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LeaderCare introduces resource at NOBTS for women in ministry

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–“If God has called you, he is preparing a place of service for you, for which you are uniquely equipped,” said Linda Miniard, church consultant specializing in women in church staff leadership with the Baptist Sunday School Board, at a women’s luncheon Feb. 26 at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

The luncheon was part of the seminary’s annual BSSB emphasis week and was the first luncheon organized for women in ministry as an emphasis week activity.

A specialist and counselor for LeaderCare (the board’s new program of support and counseling for ministers in distress), Miniard introduced “One Spirit,” a resource especially for women in ministry which was coordinated through the LeaderCare Section.

A networking project, One Spirit provides a link between the 23,000-plus women in leadership positions at Southern Baptist churches, state associations, colleges, seminaries, the Home Mission Board and other SBC agencies, as well as more than 2,000 women appointed with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Foreign Mission Board.

“We discovered that the number one problem of women in ministry positions is loneliness,” Miniard said, explaining the goal of One Spirit is to encourage, enrich and support women in ministry leadership roles, emphasizing support by addressing unique pressures women in ministry roles experience.

“Many women asked if we could organize some vacations, just for fun,” Miniard said of newly developed vacation options organized through One Spirit, one of the unique aspects to the network resource. A quarterly newsletter, regional meetings and a prayer network are other components of One Spirit.

Through sharing information and experiences, Miniard said, women will be able to encourage each other and keep focused on the task of obediently pursuing God’s call.

Linda Thompson, coordinator of marketing/public relations for the BSSB group support division, helped host the luncheon and shared how God had called her into ministry and led her during 24 years of service with the BSSB.

Thompson shared the words of wisdom her mother gave her as she struggled to understand God’s call to Christian vocational service and to be obedient to that call, wherever it would take her.

“I was afraid to respond because I was sure God would send me to China, and I wanted to teach. But my mother encouraged me. She said, ‘If God wants you to go to China, you’ll want to go there more than anything else,'” Thompson said, adding that God gave her opportunities to use her talents as a teacher to serve him in ways she had not expected.

The kind of support and encouragement Thompson’s mother gave her is the kind of support One Spirit hopes to accomplish as women in ministry leadership positions share their burdens and victories.

“Wherever your Africas or Chinas are, go ahead,” Thompson encouraged the women attending the meeting. “God will be with you.”

    About the Author

  • Linda Joyce Zygiel