Vocare was published two times a year by Baptist Women in Ministry.

Each issue features articles written by Baptist women about their work in ministry and life experiences. Other articles, written by Baptist women and men, are educational, informational, or just fun.

Vocare also features wonderful color photos of Baptist women serving, leading, praying, singing, learning, and playing.


Ministry Search Conversations, 2021

In early 2021, BWIM is hosting three Zoom conversations to discuss the congregational ministry search process for women in ministry among Baptists.

These conversations will be informative and dialogical in nature, and will be designed for anyone who is interested in the unique aspects of the ministry search process for women including women currently searching for a ministry position, women imagining a future search process, or advocates for women in search processes. Conversations will be safe spaces for open and honest dialogue and will not be recorded.

View Schedule

Thursday January 20, 2022 12:30pm EST / 11:30am CST–Conversation #1: Resumes, Cover Letters, and Applying

Thursday February 24, 2022 12:30pm EST / 11:30am CST–Conversation #2: Interviewing

Thursday March 24, 2022 12:30pm EST / 11:30am CST–Conversation #3: A Search Committee’s Perspective

BWIM Office Hours, 2020

During the beginning of the global pandemic, Baptist Women in Ministry hosted monthly Office Hours conversations with women from all across the United States and the United Kingdom.

These conversations were held via Zoom to provide a safe place for women to share their anxieties during this difficult season. One regular participant shared of her experiences in Office Hours, “The most important gift of this year—bar none—was Office Hours with Lynn Brinkley. It was a blessing and a life-saver.” 

2019 Conversations

In 2019, BWIM hosted monthly conversations via the online meeting platform Zoom.

Each month’s conversation featured either a topic of interest or be intended for a particular group of women ministers. Some conversations were educational in nature; others offered support and networking opportunities. The conversations included special guest speakers. Some conversations were recorded, and links are provided.

View Schedule

Tuesday, January 15, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST –“Sexual Abuse and the Church: What You Need to Know,” Special Guest: Nina Maples

Monday, February 4, 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. EST – “A Conversation with Latina Ministers,” Special Guest: Nora Lozano

Tuesday, March 12, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST – “A Conversation with Retired Women Ministers,” Special Guest: Kathy Manis Findley

Tuesday, April 2, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST –“A Conversation about Living with Illness while Ministering,” Special Guests: Courtney Allen, Dorisanne Cooper, and Molly Brummett Wudel

Tuesday, May 7, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST – “A Conversation for Sexual Abuse Survivors,” Special Guest: Nina Maples

Tuesday, June 4, 11:00-12:00 a.m. EST–“A Conversation about the Ministry Search Process” with Pam Durso. If you are currently looking for a ministry position or plan to initiate a search in the near future, join this conversation for practical helps in preparing for and living into this season of searching.

Thursday, July 18, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST – “BWIM Book Club: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown” with discussion led by Marjorie Avent.  Marjorie is an ordained minister, life coach and certified Daring Way facilitator (based on the research of Brene Brown). Participants are encouraged to read the book in preparation for the conversation.

Thursday, August 22, 11:00-12:00 a.m. EST–“A Conversation about Public Advocacy” with special guests Melissa Rogers and Sister Carol Keehan. Melissa Rogers previously served as special assistant to President Barack Obama and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and is currently a visiting professor and practitioner-in-residence at the Wake Forest University Divinity School. Sr. Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity, is president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States and has provided extraordinary leadership in advancing the national discussion on health care. Watch the video of this conversation here.

Tuesday, September 10, 11:00-12:00 a.m. EST— “Beyond Policies: Cultivating A Culture of Safety for Children and Youth” with special guest: LeAnn Gardner. LeAnn is an ordained minister, a licensed clinical social worker and regularly conducts S.A.F.E. (Sexual Awareness and Family Empowerment) Seminars for parents and congregational leaders. Watch the video of this conversation here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST–“A Conversation with Those Ministering While Care-Giving,” with special guests Renee Purtlebaugh, Sarah Stewart, and Kerri Thompson. Renee is associate pastor to children and their families at Highland Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky. Sarah is pastor of First Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Kerri is a social worker and therapist in private practice in Macon, Georgia.

Thursday, November 14, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EST—“A Conversation about Ministry Transitions: Preparing to Leave and Leaving Well” with special guest Zoricelis Davila. Zoricelis is a bilingual psychotherapist at Puerta de Esperanza: Bilingual Counseling & Psychotherapy (Door of Hope), Fort Worth, Texas. Watch the video of this conversation here.

2015 Monthly Conversations: Family Ties

From 2009 to 2015, a collaborative group led by Pam Durso and Devita Parnell gathered each month for a conversation about women and Baptist life. The conversations from 2014 and 2015 were recorded and are available by clicking on the links listed below. The monthly conversations in 2015 included subjects related to family relationships, responsibilities, and the real life challenges of ministers.

December 2015 – Self-care
A Conversation with Chanequa Walker-Barnes

November 2015 – Adoption: Placement and Parenting
A conversation with Amy Derrick and Lee Ritchie

September 2015 – Step-parenting and Ministry
A conversation with Merianna Harrelson

August 2015 – Caring for Aging Parents While Ministering
A Conversation with Karen Massey, Kerri Thompson, and Prissy Tunnell

June 2015 – Project Pomegranate: Infertility, Pregnancy Loss, and Infant Death
A conversation with Jake Hall, Mary Elizabeth Hanchey, Ruth Perkins Lee.

May 2015 – Help! My Wife is a Minister 
A Conversation with Brent Jones, Josh Speight, and Paul Swiney

April 2015 – Surviving and Succeeding as a Single Minister
A Conversation with Sharyn Dowd, Charity Roberson, and Brittany Riddle

March 2015 – Pregnant While Ministering
A Conversation with Julie Long, Mary Beth Foust, and Stephanie McLeskey

February 2015 – Two Ministries, One Marriage – Making it Work
A Conversation with Jane and David Hull

2014 Monthly Conversations: The Messy Stuff of Ministry

The monthly conversations in 2014 featured interviews with experts and practitioners about hard topics in ministry.

January 2014 – Conversation with George Mason
“Why is Ministry So Messy? A Starting Conversation.”

February 2014 – Conversation with Molly T. Marshall
“Am I Alone? How to Build a Network of Support.”

March 2014 – Conversation with Rebecca Wiggs and Patricia Wilson
“Breaking the Law? Dealing with Pesky Legal Issues”

April 2014 – Conversation with Laura Leavell
“Practice Sabbath? Who Has Time?”

May 2014 – Conversation with Taryn Deaton
“Who me? Ask for money? Fundraising 101”

June 2014 – Conversation with Pam Durso and Devita Parnell
“Will I Ever Find a Ministry Position?: Hints and Helps for Surviving the Search Process”

Leading Women Conference

April 26-28, 2017

On April 26-28, 2017, 120 women gathered at First Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee to celebrate the influence and voices of women from across Baptist life.

Attendees participated in worship, leadership development discussions, networking opportunities, and conversations.

Leading Women began on Wednesday afternoon with three LEAD Talks (think TED Talks with a Baptist woman twist) presented by Kasey Jones, Molly T. Marshall, and Suzii Paynter. In addition, attendees selected from eighteen other LEAD Talk on Thursday with topics ranging from advocacy, financial well-being, life-long learning, leadership, and mentoring. The gathering also featured three worship services led by Carol McEntyre, Ossie McKinney, and Meredith Stone. The Friday morning session opened with a conversation with Raquel Contreras and concluded with a powerful worship service that included testimonies from Ashton Wells and Linda McKinnish Bridges.

Following the gathering, Pam Durso wrote in a BWIM blog post: “There were so many special moments.”

I watched as two friends from seminary days stood together in the pulpit-–now both are seminary presidents! (Molly T. Marshall and Linda McKinnish Bridges) I cried as a retired missionary sat next to her Chilean Baptist pastor friend (Joyce Wyatt and Raquel Contreras). I marveled at the new friends that blossomed quickly. I laughed (and took selfies) with some of my students–both present students and those who have graduated and are now busy bringing change to our world. There are too many stories to tell. Too many beautiful stories. For last week, a group of Baptist women made space for beauty. They listened to one another. They learned from each other. They cried together–and laughed. And they were inspired and renewed, and so was I. Leading Women was an unexpected gift, one for which I will be forever grateful!”

Recent Posts

  • Two weeks ago Baptist women gathered in the lovely sanctuary of First Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee. Our theme for the three-day Leading Women event was CELEBRATING BEAUTY. At the first session of that gathering, I spoke these words: “In each and every moment of our lives, we find beauty. In the gains and in the losses, we find beauty. In the successes and in the failures, we find beauty. In the joyous laughter and in the grieving tears, we find beauty. For God’s spirit works in and with and through us in each moment, making all things beautiful, redeeming every heartache and pain, every happiness and joy.” We then proceeded to celebrate the beauty of those women who walked before us, paving the way, blazing the trail. We celebrated the women who have stepped into places of leadership and service, sharing their beautiful gifts with us all in these present days, and we celebrated the beauty that is to come as God calls and gifts more women as pastors, counselors, preachers, teachers, leaders, chaplains, encouragers, and mentors. That celebration of beauty continued for me well past the conclusion of Leading Women. On Sunday evening, May 7, I sat in another lovely church sanctuary. This one in Nacogdoches, Texas: Austin Heights Baptist Church. The sanctuary was filled with faithful Baptists and friends of Baptists, and all those gathered shared in celebrating the beauty that is our friend and leader, Suzii Paynter. We named her giftedness. We affirmed her calling as a minister, and we laid our hands on her. We recognized the minister she has long been, the minister she is now, and the minister she is yet to be. And it was beautiful. For the beauty of her ordination service, for the beauty of Suzii’s long-held calling, for the beauty of her strength and courage, and for the beauty of her faithfulness, thanks be to God.   Pam Durso is the executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia.

  • If you have ever planned worship or conferences or meetings, you will understand. I rarely, almost never, enjoy, receive inspiration, or feel renewed when I attend an event that I have planned. It is hard to be in the moment, when you are watching the clock, keeping track of what’s next. It is hard to be inspired when you are texting your co-leader, checking on your flight-delayed preacher. It is hard to listen, to sing, to absorb when you are directing traffic from the front row. It is just hard. But many times last week in the midst of our Leading Women gathering, I found myself sitting on the front row NOT watching the time, NOT signaling the next speaker. I found myself swept into the moment–it was a wonderful, unexpected feeling! At the very beginning of our time together last week, Molly T. Marshall, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary and founding mother of Baptist Women in Ministry, stood and declared that Leading Women was “as historic, perhaps, as that first organizing meeting of Baptist Women in Ministry in 1983.” I knew then that I needed to pay attention, to soak this gathering in, and so I did. There were so many special moments. I watched as two friends of seminary days stood together in the pulpit–now both are seminary presidents! (Molly T. Marshall and Linda McKinnish Bridges) I cried as a retired missionary sat next to her Chilean Baptist pastor friend (Joyce Wyatt and Raquel Contreras). I marveled at the new friends that blossomed quickly. I laughed (and took selfies) with some of my students–both present students and those who have graduated and are now busy bringing change to our world. There are too many stories to tell. Too many beautiful stories. For last week, a group of Baptist women made space for beauty. They listened to one another. They learned from each other. They cried together–and laughed. And they were inspired and renewed, and so was I. Leading Women was an unexpected gift. One I will be forever grateful for!   Pam Durso is executive director, Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia. 

  • There are really no words for what happened yesterday in Knoxville as women gathered for worship, conversation, laughter, and beautiful music. What a day. From LEAD Talks by our favorite leading women: Kasey Jones, Molly T. Marshall, and Suzii Paynter to a powerful service of praise and worship led by Ossie McKinney and Meredith Stone. There are no words . . . but there are lots of pictures. Selfies. We began our time by making new friends, celebrating old friends, and taking selfies! And we used the hashtag #leadingwomen2017. Among my favorite selfies from the day are these:  

  • Today. Finally. After a year of dreaming and planning and preparing, Leading Women begins today. And I am ready! For those of you who weren’t able to make it to Knoxville, follow our gathering on the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Facebook Live, or follow us on twitter and Facebook at #leadingwomen2017. Among the leading women who will be with us in Knoxville are Raquel Contreras, Kasey Jones, Molly T. Marshall, Carol McEntyre, Ossie McKinney, Suzii Paynter, and Meredith Stone. THIS IS WHAT LEADING WOMEN LOOK LIKE!                 Pam Durso is executive director, Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia. 

In her blog post, “Mothering Like God,” Kelly Moreland Jones wrote of the conversation with Raquel Contreras: “I was moved to hear her journey from pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mom to widow and single parent during her mid-forties. She told us about being excused from a business meeting expecting the people to be gathering a widow’s offering behind closed doors, following the death of her husband. Instead, she returned to the meeting, only to learn that the church wanted to call her as their senior pastor.”

Raquel also shared about the time she found herself in a sea of bickering men. Finally, those men turned to prayer and “sought Almighty God’s will for the leader who would help heal wounds and propel them into the future.” The prayer time resulted in every male candidate for the presidency of the Chilean Baptist Union stepping forward to remove his name from the ballot so that the group could nominate a godly woman. The Union then elected Raquel as their president by acclimation. Kelly concluded her blog, “Raquel Contreras’s story is nothing short of a miracle. It is evidence of a living, loving God walking among us.”

Leading Women was a powerful, much-needed gathering to celebrate the beauty of leading Baptist women. If you missed the gathering, the large group sessions and the worship services videos are available below.

Leadership Conversations and Worship Services

Discernment Retreats

Discernment Cohort

In 2011 Baptist Women in Ministry began hosting Discernment Retreats for college women sensing a call to ministry.
In Spring 2021, we reframed this experience of discernment into a virtual cohort which would allow college women from across the country to participate together in the work of discerning their callings.
The Discernment Cohort convened over a ten-week period and include five mandatory Monday night meetings via Zoom. Each participant was placed in a small group with other college women from across the country and a mentor who is an experienced Baptist minister. Each Monday night session included a large group session for teaching and panel discussions, as well as time for small group discussion with the group’s mentor cultivating opportunities for women discerning a call to personally interact with and learn from each other as well as a woman who understands their journey.
Participation in the cohort was free! Participants whose applications were selected and who completed the cohort received a $200 SCHOLARSHIP at the end of the ten week period.
Presently, we are not offering discernment cohorts/retreats. However, If you want to know more or if you know college or seminary women who might be interested in attending, please email Lynn Brinkley at Generally, only 20 applicants are selected to participate in the discernment cohort.

Discernment Retreats

Each year BWIM hosts discernment retreats for college and seminary women.

The retreats create intentional space for reflection on God’s calling. Due to the pandemic, BWIM was unable to host our 2020 discernment retreat. We hope to host a new retreat in Fall 2021, so stay tuned!

On September 20-22, 2019, Baptist Women in Ministry and Texas Baptist Women in Ministry hosted a retreat at Willow Meadows Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, which included times for worship, reflection, small groups, rest, and fellowship. The three-day retreat is free for participants.

The retreat typically begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and concludes with lunch on Sunday.

For more information or if you know college or seminary women who might be interested in attending, please email Lynn Brinkley at

We Need Each Other: College Women and Discernment

by Pam Durso

On February 9-11, 2018, Baptist Women in Ministry held a Discernment Retreat for college women. Milledge Avenue Baptist Church in Athens, Georgia, served as our host church.

I must confess that college women scare me a bit– they have so much energy, so much excitement about life and ministry. They have great confidence and certainty–while at the same time, asking hard questions, challenging the status quo, and living with doubt and fear and uncertainty. It is a beautiful, confusing, all things are possible, nothing is clear place in life, and this discernment retreat was exactly what many of them needed–a safe opportunity to ask questions about their calling, an encouraging space to sit with new friends and share stories, and a comfortable place to laugh and cry, to listen to God’s Spirit.

Twenty-four college women attended – women from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. They met together in small groups, sat with one another for meals, went bowling on Saturday night, and helped lead worship on Sunday morning at Milledge Avenue Baptist Church. But mostly they learned that they are not alone. There are other young women who are discerning God’s call, who are figuring out what it means to be a minister. They found companions for the journey, friends for the road.

I am so thankful to all who made this retreat possible: Edward Bolen, Ginny Dempsey, Tommie Mullins and all the people of Milledge Avenue Baptist Church who provided space and food for our retreat.

Ginny Dempsey, Emily Harbin, Amanda Lewis, Sarah Murray, Lee Ritchie, and Karen Zimmerman, who served as small group leaders.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia, who made our bowling and dinner on Saturday possible. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina, The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia, First Baptist Church of Athens, Georgia, and McAfee School of Theology, who were financial supporters of the retreat.

Baptist Women in Ministry of Georgia, who provided healthy snacks. Melissa Fallen, who drove a van filled with college women from Virginia. Stephanie McLeskey, who brought her Mars Hill students. Rachel Sloan Erickson, Melissa Fallen, Nikki Hardeman, and Lee Ritchie, who served as a panel to talk about “real life” ministry.

Discerning a call to ministry, listening to the Spirit, following God’s leadership–takes a village of support, encouragement, and love. We need each other on this journey! I am grateful that these college women won’t be alone as they listen and respond to God’s call!

College Women, Sleep Deprivation, and Hearing God’s Call

by Pam Durso

I recently spent two days in Kentucky with women students from Campbellsville University, sharing life stories, talking about call discernment, and remembering what it was like to be in college. I learned so much! I learned that college women don’t require as much sleep as I do! (Okay, I already knew that college students don’t sleep, but I experienced it first hand during our overnight retreat).

I also learned that these Campbellsville women are fearless in their love of Jesus, compassionate in their care of their sisters, and adventurous in their living and sharing of the faith. They played together, laughed a lot, enjoyed spending time with friends and making new friendships, hearing stories and receiving advice from their professors, and eating s’mores around a fire.

Together we spent twenty-four hours exploring what it means to be called by God–to a life of purpose and perhaps even to vocational ministry. I shared copies of Five Hundred Miles: Reflections on Pilgrimage and Calling by Lauren Brewer Bass. I also shared with them some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Our callings last our whole lives. Our callings are bigger than our jobs. Our callings are bigger than our unemployment, and they are bigger than our underemployment. Our callings seep like tea into the water of our whole lives. They flavor everything.”

“We have to learn who we are, and who we aren’t. We have to stand inside our stories, including the parts of our stories that we didn’t choose or like very much, and let things go. We have to relearn who we were. In order to endure the difficult paths of our callings, we have to know who we are and who we are called be.”

“We can’t walk this journey of calling alone. We need people to carry extra snacks. We need people to start parts of our stories that we didn’t choose or like very much, and let things go. We have to relearn who we were. In order to endure the difficult paths of our callings, we have to know who we are and who we are called be.”

I drove away from Camp Jabezin Nancy, Kentucky on Saturday afternoon with great hope in my heart, knowing that the future of the church rests in the hands of strong, sincere, committed, and compassionate women such as these.

Thanks, Twyla Hernadez and Campbellsville University, for making this discernment retreat possible!


Review & Expositor

The Winter 2013 issue of Review & Expositor titled “Current Status of Baptist Women in Ministry” featured articles on the topic. Links to four of those articles are found below:

She-Preachers, Bossy Women, and Children of the Devil: A History of Baptist Women Ministers and Ordination  by Pamela R. Durso

Already But Not Yet: The Status of Women Baptist Pastors by Tracy Hartman

Breaking Through the Extra-Thick Stained Glass Ceiling: African American Baptist Women in Ministry by Courtney Pace Lyons

‘In My Mother’s House’: A Glimpse of Baptist Women in Ministry on its Twenty-Fifth Anniversary by Elizabeth Flowers

Biblical and Theological Articles

Seeking the Word and Will of God on Women in Ministry by Jim Denison, theologian-in-residence, Baptist General Convention of Texas (Attached in PDF form)