Smithfield Minister Pursues Education at the University of Mount Olive

Smithfield Minister Pursues Education at the University of Mount Olive

MOUNT OLIVE-  The Reverend J. Duane Casey answered the call to ministry in the spring of 2012.  His faith and spiritual formation had long been cultivated by his parents, the Reverend Scott Casey, an Original Free Will Baptist minister for over 23 years, and the late Paula Casey.   A longtime member of Hopewell OFWB Church in Smithfield and pastor of First Free Will Baptist Church of Smithfield, the Reverend Jeremy Duane Casey decided to seek an educational experience that would complement both his ministry and his growing faith. He enrolled at the University of Mount Olive in the fall of 2012 seeking a bachelor’s degree in religion.

“Answering the call to ministry has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling decisions that I have ever made,” said Casey. “I have learned more about myself and God’s plan in this short time than all of the years leading up to now. God has truly revealed Himself in amazing ways. He has opened doors that I never would have imagined could be opened. He has created a love and a spirit in me that I have never known.”

Casey’s favorite scripture passage is Psalm 46:10 which states, “Be still and know that I am God.” He believes this scripture helped him receive his call to ministry and continues to help him teach others of the good news of the Bible.  Casey also believes that ministry is as much about leadership as it is about preaching, and he feels a quality education is essential to both.

“The religion degree offered at UMO affords me not only sound training in biblical, theological, and practical ministry concepts, but it also gives me an opportunity to experience a spectrum of subject matter in other courses that are non-ministry related. All of this combined help to make me a more well-rounded minister and leader.”

Now in his third year at UMO, Casey is looking ahead to graduation.  “My experience at UMO has taught me that there is something that can be learned from nearly every aspect of life if we will be open-minded and vigilant. From a religious and theological stand-point, I am finding that there are many opportunities to integrate concepts that I learn in the classroom into my preaching and teaching at the local church level.”

Once Casey graduates from UMO, he plans to pursue his graduate degree.  Aside from preaching, Casey owns and operates Casey’s Home Improvement, a small, independent contracting business in Clayton. Casey and his wife, Kristy, have two daughters, Shelby and Leah.  Casey hopes that planting the seeds of faith and education with his daughters will take root and that one day they may choose to follow in his footsteps.

“I will certainly encourage my daughters to seek out every opportunity to expand their horizons in education and faith,” he said. “If my girls choose to attend the University of Mount Olive, I would take great pride in knowing that I started a family tradition with my favorite university!”

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit