20 Under 40: Maggie Taylor | SteamboatToday.com

20 Under 40: Maggie Taylor

Maggie Taylor (Photo by John F. Russell)

As a member of the Steamboat Springs community for only two years, 26-year-old Maggie Taylor had already made an impact.

She began as the director of youth and connectional ministries at Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church in August 2019, only months before COVID-19 restrictions forced churches to stop gathering in person. Like so many, she was forced to pivot and found triumph in helping bring together local youth.

Originally from Nashville, Taylor graduated with a Master’s of Divinity from Boston University’s School of Theology. Steamboat was her first job after graduate school. Out of a field of available options, Taylor chose Steamboat because of its welcoming spirit.

“(I) just quickly fell in love with the town (and) with our church community, which is one of the more active church communities that I’ve ever been part of,” Taylor said. “It’s open and accepting, and it’s great.”

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In an associate pastor role at the church, Taylor maintains a focus on connecting the community and engaging local youth. A member of the Millennial generation herself, Taylor believes authenticity and being relaxed are key to relating with young people.

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As a sort of coping mechanism during COVID-19, the church held service days where young people would come in and help make meals for the community, among other things. She found there was more attendance on a service day than for a typical get-together.

“I think our young community is really about action. They want to be active, they want to do something, they want to make a difference,” she said.

Community member Robin Schuellein commended Taylor for her contributions to Steamboat.

“While she has added new programs to our church, led our youth during challenging times and inspired our church community with inspirational messages, she has embraced our community by volunteering, engaging and serving others in many different ways,” Schuellein said.

Prior to the pandemic, Taylor’s responsibilities at the church would entail Bible studies, mission and educational trips, facilitating youth ministry for middle and high school students as well as creating and leading small group ministries. She also preaches and performs community engagement pieces.

“She exemplifies gratitude and integrity in her daily dealings within our church and community,” Schuellein said. “She treats everyone with empathy and respect. She has a great sense of humor that makes all around her comfortable and at ease.”

One of Taylor’s proudest accomplishments is when she, along with senior pastor Tim Selby, hosted a community conversational series last year about racism and Christianity. The series was of special importance for Taylor as she is biracial and has navigated the complicated bounds of race throughout her life.

“I’ve never felt uncomfortable here,” she said, though she does sometimes notice being the only person of color in the room. But Steamboat’s willingness to learn has been impressive, she said.

“For me that’s been really hopeful; people are interested in being engaged and challenging the things they take as the norm,” she said.

In addition to her work with the church, Taylor is an instructor at CrossFit Steamboat and also serves on the board of directors of Routt County United Way and Junior Achievement, as well as being a classroom volunteer.

Looking to the future, Taylor said she would like to continue her work with churches and helping them connect to their communities. For Taylor, it’s about helping churches focus on their community’s needs and not on how they want to serve or give, which is considered a social justice-oriented theology.

“It’s about really listening and connecting to the needs of a community the way that the Biblical narrative said that Jesus did,” she said. “I think oftentimes churches have really good intentions but sometimes fall short in their execution.”

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