VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/4/23)—The Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA has affirmed the call of the Rev. Dr. Gina Jacobs-Strain to be the next General Secretary of the denomination. Dr. Jacobs-Strain’s term of service will begin on February 1, 2024.
In announcing the call of Dr. Jacobs-Strain, ABCUSA President Jim Wolfe noted that Dr. Jacobs-Strain was the unanimous choice of the search committee. “The committee committed itself to prayer and the discernment of God’s will in this process. We believe Dr. Jacobs-Strain is the person that God has chosen to lead our denominational family. She has the academic background, professional and personal skills to lead this diverse family into the mission that God has prepared for us.”
Rev. Dr. Gina C. Jacobs-Strain’s devotion to the Lord began in her elementary school years when she committed her life to Christ. Currently, she holds the position of Executive Director for American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) and is a member of the National Executive Council for American Baptist Churches USA.
Under her guidance, ABWM introduced the AB GIRLS program, “Building Bridges and Gateways to Girl’s Future/Hie-STEAM,” an initiative connecting AB GIRLS Christian Curriculum with local STEAM providers, empowering girls to recognize God’s creative potential within them. ABWM has also broadened its Beloved Community and Domestic Violence ministries and now offers seminars and webinars tailored for young adult women nationwide.
Dr. Jacobs-Strain has held various pastoral roles including Transitional Pastor at First Baptist Church of New Market in Piscataway, N.J., Interim Pastor at St. Paul Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands, N.J., Associate Regional Pastor for Women in Ministry for American Baptist Churches of New Jersey (ABC-NJ), and serves as an Associate Minister of Christian Education at St. Paul Baptist Church in Montclair, N.J.
Rev. Jacobs-Strain has been invited as a guest preacher/lecturer at institutions such as Drew University Theological School, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, ABC-NJ Academy, and the Wellness Lounge Webcast. She also contributed to the “Testify: ABC-NJ Devotional” book, published in 2015. In 2016, she co-launched the Christian Education Workshop Series, “Leading Interactive and Engaging Bible Studies (L.I.B.S. TM)” at the ABC-NJ annual Church Officers and Leaders Conference (COAL). In 2017, she initiated a conversation series, “The Intersection of Leadership and Healing.”
Rev. Dr. Jacobs-Strain earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rutgers University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Divinity degree from Drew University’s Theological School. She was also honored with the Old Testament Studies Scholar Award from the Biblical Studies Department. In 2015, she received a Certificate of Excellence from Palmer Theological Seminary & ABC-NJ Academy, and in 2017, she completed the Nehemiah-Leadership Program. In May 2020, she attained a Doctor of Ministry from Duke University. She is married to Clifton Strain, and together they have three sons. They currently reside in Morristown, N.J.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.