CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The former president of the Baptist Women in Ministry encouraged women pastors to “answer to a higher power, a higher authority than the local association.” Carolyn Hale Cubbedge, currently senior pastor at Memorial Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga., reminded the BWIM members gathered at the temple that no human authority or creed can remove women from their God-ordained roles as ministers, during the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship general assembly, June 26.
“I think God will hold us responsible for how we face our opponents, and how we represent the God we say is calling us," Cubbedge said. “When we find ourselves in tough situations, we should serve Christ, who was in much harder situations than we'll ever be in”
Cubbedge noted two matters women needed to consider as they entered ministry. The first was to build a network of support; in particular by joining the local branches of the BWIM.
Baptist Women in Ministry "seeks to nurture and support and serve as a catalyst for women in ministry," she said. "We often help ... with ... anything that we can do to link you to people who can help you learn what you need to know or people who can help you in job transition or whatever you might be facing as you seek to answer your call to ministry, whatever that happens to be."
In addition, Cubbedge recommended that women pastors look outside of Baptist circles for support.
"I'm also involved in another women in ministry group that has been helpful to me, and this is a group we call the 'SWIMers.' They are the Savannah Women in Ministry group, and we are an ecumenical group. ... We find ways to support each other in ministry at an ecumenical level. ... We don't argue denominations or your interpretation of that or the other, but we listen to each other in terms of call, ministry and what we're trying to do. So there are lots of places you can find support for women in ministry," she said.
Second, Cubbedge challenged women pastors to make their families a priority in light of life in ministry.
"Before a man would marry a woman who knows that she has been called to ministry, understand what that call on her life is going to be and what that means for family and how you work together," she said.
Finally, Cubbedge told attendees that women in pastoral ministry should not shy away from their unique calling. Rather, they should ignore opposition and proceed with ministry.
"Women in ministry have enough antagonists out there, who for whatever reason don't think that you have a right to be called by God to serve in roles in ministry. But there are an awful lot of people who believe that you do. So expend your energy developing relationships that help your ministry grow, that help you do what it is God called you to do. There's so much work to keep you busy that we don't have energy, we don't need to waste energy trying to deal with folks who want to see you fail."