“When we sold our building, the Lord blessed us with a decent sum of money,” says the Rev. Christine A. Smith, the church’s senior pastor and author of “Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping & Empowering Female Pastors” (Judson Press, 2013). “We believe in tithing, so we wanted to pay a tithe as an offering.”
The endowment will support at least two African-American female pastors yearly who serve congregations of 300 or fewer members as senior solo pastor. The pastors do not need to be affiliated with American Baptist Churches USA.
Herself once a struggling pastor, Smith points out that African-American women in ministry are often called to economically depressed, small churches that can’t pay a living wage. Therefore, her congregation, she said, developed a heart to help other women however possible.
The 25-member church had been in great debt, but, “In spite of all that, with prayer and thankfulness, with stewardship and with working together in one accord, God blessed us to accomplish great things,” she says. “We hope that this [endowment] can be used to help another struggling pastor—that she can see that there’s a bright side.”
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
Founded in 1824, Judson Press is a publishing ministry of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Baptist Churches USA. It is committed to producing Christ-centered leadership resources for the transformation of individuals, congregations, communities and cultures.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.