Lani Allenbaugh, chair of Deacons

A reflection on Women in Ministry at Second Baptist Church.

I grew up with some great female spiritual leaders. These women introduced me to stories of God’s grace & love. They built the foundation of my Christianity. However, they were rarely acknowledged as leaders or only allowed the “appropriate role” of teaching other women or children. I benefited from these policies though because Grace Mayo was the best Bible teacher in the whole church and she was teaching elementary school aged girls. 

Church was a difficult place for me as a teenager. I had questions and doubts and didn’t have a Brittany or a Randall to help me create a good space for those conversations. So I looked for the answers in the library (where else?!?!). I read about church history, the desert fathers & mothers, the mystics and modern prophets, and other Christian traditions. While I was trying to find my place in Christianity I stumbled across examples of female spiritual leaders throughout scripture and history. I realized my formal church education  had left out at least half of the story. 

So I decided there might be a place in the church for me. 

When I stumbled across 2nd Baptist I had a lot of questions about what kind of Baptist we are- the biggest one being, “what can women do in the church?” Can they teach Sunday school? Can they be deacons? Can they preach? Can they serve communion? And the answer never depended on gender. 

Being a woman in ministry at 2nd Baptist means our church didn’t have to overlook my gender to see my gifts. Instead of worrying if a role was “appropriate” for me I could listen to the gentle voice of God and the wisdom of our congregation to guide me. 2BC has allowed me to stretch and find my authentic place in ministry- creating spaces for deep conversation and liturgical wisdom about doubt, grace, shame, and longing as we learn to see and trust God’s love for us. I’m so grateful that women to come will have the opportunity to find their ministries at 2BC.

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