• Jennifer Harris Dault

    In addition to calling the twelve, we need to call the 120—those who will support these church plants. You already mentioned that most in Baptist life who support women in ministry do not tend to fund church plants. There are other denominations that still offer supports (financial, resource, etc). If we want women ministers to stay in Baptist life, it is going to take putting resources where our mouths are.

    • George Bullard

      Jennifer, that is an excellent point. Let’s start a movement to do this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1483070679 Mary Ann Boyd

    And we need pastors (men and women) who will step up and mentor these women church planters. Even more than financial support, mentor support and the support of a network of other church planters is vital. And Biblical. And we need a huge outpouring of prayer.

    • George Bullard

      Mary Ann: Agreed. Another good element! Let’s make it happen!

  • http://harrelsonagency.com/ Sam Harrelson

    I’m biased here because I happen to be Merianna’s fiance, but I just wanted to chime in on your thoughtful post, George.

    I don’t think what we need are more congregations in the CBF or the SBC and church planting is not the best primary answer for women (or men) looking to fulfill their call to being a pastor.

    As a past seminarian myself, I’ve seen friends go the church planting route out of frustration from not being able to find a pastor role or position within a baptist church. What I frequently saw was the creation of an “us vs them” mentality in the communities surrounding those church plants and it led quite often to burnout for the new pastor.

    Simply put, the seminary process for baptists looks a great deal different than it did in past decades when a degree and ordination certificate meant that you could find a role within a local congregation. Partly because of the economy, pastors are holding onto positions for much longer term and churches large and small are less inclined to take the financial burden of supporting a recent and “unproven” seminary graduate.

    That’s not good or healthy for our churches and fellowships/conventions overall.

    I’m praying Merianna is able to follow her call as she feels convicted and as I’ve witnessed. She will be an amazing senior pastor and servant to our Lord.

    It’s a shame to me that we often put politics above prayer and real need when we hand out pastor roles.

    • George Bullard

      Sam, thanks for your post. I appreciate your deep concern for the ministry calling of Merianna. My supreme hope is that she will discover the ministry role that fits the center of where God is in the process of leading her in her ministry.

      On the need for churches, I must say I believe your thoughts that no more congregations are needed is at minimum naive and at maximum a death wish for CBF. It is at least uninformed about the long-term churching patterns of movements.

      Historically church planting is the absolute best answer for women and men entering ministry. It is only through new congregations that we morph from one generation of the Church to another. Only 20% of all churches are able to be relevant to their context following their first generation of life. The other 80% become irrelevant and travel in the direction of becoming a museum rather than a movement.

      We need young to medium age adult ministers with the courage to strike out and take actions that create the new congregational communities needed for the next generation of potential followers of Jesus Christ.

      If God calls her to this, may Merianna be one of these!

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  • Paul Raybon

    Interesting challenge. I wonder what kind of approach to church planting would develop if women took the lead? The current entrepreneurial methods are tough for many ministers. Perhaps women would find a more excellent way? I have to echo some of Sam’s concerns, if church planting is seen as “what you do if you can’t work anywhere else” we are still in trouble. The successful church planters I have known seem uniquely gifted and called for it. Perhaps our challenge is to help women seminarians better explore the possibility of that calling.

    • George Bullard

      Paul, I believe that church planting ought to be our highest calling. It is the best way to increase the quality of ministry, and help our society to be more loving and just in a Christ-centered way. Few established congregations–perhaps only 20%–achieve the joy of a new congregation. The creativity many women in ministry would bring to this effort could transform the Church!

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