A Call to Next-Generation Female Leaders

Cathie Smith speaking from notes on a music stand

A Call to Next-Generation Female Leaders

Written By Cathie Smith

A Call to Next-Generation Female Leaders

Next Gen female leaders, there is a place for you in the SBC – locally, at the associational, state, national, and international level! Your desire for diversity and authenticity brings a newness and greater level of cooperation to the table. Your voice matters.

Studies indicate that Millennials were once considered the “least religious in history,” yet Gen Z are considered “even less religious.” [1] Even among various generations who have grown up in the church, many are leaving their faith. As our culture becomes more post-Christian and the next generations become less and less involved in church and our denomination, a call for leaders from within these generations is even greater.

Dr. Tim Elmore, founder and CEO of the non-profit organization Growing Leaders, states, “…ten thousand Baby Boomers retire on average every day. Even if everyone in Generation X were a brilliant leader, there would not be enough of them to fill the vacancies left by the Boomers. Managers and leaders will need to be selected from among the Millennials and Generation Z. Ready or not, they will be called up to lead because of the need.” [2] While Elmore was referring to culture in general, not just religious life, the trend seems to fit with SBC culture as well. A recent study found that “57 percent of Southern Baptists are older than 55, while [only] 15 percent are 18-35.” [3] Mature and trained Next Gen Leaders in the SBC are greatly needed- both male and female.

Being a part of the SBC affords one the opportunity to network across generational and cultural lines. The Cooperative Program, the lifeblood for resourcing the SBC, is founded on cooperative efforts between churches and across generations. From the local church to international missions, there is a great need for Next Gen leaders to step up and to be trained, not just in seminary but in spiritual disciplines, making disciples, and equipping others. This includes both male and female leaders.

Young leaders such as one of our own from California, Dr. Kristen Ferguson, served as the Associate Dean of Education Effectiveness, Director of Online Education, and Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Gateway Seminary before her recent election to Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services. Additionally, she was named by SBC President Bart Barber to chair the SBC Committee on Resolutions.[4] Another young female leader, Catherine Renfro, serves as the National Director of Women’s Evangelism with the North American Mission Board (NAMB). They both have answered the call to serve, even with young children. They are making a difference in our denomination’s life as women, as moms, as pastor’s wives, and as leaders (under the age of 40), serving at a national level!

Next Gen Female leaders, we need you!

Ways to connect:

  1. Engage in your local church and community. Think about what resources and insights you can bring to the table.
  2. Get in touch with your Association’s Director of Missions or Director of Mission’s wife for opportunities to serve in your association of churches. California women, if you are unsure of which association your church belongs to, contact Cathie Smith at csmith@csbc.com to get connected.
  3. Contact your Baptist state convention leaders to see how you might partner with what is going on in your state (visit the CSBC website for more information – CSBC.com).
  4. Attend the state convention October 21-23, 2024, at Magnolia Church in Riverside. There is a Women’s Ministry Network meeting planned for October 22, where female leaders come together to network, share ideas, and encourage each other. As the date gets closer, check out the CSBC website for more information (CSBC.com)
  5. Attend the National Convention in Indianapolis. Go as a Messenger from your church and share your voice in decisions that are made. You can even just go as a guest and see what is happening at the national level. For more information visit https://sbcannualmeeting.net/
  6. Be a part of the next online Next Gen Leaders meeting with Jason Robertson happening on May 7th. You can register today here!
  7. Let God use your gifts to bring Him glory and honor wherever you are – considering serving in church planting or international missions (https://www.namb.net/go or https://www.imb.org/go/)

[1] https://www.churchtrac.com/articles/how-churches-can-reach-gen-z

[2] Tim Elmore,  A New Kind of Diversity, 161

[3] https://www.brnow.org/news/next-gen-leaders-urge-proactive-response-to-sbc-age-distribution-trends/

[4] https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/news/ferguson-to-chair-committee-on-resolutions-through-new-process/?fbclid=IwAR0k1Rz3RgEByXYbKRw5NWWwl5gyGy2XeZC1bD5sKYrn5uXroElPeP1j9cE

About the Author

Cathie Smith
Women's Ministry Director, CSBC

Cathie holds a bachelor’s degree in family development from Oklahoma Baptist University, and a master of divinity and doctor of educational ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For 10 years, Cathie and her husband served primarily in Spain with the International Mission Board, however, Cathie’s international missions service also includes Ecuador, Japan and Guatemala. She is the mother of 3 children, (2 grown and 1 still at home) and she serves as the Women's Ministry Director for CSBC.

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