Grace Mitchell: Where Are the Women Among Texas Baptists?

Where are the women?

I was left pondering this question after attending the Texas Baptist Family Gathering in Arlington a few weeks ago.

The Family Gathering was a wonderful weekend of worship, fellowship and learning about issues facing the church today.

On the first night of the convention, church leaders and members from all over the state gathered for a special Lord’s Supper service. The leaders of the convention did a wonderful job of intentionally incorporating members from diverse backgrounds.

Representatives from the African-American, Vietnamese, Hispanic, Chinese, Bivocational/Small Church and Western Heritage fellowships worked together to explain the significance of the Lord’s Supper, read Scripture and distribute the elements. It was a beautiful picture of the unity Christ calls the church to pursue.

As a university student interested in missions and racial reconciliation, this concerted effort warmed my heart. The ceremony seemed to me to be a glimpse of heaven. Instead of the divisions that so often characterize our time, I saw true unity expressed.

And yet.

A picture of unity with something missing

While I felt such joy to see the Baptist General Convention of Texas breaking down racial barriers, I could not help but ask myself, “Where are the women?”

Of the six people asked to lead the communion service, all were men.

I understand the men asked to lead were all leaders of their respective fellowships, associations and conventions. Yet no one from Texas Baptist Women in Ministry was asked to lead.

While the BGCT included members of as many ethnicities as possible, it seems they neglected an entire half of their members.

I doubt this oversight was made with any ill intent. However, I think neglecting to include women in serving the Lord’s Supper points to a greater problem within the BGCT and within the Baptist community as a whole.

When women aren’t at the table

When the leaders of the BGCT asked representatives of ethnically diverse groups to lead the Lord’s Supper service, they did not just recognize their attendance at the convention; they validated and affirmed their calling.

They showed the next generation of ministers that to lead in Baptist churches, they do not have to be white. Those who served the Lord’s Supper were a physical representation of African-American, Hispanic, Vietnamese and Chinese pastors—evidence God’s call of ethnic minorities is possible.

So many young women who feel called to the ministry may rarely or never see such representation. They may never have heard a woman preach or seen a woman in a position of church leadership.

Just as in the past women thought it impossible to be doctors, lawyers or CEOs, many women today still think being a pastor in a Baptist church is impossible.

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Source: Baptist Standard