2016 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Dr. Adolphus Clarence Lacey

Adolphus LaceyWyandotte High School, 1988

Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Attended: Whittier Elementary, Central Middle

Sometimes, even when we think we know the direction we are heading, life has different plans for us. Adolphus Lacey wanted to be an ambassador when he grew up, but when he received the call to ministry, he says, God asked him to be an ambassador for Him.

Answering that call has led him into pastoral ministry in the church. Currently, he is the senior pastor at Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, where he ministers to a flock of more than 1,000 parishioners. His ministry has led him through many doors, including the doors of Congress, where he had the opportunity to give the opening prayer before the House of Representatives.

Lacey says that his favorite part about the ministry is those times when he realizes that his work has had an immediate and significant impact upon a member of his congregation. Sometimes, he says, he will deliver a sermon that he thinks will impact his congregation in one particular way, and a church member will come up afterwards, and share a story about how the sermon impacted them which he had never considered.

His life growing up wasn’t always easy, Lacey says, and he faced many challenges. With an absent father and mother who struggled with medical problems, his grandparents had to step up and became his “village.” He was the first person in his family to graduate. He was pushed and encouraged, and Lacey believes that people need both. He likens it to a plane with two wings: Challenge and Encouragement. Which one would you want to be without? He needed both, he says, and so do our students.

Lacey says that his greatest accomplishment was earning his Ph.D., something he didn’t initially believe he would be able to accomplish. Experience has taught him that you don’t have be the brightest person in the room; you just have to be willing to persevere. For him, that meant studying harder, and being willing to ask for help from others when he needed it.

His advice to students? “Don’t be afraid to want something. When you want something, you do what is necessary to attract it. “