BWIM Month of Advocacy and Courageous Conversations Follow-Up

Baptist Women In Ministry Month of Advocacy

Baptist Women In Ministry (BWIM) is an organization that has provided support to and advocated for the affirmation of women called to ministry for over 40 years.  While they do this work year-round, they have designated March as a month of advocacy for women in ministry.  There are a variety of ways that individuals can participate, and if you feel called to join in that effort you can read about those opportunities on their website:

As a church, we have been engaging in conversations about the affirmation of women in ministry on our podcast, Rooted and Grounded, since the beginning of January.  In the initial podcast, aired January 18, we discussed some of the recent backlash to women in ministry that occurred in some Baptist circles last year and why it was important for us to lean into this affirmation of women at all levels of ministry and leadership.  Then in the following four episodes, we dove into a curriculum produced by BWIM and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) titled Equally Called.  It is a curriculum that helps us see that engagement with scripture can lead us to affirm women in ministry.  Now, we are releasing episodes in which we get to tell the stories of women in ministry and in leadership who have impacted us in powerful and positive ways.  I hope you will take a listen on our website, in the app, or wherever you access your podcasts.  All of the episodes in this series have the title Women in Ministry, so simply search our podcast for Women in Ministry and you will find all the episodes that have been released so far.

Thank you for being a church that has affirmed the gifts and callings of women to all kinds of ministry and leadership positions for some time now.  We all still have more we can do on this front, but I am grateful to lead a church that is committed to this way of living out our faith in the world.

Courageous Conversations Follow-Up

On February 20, the Church Council had an extra meeting for the month to discuss our Courageous Conversations regarding our facilities and the feedback that we received.  Before I dive into what we discerned and the steps we are taking, let me say thank you for your participation in our January conversations and for the feedback forms you filled out at the close of those conversations.  Your participation and feedback have been incredibly helpful.

As the Church Council sorted through the information from the meeting and the feedback we received concerning it, we discerned several areas of wide consensus along with areas of disagreement.  The areas of consensus were that we should:

  • continue moving forward with pulling together details and plans for a potential renovation (especially phase 1 of that plan) while providing continued opportunities for more detailed information and feedback from the congregation.
  • sell the properties across York Street from our main block.
  • work on deferred maintenance issues
  • do something with the Roberts Building and Family Ministry Center that can generate income and/or serve the community

The main areas of disagreement were around specifically what to do with the Roberts Building and Family Ministry Center.  Some in our congregation are ready to sell them.  Some believe that we should not sell because we will likely never get that property back, but are open to leasing them.  And some envision community ministry opportunities through partnership in those spaces.  This will continue to be an area in which we will need prayerful discernment alongside further information to assist in that discernment.

With these areas of consensus and disagreement in mind, the Church Council is proactively taking a number of steps to help move this work forward.  Some of those steps are as follows.  We will have an official appraisal of our church campus done with appropriate breakdowns on buildings and land.  We will determine exactly what it will cost to have an architectural firm draw up three different plans built off of the original renovation plan but with the differences in opinion about some of our buildings in mind.  We will engage with appropriate ministry, business, and city entities about potential partnerships that may exist of which we are not currently aware.

We look forward to continuing to share with you how this work is progressing in the months to come, and we look forward to discerning together how we can continue to be a vital part of the mission of God in our area.