With a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Colorado State University in 1990, Jolin Wilks intended to paint for a living. The call to ministry challenged her to consider a new direction for her life. In 1995 she enrolled at Lexington Theological Seminary and received her M.Div in 1999. Rev. McElroy still finds some time to draw and paint while also serving the church in more traditional ways. In addition to gallery shows and auctions, First Christian Church has a display of her pastel portraits of church members lining the walls of the education building. Another exhibit, Holy Communion, a series of watercolor portraits of Disciples of Christ members and leaders, began traveling the denomination since the Fall of 2004.
Because of her dual vocations of art and ministry, she has been a desired speaker on the topic of creativity and spirituality for retreats and workshops. One significant endeavor was sketching portraits of 33 children of two Head Start programs for the benefit of their families, sponsored by The Craddock Center in Cherry Log, Georgia.
Prior to accepting the call to her current position, Rev. McElroy served as: Associate Minister to First Christian Church, Falls Church, VA (1998-2000); Chaplain Intern at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC (summer of 1998); and Pastor of First Christian Church, Carlisle KY (1995-1998). In addition to her work at First Christian, Rev. McElroy has been active in the life of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at the regional level, and was the recipient of a Clergy Renewal Grant from The Lilly Endowment in 2004. Other organizations in which Rev. McElroy has been active include: Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice (CCCJ) 2014 – present, Crisis Assistance Ministry (2002-present); United Family Services (2001-2006); General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina (2001-05); North Carolina Regional Commission on Faith and Understanding (2001-02).
Born in Iowa City, IA, Jolin Wilks McElroy was raised in Mt. Prospect, IL, where her parents Alan and Irvana Wilks still reside. Rev. McElroy currently lives in Charlotte, NC, with her husband Tom and their young son.