Carroll Brings Pastoral Care to the Statehouse

Terrance Carroll, Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, creates change with Iliff degree

“I use my education from the pastoral care classes at Iliff everyday I work as a legislator,” says Terrance Carroll (MDIV ’99), speaker of the Colorado house of representatives. Seriously, it’s not that different from the work of full-time clergy. Listening to problems and constituents’ crises brought to the state; discussing the options available; and working to find viable solutions, is ultimately the work of government. While there is not time to do my job here, work in my law practice, and be a full-time pastor, I very much consider this my ministry.”

“My original plan when I first came to Iliff was to pursue a master of arts (MA) degree, as I wanted to learn about theology and social justice issues. I think I really wanted to be a theologian – a teacher. Someone in admissions at Iliff who knew more what I needed than I did, convinced me to pursue the master of divinity (MDIV). I am now ordained in the American Baptist Church and enjoy preaching whenever I can.”

After graduating from Iliff, Carroll served as a minister at several churches while pursuing a law degree at the University of Denver. He also started volunteering at political races, encouraged by friends he met at Iliff and by a desire to increase his community involvement. His education at Iliff included preaching, pastoral care and social justice and peace classes that he says have all been very appropriate and necessary for being a public servant and in his law practice. With Greenberg Traurig’s Denver law office, Carroll’s areas of concentration include civil litigation, administrative and regulatory law, labor and employment, education, and election law.

“My mantra and something I used in my installation as speaker is the Biblical text, Micah 6: 8.” He quotes, “What does God require of me? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God. I’ve also found that the first rule of leading anyone is to be a “servant leader” – to put those you lead before yourself. Those you lead are your first priority. While it is sometimes difficult here, as speaker when there are not that many above me to answer to, I have to keep my ego in check and remind myself that being a servant leader needs to be my number one priority.”

“I consider myself a progressive Christian,” Carroll explains. “I am an evangelical in that I believe that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God. He was born, lived walked the earth and died on the cross as the salvation for our sins. Believing that is all that God asks of us to be saved. Believing that, holding that to be truth, is what it means to be both Christian and Evangelical.”

“Progressive” to me means standing against those things that stand in the way of people being the best they can be – social justice issues,” he concludes.

For those interested in following in his footsteps, Carroll suggests, “Extend grace and mercy to those around you. Try to be a servant leader, be actively engaged in community, and be intelligently honest about community issues.”