Lead Pastor and Founder of Word of Life Christian Church, Antonio J. McElroy was born to Arthur and Lorene McElroy in El Dorado, Arkansas on June 6, 1966. He graduated from EL Dorado High School in 1985. He accepted his call to ministry and was licensed to preach the gospel at Eastern Star Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Rufus Hatley in April 1987.
He was commissioned as a United States Army Reserve 2nd LT in 1988 from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas with B.A. Degree in Biblical Languages and minor in Philosophy. He graduated from the Ordnance Officer Basic course in Aberdeen, MD in October 1990.
He was ordained under the National Baptist Convention in November of 1994 at Bates Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky by. Dr. F.Bruce Williams. He graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY December of 1994 with a Master of Divinity in Christian Education. He entered on Active Duty in the United States Army in January of 1995 as an Army Chaplain. He graduated from the Chaplain Officer Basic Course April 1995. He served as the 16th Signal Battalion Chaplain in Ft. Hood, Texas from April 1995 to February 1998. He served as 1/4 Calvary Chaplain in Schweinfurt, Germany from February 1998 to June 2000. He graduated from Clinical Pastoral Education(CPE) from Madigan Army Medical Center in June 2000 at Fort Lewis, Wa. He served as the 1st MP Brigade Chaplain and 704th MP BN Regional Correction Facility Chaplain from June 2001 to June 2004. He deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom with 504th MP Battalion from April 2003 to April 2004. He earned Bronze Star Medal for his combat service. He served as the Chaplain Resource Manager for 98th ASG Chaplain Office in Wuerzburg, Germany from August 2004 to June 2006. He served as the Deputy Installation Chaplain, Chaplain Resource Manager and Pastor of Woodlawn Chapel Gospel Service at Fort Belvoir, VA from June 2006 to June 2009. He served as Deputy Installation Chaplain, Chaplain Resource Manager and Pastor of Wood Memorial Gospel Service at Fort Bragg, NC from June 2009 to May 2012. He served as Logistic and Engineer Officer for the Office of Chief of Chaplains at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. from May 2012 to 16 November 2014. He officially retired from the Army after 30 plus years of service on 31 December 2014.
Pastor McElroy believes a Christian is put on the earth to serve only the purposes of God. He believes everything a Christian does should be done to bring Glory to God. His greatest joy in life is to give to people and to help hurting people. He believes the Church’s mission is to fulfill: The Great Commandment: “Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart...soul...and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:36-40 and The Great Commission: “Jesus said, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of theHoly Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matt. 28:19-20
He is married to the former Debra Hollowell of Cleveland, OH for last 28 years. He has 3 girls, Whitney Jackson(Woodbridge, Va), Christina(Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA), and Semone (Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA) He has one son, Antonio Jerome Jr.