Each Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces a Baptist woman serving in ministry, and today, we introduce you to Jessica Prophitt.
Jessica, tell us about where and how you are currently serving in ministry?
I am currently serving as an U.S. Air Force chaplain at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia.
Where and how have you served in the past?
In the past, I have served as a hospital chaplain at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina and the VA Medical Center in Atlanta, Georgia. I have also served as a recreation ministry intern at Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain. Before becoming an active duty chaplain at Robins, I was a reserve chaplain at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina, and also a stay-at-home mom to my now fourteen-month-old son, Ian.
What have been some of your “bumps in the road” as a woman minister?
There have been two areas that have been the greatest challenge for me as I have pursued ministry. First, it was difficult to gain the necessary experience I needed to be competitive for the job I wanted. The Air Force requires that a minimum of two years full-time civilian ministry experience be completed in order to be considered for active duty. I had only one year of full-time experience, and getting the needed experience was a challenge. Second, my husband and I have recently switched roles. He now stays home with our son and finds ministry fulfillment in part-time opportunities, and I am the full-time minister. As I live and work in a world where our situation is unique, sometimes I find it difficult to remember that it is okay to be a mom, a wife, and career woman. In my military world, I am both an officer and a wife, but not an officer’s wife, which often confuses the social norms (even confuses me) as my husband and I try to make friends and become accustomed to our new world.
Who has inspired you in your ministry journey?
As I followed my call into ministry and eventually into the military, I found myself more and more inspired by the men who supported me and the women who were pioneers in arenas that where traditionally male dominated. I think it took a lot of courage to stand beside their sisters and help them fight for a place at the table. Today, I am inspired by the many chaplains that I work with who stand beside me in ministry, including some hold theological and personal beliefs that minimize women’s roles in ministry. Yet these chaplains support, encourage, and mentor me in my role as a new, young, female chaplain. I cannot write about the men who inspire me without mentioning my husband. He has graciously and courageously supported my call even though it has meant that he must put his full-time ministry aspirations to the side for the foreseeable future. For my husband and for all the men who have supported their wives, daughters, sisters, and co-ministers in their calls, I give thanks and pray that I can be so gracious and courageous.