After finishing business school at the University of Alabama, climbing the corporate ladder was Rev. Luann Riley’s focus until the day God called her out of corporate America to become a stay-at-home mom to twin toddlers.
In her new role, she struggled with an identity crisis. She was exhausted and lonely, but her faith drove her forward. After years of being unable to volunteer in church, she was finally able to commit the time to serve. She led a women’s small group and a serve team. And after going on a mission trip, the executive pastor offered her a full-time job on staff as small group coordinator.
“I didn’t know I was being called into ministry,” she says. “I thought I was going to work at the church, get paid for the serving I was already doing, and then, when my kids were older, go back into corporate America.”
But God had other plans for the self-proclaimed prodigal.
Growing up, Luann says, she never had a relationship with Jesus. She could not reconcile what she learned in church with what she learned at home.
“When I was 18, I decided I was done with God. I went down a very dark, destructive path and found myself close to bottom when I was 22,” she says. “I asked God to rescue me. Then He did — He sent a boy on a blind date. I started going to church with him. After months of Sundays, God started softening my heart, and I gave my life to Jesus when I was 23.”
Her spiritual transformation didn’t happen overnight. It has been a 20-year journey of growing and deepening her faith. She married the boy from the blind date, and a turning point came when they were faced with infertility.
“That journey deepened my faith and my dependence on God,” she admits. “It was the catalyst to actually listening to the Lord and trying to live my life for Him.”
In her new position as Pastor of Community Discipleship, Luann, who holds a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, is looking forward to helping people practically and intentionally live out their faith.
“I’m excited about the future of the church in terms of the growth and opportunity people have to grow in their faith and become people who invest in other people, to experience life change the way I’ve experienced the Gospel in my life,” she says.
Luann and her husband are the parents of twin boys, Beckett and Eli.