Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features a fabulous minister on this blog. This Friday we are pleased to introduce Annette Thornburg Owen. Annette IS what a minister looks like! 

Annette, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.  

I’m so grateful for the breadth and depth of experiences I’ve had on my ministerial journey up to this point. Along the way, I’ve been blessed with wonderful colleagues and wise mentors that have been sources of great help and encouragement. From growing up in an Assembly of God church to working with the youth group of a new church plant in West Virginia, I experienced the power of being loved by a community. From the small black church on the southside of Chicago where I interned as an M.Div. student, I learned how to listen to the prophetic witness of a congregation. From the large, predominately white congregation in Dallas that nurtures young ministers through a pastoral residency program, I was able to develop my gifts in a supportive environment. From my year as a hospital chaplain, I discovered a resiliency to live into the unknown. From the quirky church I co-pastored in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, I learned how to trust my gifts and try new things. And from all the patients and families I had the honor of journeying with as a hospice chaplain, I learned the power of being entrusted with someone’s story and holding silence when words are not enough. I carry all of these communities in my heart. I am so grateful for how they helped shape me as a minister and prepared me to pastor a beautiful group of people at Community Baptist Church in Warrenville, Illinois, where I’ve had the pleasure of ministering for almost two years now.

What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry? 

I love how no two days are ever the same. I love how there is a rhythm to this work but never a monotony. A beautiful worship experience gives me as much joy as the gift of someone sharing their story with me over a cup of tea. I love how ministry gives me the opportunity to learn and grow with a community as we help each other live into the fullness of life God desires for us.

 What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?

The greatest challenge I’ve encountered in ministry is battling my own inner demons that tell me I’m not good enough. Those little gremlins can be pretty harsh so I often need help discerning the difference between healthy self-reflection and damaging self-doubt.

What are some of your disciplines/practices that keep you healthy–physically, emotionally, spiritually? 

I love how this question acknowledges the fullness of what it means to be healthy. About a decade ago I started running a few times a week as a way to care for my body. Recently, I’ve also taken up swimming and strength training. Though they’re physical activities, moving my body helps me clear my mind and leaves me feeling strong. As a social person I also try to stay in contact with friends not connected with the church as a way to help me remember that I’m more than just a minister.