her search for healing she uncovered something unexpected: FAITH. Not the closed-minded, judgmental belief she was raised to believe, but an inclusive, compassionate, and accepting, faith.
She describes her transformation as a realization of grace:
“I don’t believe as I did in childhood as a fundamentalist, but I do believe that there is something more, something spiritual. I’m ok with not having all the answers; not being able to define everything. I’m living my life with an honest belief where questions are a vital part of faith. For most of my life, I believed that doubt was the opposite of faith, but that’s not true. For me, philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich said it best: “Doubt is not the opposite of faith: it is one element of it.”
Having walked the path from losing faith to atheism and returning to faith, Teresa hopes her story will help raise awareness for the struggle faced by seekers and skeptics. Her desire is to promote compassion and understanding while encouraging religious organizations to provide safety, support, and community to those who feel alone in their struggle.
As a wife of 31-years and mother of three boys, she still finds time to lead worship at her church, wander off into nature with her trusty camera, or get lost in the pages of a great novel. Her life can be best summed up in the words of Robert Frost; “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
“Grace is when you aren’t striving or controlling or trying to change or manipulate or make something happen. Grace is when you find yourself carried along, when all that’s left to do is receive. Grace is when you know you’re loved, exactly as you are. Grace is an entirely different way of experiencing life.” Rob Bell