Women Finding New Roles in Church Leadership

Despite the gains women have made over the past half-century, both lay and ordained women in the American Baptist Churches USA continue to lag significantly behind their male counterparts.

During the ABCUSA’s virtual Biannual Mission Summit, associate general for women in ministry, Patricia Hernandez, reported, “There has been a movement of women into many roles — pastors, executive ministers, missionaries at home and abroad, and executive roles. We have gained much ground and there is much ground to continue to gain.

Drawing attention to the fact that no female has held the position of denominational general secretary, Hernandez also noted that many congregations remain closed to the idea of calling a female pastor.

Hernandez urged the summit’s attendees both women and men, to consider attending ABCUSA’s June 2022 “Radical. Redeemed. Ready.” women’s conference that will convene in Green Lake, Wisconsin.

“Women need encouragement and support and relationships that strengthen us for the journey,” she said. “Women in all kinds of ministry can experience burnout because of the barriers to our callings.”

Further, Hernandez called on men to become more vocal allies calling out their colleagues when women are excluded and being intentional about making sure women are in rooms during congregational leadership discussions.

“Advocates for women who know them and their gifts and capacities need to lift up and endorse a woman for ministry.”

The virtual summit convening over Zoom consisted of approximately 100 participants. In addition to Hernandez’s presentation, the attendees heard reports from women serving at all levels of the church ranging from international missions, domestic ministry, and congregational stewardship.