Many Southern Baptist Women Care More About Calling Than What They’re Called

As the SBC debates restrictions around titles and roles, female leaders continue their work in local churches.

When women’s ministry began dominating her schedule, taking too much time from her responsibilities at work and at home, Jacqueline Heider submitted a letter of resignation.

Her pastor responded by offering her a paid position.

That was 18 years ago. Since then, Heider has led women’s ministry at Warren Baptist Church. She serves on the lead team, working alongside fellow ministry heads at the church, which spans four locations in the Augusta, Georgia, area.

Heider developed Bible studies and discipleship programs. She launched a special needs ministry, carrying over what she learned from caring for her own daughter with special needs. She became the executive director of the church’s crisis pregnancy center.

There was a time when Heider considered whether the title of “minister to women” would be a better fit than “director,” but she realized that it wouldn’t really change anything. She was getting to do the work she loved, with the support she needed, and that’s what mattered to her.

“I’m not saying it’s not valid and I don’t think it’s necessary. … It’s just not ever been a hill that I want to die on,” said Heider. “If you start getting concerned about your title and what you can’t do, it takes away from the work you are called to do.”

Women’s ministry titles have been the most talked-about issue going into next week’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting, when around 11,000 messengers will vote on whether to amend their constitution to state that only men can serve as “any kind of pastor.”

Supporters see the change as a necessary stance for biblical roles for men and women …

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