On Monday a group of SBC women leaders launched a new initiative called the SBC Women’s Leadership Network. We’ve heard rumblings for a month or two that something was in the works to give SBC women an avenue for networking and encouragement.
The Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) has a steering committee, as listed on their website, an impressive list of SBC leaders like Kathy Litton, Carol Pipes, Amy Whitfield, Donna Gaines, among others. Also on the steering committee is Jacki C. King, who’s written some great articles for us here at SBC Voices. Jacki’s been involved from the initial stages of this new project. We wanted to find out more about the WLN and how we could support the work they’ll be doing, so we asked Jacki to find out more.
How did the concept of the Women’s Leadership Network Come About?
Jacki: It was just about 9 months ago that I shared a post entitled Hope for Women in the SBC here at SBC Voices. From this post and several other conversations that were already taking place a group of women started dreaming, working together and figuring out what it would like to have a space for women leaders in the SBC to come together in their various roles– to collaborate and encourage one another in their gifts and service.
In the late fall months we put together a steering committee that is representative of different women serving in various capacities within the SBC. This past Monday, March 25th, 2019 is when those hopes and months of planning and prayer became a reality and the SBC Women’s Leadership Network was officially launched.
Now that the network has launched, what’s available and how would someone get involved?
Jacki: First, we have a Facebook group to meet and engage other women leaders. Currently we have over 450 women in this group sharing ideas, stories, and connecting with other women leaders that are near them both in proximity and in their roles of service. We’ve been thrilled with the response so far and hope this can become a healthy online forum for networking, community, and encouragement.
Second, we’re having an event at this year’s SBC Annual Meeting in Birmingham. On Tuesday night of the convention, from 8:30-10pm, the SBC Women’s Leadership Network will host a discussion of issues surrounding women’s leadership. This intentional time will be a great way for women to connect with others who serve in similar ways throughout our denomination. More details will be coming out soon and registration will be available to reserve spots.
Third, through our website you can access resources like a blog with content written for and by women of the SBC, a podcast that I am hosting that is called At The Table which interviews different women and how they serve in the SBC, as well as the statement our network team has published about the goals and vision for the WLN.
Some people will wonder what theological and cultural influences have brought this project together at this time. What do you want people to know about WLN?
Jacki: I’ll start off by saying we are convictionally complementarian and hold to the BFM2000. A lot of the conversation when talking about women’s roles stays at the level of complementarian vs egalitarian. Our position is clear in our statement and we don’t want to have to keep returning to what we consider a settled issue. So we want to start with an understanding that we hold complementarian views and we are not debating the place of women in the church or home – but instead taking the conversation further to pinpoint and celebrate women’s gifts, contributions, and work in the SBC.
The WLN is not a response to the #MeToo movement or to fight some of the stereotypes of what is being said about the SBC. For years there have been many in the SBC who celebrate the contribution of women as well as a consistent desire for women to have a place to connect and feel valued in our work. Over and over again leading up to this network I have heard from women have that they feel so alone as a woman in the SBC and underdeveloped in their gifts. This week the overwhelming response from women excitement and joy in finding a place of belonging and camaraderie. We believe there’s a real, persistent need in this area and we hope that the WLN can be a part of meeting that need.
How can people connect with the Women’s Leadership Network?
Jacki: Visit our website at SBCWomen.net. Join our Facebook group. We’re on Twitter at @SBC_Women. And of course, make plans to attend our meeting on Tuesday Night of the SBC Annual Meeting in Birmingham.