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SEBTS Women’s Leadership Breakfast looks at ‘Keeping Jesus at the Center’

Photo by Luc Stringer

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — On Wednesday, June 14, Southeastern Seminary hosted its annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast during the 2023 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans. Themed “Keeping Jesus’s Mission at the Center,” the event encouraged women to not only treasure God’s Word and His mission but also work together for the kingdom of God.

“Every year our goal is to gather together leaders from across the Southern Baptist Convention for us to discuss how we can better live together on mission,” said Christy Thornton, assistant professor of Christian thought at Southeastern.

Representing several SBC seminaries, panelists included Anna Daub, assistant professor of missions at Southeastern; Terri Stovall, professor of educational ministries at Southwestern Seminary; Emily Dean, assistant professor of ministry to women at New Orleans Seminary; Alicia Wong, associate professor of women’s ministry at Gateway Seminary; and Kathy Litton, director of planter spouse development at the North American Mission Board (NAMB).

Answering questions about what it means to live on mission and how women can partner on mission in their local churches, panelists urged attendees to embrace God’s purpose to use their stories and ministries to make himself known.

“I pray that the twenty-first century is characterized by Christians boldly going together,” Daub said.

“Every one of you who is a Christian is called to be on mission,” Daub reminded attendees. “What that means is you are a participant in God’s mission. He wants to be known. So, you’re called to be a disciple, and you’re called to make disciples — no matter what you’re doing.”

God has gifted every woman to join in God’s mission, yet — as Wong noted during the breakfast — joining in God’s mission may look different in each woman’s context. Narrating stories from their personal lives, panelists identified a variety of ways women can get involved in fulfilling the Great Commission today. Encouraging them to embrace the missional opportunities God gives them, the panelists shared about their involvement in mission trips, local church ministry, one-on-one discipleship, and intentional conversations during everyday moments.

“You have to be intentional about being on mission because it doesn’t just happen,” Stovall said. “Ask yourself, what is the purpose of the group that I am with — whoever your people are. It might be your family. It might be a small group in your church. It might be your friends. Ask why are we even together, and then how can we reach people for Christ? How can I disciple others? How can I empower and propel others out to accomplish God’s mission?”

This intentional mindset should not simply relate to how a woman challenges herself to live on mission, Dean said. It should also orient the way women think about the other women in their lives. Providing experiences and opportunities for women to learn and get involved is a vital part of discipling the next generation of women to embrace God’s vision.

Encouraged by women who are faithfully leading out in these ways, Litton noted the impact missional women are currently making for the kingdom of God.

“I have been participating in Southern Baptist life for a long time,” Litton said. “The traction with women being engaged in ministry has radically changed in my lifetime, and that’s a very healthy thing for us. … There is progress, and it’s going to continue. That is making a big difference in the kingdom of God.”

Encouraging attendees to continue growing, panelists also recommended resources about life on mission, suggesting books, podcasts, and websites to help them develop a heart for the lost and the global church and to get connected with opportunities to serve through NAMB and the International Mission Board.

Challenging women leaders to continue making a global Great Commission impact, the annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast at the SBC offers women leaders a space to gather and be further equipped to minister and partner well on mission.

To learn more about how Southeastern is equipping women to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission, visit the Women Around Southeastern page on Southeastern’s website.

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