Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister, and today we are pleased to introduce Amy Stertz.
Tell us about your current ministry position.
I serve as the associate minister in Christian education at Aiken’s First Baptist Church in Aiken, South Carolina. I’ve been here for seven and a half years, working with people of all ages and stages of life in all different parts of the church. My primary areas of focus are education ministries and missions. I also work with our Stephen Ministry, serve as a liaison with many committees (Strategic Planning, Nominating, Stewardship), and coordinate a chapel service for our weekday preschool. Because of my job, I’ve also had the opportunity to serve in the community and state with partnership organizations like Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina and Habitat for Humanity.
Who has inspired you along the way as you have lived out your calling?
My parents started me on my faith journey, brought me to church every week, and taught me what it meant to be Baptist and to belong to a church. So many people in the churches that I was a part of growing up showed me love and grace on a regular basis and taught me what in meant to be a part of a community of faith. I have met some great mentors and cheerleaders along the way; people who really believed in me and pushed me to be my best. I hesitate to name any names but have to say how fortunate I was to cross paths with Paula Dempsey, Craig Goforth, Kenneth McNeill, Pam Durso, Marion Aldridge, and Fred Andrea at just the right time. I have worked with some of the best colleagues, I’m particularly grateful to have worked alongside Mary Carol Anderson, James Bennett, and Jay Kieve who are thoughtful, creative, and fun. I am beyond grateful for my husband, Joe, who is my biggest fan and who has always affirmed my gifts for ministry, even when I lose sight of them myself.
What do you love best about ministry?
My favorite thing about ministry is the relationships. I love getting to know people, hearing their stories, getting to walk with them through their joys and sorrows. I love helping people connect and deepen their relationships with others and with God. It is a beautiful and holy thing!
What advice would you give to a teenage girl who is sensing a call to ministry?
Before I offer any advice could I offer a hug and say, “How exciting?!” A call to ministry is something to be celebrated and nurtured. My advice would be to surround yourself with people who know and affirm you and your calling. There are a lot of people who won’t ‘get’ what you are doing and maybe even some who won’t agree with it. But there are oh so many who will, keep those close! I am grateful for a wonderful pastor/mentor who helped introduce me to the life of ministry and pointed me toward a seminary that supported women in ministry. I am grateful for Campbell University Divinity School, where I was equal with my male classmates and taking preaching wasn’t an option. I am grateful for churches like Azalea Baptist Church in Norfolk, Virginia, and Aiken’s First Baptist Church, that have invited me to serve as minister on their church staff, invited me to preach from their pulpits, and helped me grow as a minister. I am grateful for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, especially the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina, a place where I truly found home and family. I am grateful for fellow ministers who encourage me, challenge me, support me, and walk with me, especially those in my peer learning group. These friends, colleagues, churches, and organizations have helped me in the continual process of discovering, affirming, and nurturing my call. Build a strong network. It will serve you well!