Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing woman minister, and today we are pleased to introduce Stephanie Nash.

Tell us about your ministry journey–where have you served in the past and where are you currently serving in ministry?

My professional ministry journey began in the second half of life at the age of forty-seven when I was hired to serve as the pastor for adult education at Second Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas. Prior to that hiring, I had loved my twenty-five-year career as an advanced placement high school English teacher. I was licensed and ordained to pastoral ministry in 2002. Although my job description has changed through the past sixteen years, I am still serving here at Second Baptist, now as pastor for administration, education, and outreach. I was grateful to receive my M.Div. from Logsdon Seminary in December 2014 after ten years of study.

What have been some of the challenges you have faced in your ministry journey?

Challenges I have faced have included …

  • balancing home life with pastoral life demands
  • balancing seminary study with fulltime church staff demands
  • finding my way as a female minister in a very conservative culture.

Men who are pastors also struggle with the first two challenges listed–for time, energy, emotional investment–because we are all struggling with the same need: to keep Christ as the fulcrum of our “balancing acts.” The third challenge may be no different for female ministers than for other female professionals in predominantly male fields, but female ministers are often held to a different cultural standard within the church and/or denomination than are other professional women and may find that stained glass ceilings are harder to crack. I have been blessed to belong to a very supportive congregation that has been ordaining women to the pastoral ministry since 1982.

What do you love best about your ministry position?

Feeling “at home” in God’s call on my life.

Feeling blessed to offer pastoral care to the people I serve and love.

Feeling encouraged and empowered by others to explore my questions about God.

What advice would you give to a teenage girl who is in the process of discerning a call to ministry?

I would first ask her how she would feel if she could not follow her call into ministry. Does she find her call irresistible to follow? If so, then there really is no choice but to fall into the joy. Many times, I find myself thinking that if God did not speak to me again for the rest of my life, I would consider myself blessed and fortunate to have had this grand adventure.

Then I would advise her to “think BIG.” When my husband and I were considering the purchase of our first home, our financial adviser told us to buy the very biggest house we could imagine ever needing, assuring us that we would indeed need every square inch before we knew it. I think too often we think small with God, never daring to imagine what large dreams God has for us. When my ordination committee asked me if I thought I would ever go to seminary or preach, I laughed at the impossibility. I think that response came partially from my lack of exposure to women preachers and partially from my own diminished view of myself. To answer God’s call is to be ready for a wild ride into the land of “I never knew!”