Women encouraged to lead biblically

COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) -- A group of about 100 women gathered for a discussion on how to be better equipped in the 21st century for biblical leadership at a breakfast hosted by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the North American Mission Board.

"One of the things we want to talk about are the opportunities for women to lead and the best place to do that in our comfort zone," said Lizette Beard, project manager at LifeWay Research and a Ph.D. student at Southeastern Seminary. Beard moderated the panel that was held in Columbus, Ohio, during the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting.

Selma Wilson, vice president of organizational development at LifeWay Christian Resources, said, "Ladies we need to step up; the world needs Jesus. We are the ladies for this time, and we have more opportunity than ever before; it is time."

Kathy Litton leads NAMB's national ministry for pastor's wives. She encouraged women to realize that "whether [they] like it or not" God has given women the opportunity to lead and have influential roles that impact others.

Elicia Horton, wife of pastor D.A. Horton and mother of three, shared how God led her to better leverage her time in the secular workplace and lead others to learn more about Christ. She invited her coworkers to pray in the break room and sought to encourage those around her.

"I was there, not to be a people pleaser but was there to serve the Lord," Horton said. "When I understood that, work had more joy and purpose."

Denise O'Donoghue, director of Women's Life at SEBTS, spoke about leading a team in a corporate setting. "People would start to seek me out and ask questions about what it means to be a follower of Christ," she said during the June 17 breakfast. "In that moment I became a leader for those seeking after Jesus."

Wilson encouraged the women to have a personal development plan. "Know yourself, and then press forward in the giftedness and place God has you," she said.

Women were challenged to use their testimonies for reaching others. The group also discussed the emotional intelligence of women and how it can be valuable in the home and the office.

"God redeems everything for his glory," Wilson said. "I challenge you to step into that. It is an exciting time to see what the next decade holds for women as they step into new opportunities for Kingdom impact."

Amy Thompson, director of corporate relations at LifeWay, attended the breakfast. She noted, "Good fellowship and a strong panel provided a fantastic atmosphere for this event."

"I loved the range of experience and diversity of the panelists," she said. "Each lady brought unique insights into what it means to be a Christian woman in leadership."

Amy Whitfield, director of communications at Southeastern, presented resources, opportunities and shared the benefits of pursuing biblical education and graduate degrees. "We truly want to equip students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission," she said.

Southeastern launched the Kingdom Diversity initiative in fall 2013. One of the aims of the initiative is for the seminary's overall student body, faculty and staff to be 35 percent female by 2022.

Attendees received print and digital resources from Southeastern, NAMB and LifeWay to equip them to be better students of God's word and to serve the Lord wherever they are.

This story was submitted by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. To view video of the panel discussion, please click here.
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