Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister. Today we are pleased to introduce Emily Holladay.

Emily, tell us about your current ministry. 

I am associate pastor for children and families at Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. My church is home to many great Baptist women ministers, including Susan Reed and Reba Cobb, and my church is happily situated in my hometown! I moved back to Louisville in September 2014 and have enjoyed getting to know this congregation and setting forth a vision to propel our ministry with families forward. Before I started at Broadway, I worked in communications at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and am excited to be able to use that experience to help Broadway with their communications efforts in addition to my other responsibilities.

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

I would say that the most difficult words I’ve heard in my journey are “you can’t.” I have never been one to hold myself back, always assuming I could do anything I wanted to do, but I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who want to tell me “you can’t do that.” I have had people tell me that I can’t minister because I am a woman, I can’t minister to children because I’m not a parent, and I can’t be a leader because I’m too young. Some of these people are the same people who raised me to believe that “I can.”

The hardest part of my journey so far has been reminding myself that I can. I am so grateful to be a part of a congregation that wholeheartedly affirms my calling and the callings of all people. I feel like I’ve been given the chance to flourish and grow in the best type of environment!

What brings you great joy in life and ministry?

So many things! I love to read and can’t believe that I have a job that encourages READING! I love writing, preaching, teaching, playing music, and spending time with my dog, Sookie. But if I had to name one thing that brings me greatest joy, it would be walking alongside people in this journey of life–both children and adults. The children I work with have an infectious way of reminding me that God has a big imagination, and they gives great hugs! Their parents and the other adults in the church love a good conversation and love to be challenged. I get so much joy from sharing life with them, dreaming together with them, and encouraging them as they encourage me to live the way God has called us to live.

Who has inspired you along the way as you pursued your calling?

My life is chalk full of people who have and continue to inspire me. From Julie Pennington-Russell to Pam Durso, I couldn’t have better mentors to teach me how to respond to God’s call every day–even when life is difficult. I am constantly inspired by these women and the ways that they truly fought for themselves and for the right to be who God called them to be. They teach me every day how to be faithful and patient, how to approach everyone with grace, and how to pay attention to the ways God is working around me.

But I would be remiss if I did not include my dad as one of the biggest inspirations on my life. My father is a Baptist pastor, also living in Louisville, Ky. In addition to his constant affirmation of me and my sister growing up, Dad mentored many students in Louisville before Baptist life took a different shape in the town. I grew up watching him live passionately, even when it cost him a job. When CBF started, he was one of the first to get on board, helping to create a space where his daughters could be ministers and where countless others could live out their faith as they saw fit. Even today, he continues to fight for what he believes in and shows me what a minister looks like.