There’s been a little ruckus around an upcoming position termination at our beloved BGCT. If you haven’t heard, they are eliminating the Julie Sadler’s position: Leadership Development \Women in Ministry Consultant; Coordinator of Strategic Relationships.
Mostly, the ruckus has centered around a charge brought on by Aaron Weaver, of The Big Daddy Weave blog. He believes that the BGCT is distancing itself from the issue of Women in Ministry. In particular, he has written a blog post entitled, “The BGCT’s Center for Effective [Male] Leadership.” If you’re not a reader of BDW, you’ll find his writings very well articulated and sourced. He may come on a little strong, as is the tendency for most males feeling strongly of a topic. Understatement is not his gifting.
Go ahead and read the post. I’ll wait on you.
Ok, so the idea alleged is that the BGCT is distancing itself from the issue of Women in Ministry, according to BDW.
John Hall, of the BGCT’s blog, “We Are Texas Baptist,” wrote a short piece called, “BGCT creates Center for Effective Leadership.” He states that the Center will incorporate many areas of leadership development, meaning some substantial changes for related departments. One of the changes is the termination of Mrs. Sadler’s position.
I know that BDW is a huge supporter of Women in Ministry. He is usually a huge supporter of the BGCT in general. Sense he’s made no indication of actually contacting anyone in the BGCT, I’m left with a particular question for BDW, “Is Mrs. Sadler a personal friend of your’s, or someone in your family?”
I called the Center for Leadership Effectiveness and spoke with Ron Herring. We spoke for around 45 minutes or so, and I specifically asked if there was an official stance on Women in Ministry of the Center of Effective Leadership. He said that the stance of the Center is the same that it has always been. I asked for clarification, because it was my understanding that the Center was a new development. He clarified by stating that it was the same as what has been the BGCT’s stance.
The most succinct words I could find are found here.
The Baptist General Convention of Texas offers support and encouragement for all women who are in vocational ministries, to those who sense a call to vocational ministry, and to those involved in the support and training of present and future women in ministry.
From my conversation with Ron, I have to conclude that this is the stance of the Center for Effective Leadership, as it implies to Women in Ministry.
He stated that the Center would try to develop Leadership in many different areas. We spoke of five areas in particular. Of these five, they included Women in Ministry and Congregational Leadership. I asked if “Congregational Leadership” meant pastors, and he answered in the affirmative. He affirmed that the Women in Ministry emphasis would include female pastors, and the Congregational Leadership would include them too. There was going to be plenty of overlap between the areas of emphasis.
From the conversation, I came away with the following understanding. 1) The Center for Effective Leadership is for everyone, in all types of leadership positions. 2) In particular, the Women in Ministry emphasis will be headed up by Emily Prevost. 3) They are advocates of the Churches, and will endeavour to provide help to all of them in a holistic manner, regardless of their ideological stance.
In my opinion, they will have to hurdle some obstacles. First, Julie Sadler did a remarkable job; and filling her shoes are nigh impossible. During our current economic situation, people loosing their job from our Convention offices will be hard to stomach. Perhaps if leadership took substantial pay cuts, we would believe they really are doing everything they can to reduce costs in a responsible manner.
Secondly, I believe that they will continue to find criticism from those that hold to the issue of Women in Ministry as a primary “plank” in their theological/ideological platform. If it isn’t up front and center, they won’t be happy.
Thirdly, those that believe it is theologically/ideologically wrong to support women in ministry will continue to beat upon the institution. There will be no pleasing the extreme.
Lastly, I believe there may be some emotional connections under the surface, possibly some relationships being hurt, that will add to any “fire” that may be around because of this. Granted, this is conjecture; so feel free to flame away at me.
I strongly encourage the Center for Leadership Effectiveness to get together a Women in Ministry Conference. This is something that some very vocal people, me included, feel strongly about.
Don’t rush it.
Make it quality.
But, get’er done!
Note: BDW has answered my question on the forums of baptistlife.com. He did not/does not know Mrs. Sadler personally.