Statement by SBC Women’s Leadership Network Team
“RESOLVED, That we call upon all Southern Baptists to encourage, cultivate, and celebrate the diverse gifts, callings, and contributions of women in biblically appropriate ways.” Resolution on the Dignity and Worth of Women at SBC 2018 in Dallas, TX
We find ourselves in the midst of multiple pivotal, transforming moments in the life of our denomination in regard to women. Conditions are rising for a monumental shift in the way women are valued, treated and welcomed into places of service, impact and leadership as it comes to the collaborative effort of pursuing Great Commission work in our denomination.
SBC women today stand on the strong shoulders of those who have gone before us. Since the days of the early church, women have been an integral part of fulfilling the Great Commission, as foretold by the prophet Joel and preached by the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost. (“Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy,” Joel 2:29). From Lydia’s house church to Priscilla’s teaching ministry, to Phoebe’s service, women in the early church period were essential to the spreading of the gospel across the Mediterranean world. Martyrs such as Blandina, Perpetua and Felicitas faced their violent deaths with astounding courage. Missionaries Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong not only took the gospel to the lost but tirelessly promoted mission work and education in our churches. Through the years women have eagerly and competently served in local church ministries, denominational agencies, committees and boards and diverse ministry roles.
Today more women than ever are theologically trained and equipped for service, prepared to use their skills and spiritual gifts to advance the gospel. Women have much to contribute as leaders, strategists, administrators, creatives, missiologists, communicators and theologians. We are faithful practitioners of discipleship, missions, education and service in local churches. We are champions in the areas of advocacy, justice, poverty and mental health.
In this moment, God is stirring a host of women to create a space for female leaders to gather in order to encourage and strengthen one another. We have had very few environments where we could organically relate, mentor and collaborate across all the domains in which we lead. It is time to change that. We believe that women sharpen women, and no cause could be more significantly eternal– than women strengthened for gospel work.
In this spirit we launch the SBC Women’s Leadership Network. This network exists to gather a collaborative community of women from the Southern Baptist Convention family who long to lead in diverse ways to significantly impact the Kingdom of God. We want to create environments that cultivate supportive relationships, multi-generational mentoring and robust personal development. By creating a platform for women leaders to connect, share stories, and engage mission together we affirm the role of women in the SBC and also empower our generation and future generations of women to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
We do not intend to address or discuss denominational issues on the WLN. We are not here to entertain various perspectives of women’s roles either in the home or the church. Neither of these issues are inappropriate; however, they are not the goal of this leadership network. We are singularly focused on connecting and encouraging female leaders in our SBC family in order that we all flourish for the sake of the gospel.
The team behind this network is a group of women who have demonstrated leadership and service in the local church level plus many lead and work at the denominational level. We are loyal Southern Baptists and convictionally complementarian. We uphold the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.