Southern Baptist Women's Ministry Advisory Council conducts survey

Rhonda Kelley (left), chairwoman of the Women's Ministry Advisory Council appointed by SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page, is joined by Candi Finch, secretary for the council, and Rhonda Rhea for a fellowship meal during the council's Aug. 11-12 meeting in Atlanta. (Roger S. Oldham)Fourteen women met for two days in Atlanta to continue their discussion about increasing the participation of women in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, appointed the Women's Ministry Advisory Council to gather information concerning the involvement of women's ministry leaders and ministry wives in their Southern Baptist churches. With the purpose of involving Southern Baptist women in all areas of convention life, the task force has been at work since January conducting a survey and researching resources specifically for women.

Encouraging results were shared with Page and with Ken Weathersby, EC vice president for convention advancement, and Roger S. (Sing) Oldham, vice president for convention communications and relations, during the Aug. 11-12 meeting in Atlanta.

More than 3,300 women have responded to the survey being conducted through SurveyMonkey. Most women were ages 25–64 who expressed interest in more training and involvement at the local church, associational, state and denominational levels. The majority were lay leaders who serve through women's ministry, Woman's Missionary Union or other church programs specifically for women. About one-fourth of the respondents were ministry wives, serving churches alongside their husbands.

The task force would like to hear from additional women in the Southern Baptist Convention who reflect a diversity of ages and stages of life as well as different ethnic, cultural and educational backgrounds. While the majority of respondents to date have been from strong Baptist states such as Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, surveys have been completed by women in all 50 states. The task force wants to hear from more Southern Baptist women in the Northeast, Midwest and West as well as Hawaii. The task force also wants to hear from more Southern Baptist women who are under 25 or above 64 years of age.

Information gleaned from the survey and the research of the task force members will be presented to the SBC Executive Committee in February and to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix in June. Recommendations will be made to all SBC entities to increase the involvement of women in biblically appropriate ways in local churches and beyond.

To access the Women's Ministry Advisory Council's online survey, go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/SouthernBaptistWomen. In addition, comments may be emailed to sbwomen@sbc.net.

Rhonda Kelley, a leader in women's ministry, serves as chairwoman of the advisory council. A member of First Baptist Church in New Orleans, she is the wife of NOBTS President Chuck Kelley and an adjunct professor of women's ministry at the seminary.

Also on the council are:

Chris Adams, senior lead women's ministry specialist with LifeWay Christian Resources and a member of Long Hollow Baptist Church, Hendersonville, Tenn.

Jacqueline "Jacki" Anderson, pastor's wife, Women in Ministry director and executive assistant at Colonial Baptist Church, Randallstown, Md.

Tabitha Barnette, pastor's wife and speaker, Peace Baptist Church, Decatur, Ga.

Brandi Biesiadecki, pastor's wife, writer, speaker and women's minister, First Baptist Church, Bartlesville, Okla.

Linda Cooper, Woman's Missionary Union president and member of Forest Park Baptist Church, Bowling Green, Ky.

Lourdes Fernandez, an attorney and member of Riverside Baptist Church, Miami.

Candi Finch, professor of theology in women's studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and member of Hope Church, Fort Worth, Texas.

Ann Iorg, wife of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary President Jeff Iorg and member of First Baptist Church, San Francisco.

Elizabeth Luter, wife of former Southern Baptist Convention president Fred Luter and women's ministries director of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, New Orleans.

Davee Ly, pastor's wife, school teacher, speaker and Sunday School director at First Hmong Baptist Church, Morganton, N.C.

Ana Melendez, Hispanic State Women's consultant and member of Iglesia Cristo Es Rey, Bolingbrook, Ill.

Mary Mohler, wife of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and a member of Third Avenue Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky.

Trillia Newbell, director of community outreach for the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and member of Redemption City Church, Franklin, Tenn.

Rhonda Rhea, pastor's wife, columnist and speaker, and member of First Baptist Church, Troy, Mo.

Myra Sermon, registered nurse and nursing consultant, and a Sunday School teacher at Grace Filipino Church, Woodbridge, Va.

Ashley Unzicker, church history songwriter, rapper, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary student and member of The Summit Church, Durham, N.C.

Angela Um, founder and CEO of Boston Academic Consulting Group and wife of the pastor of Antioch Baptist Church, Cambridge, Mass.

Compiled by Art Toalston, senior editor of Baptist Press (bpnews.net) from a report in the fall edition of SBC LIFE (sbclife.net), journal of the SBC Executive Committee.

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