Suzanne Cain, Associate Pastor of Worship Arts
A reflection on Women in Ministry at Second Baptist.
At Second Baptist Church, in any month of the year you might find a woman standing behind the pulpit bringing a word of Gospel. Thanks be to God, that for decades, 2BC has been blessed with leadership and a people that value and elevate women in all areas of ministry. Women serving into their full giftedness as teachers, lay leaders, deacons and preachers of the gospel. Jesus accepted and affirmed women – he did not cast them aside but trusted them in his inner circle. And so, we follow that example knowing God speaks through all of us. Those whom God has called to minister in multitudes of ways, need space and opportunity to grow deep and wide into their truest selves. More spaces like this, surrounded by believers that nurture and empower each one’s calling. Growing God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Not perfectly – but beautifully unfinished.
I have been a member of this church for 30 years. For 30 years this church has affirmed and nurtured and shaped me. I can picture the faces of so many Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, children’s choir directors, musicians, mentors and treasured friends. They have encouraged and challenged me and when the time came, they have done the same for my children. I thank God for you Second Baptist, for listening to the Spirit’s nudging to spur on, not just me, but many other women before me and many more women that have yet to come.
I am so very thankful to have the opportunity to live into what God is calling me to do in this season. I’m thankful for the challenge to think deeply. I’m thankful for the feeling of disorder when my order doesn’t make sense anymore. I’m thankful to stand in solidarity with others to hold the tensions of ministry and life. I’m thankful for the discomfort of unanswered questions. I’m most thankful for a church that lives into her truest self with intentionality. For a church that will raise up our daughters to be humble seekers and bold demonstrators of truth. For a priesthood of believers that listen for God’s voice no matter what.
I hope and pray that we will continue to be voices of spirited affirmation and encouragement to all women – whatever their calling might be – and whenever that calling comes. Honestly, my journey in ministry hasn’t been met with hardship or push back because I’m a woman. It’s not lost on me that a lot of female ministers are met with resistance and rejection as they’ve sought to live out what God has called them to do. Even though Second Baptist practices this well, she must continue to champion this work outside our community. I pray we will help to cultivate a culture where women’s voices are affirmed to their fullest potential.
Ephesians 3 says, “I pray that according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit and that Christ may dwell in your hearts, through faith as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”.
The fullness of God is not something we can fully comprehend but when we champion voices, that through the power of the Spirit are grounded in love and truth, we are doing Kingdom work. We are living out our truth – heart, mind, soul, strength, and voice – the work of transformation. May it be so.