Each Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features its blog series, THIS IS WHAT A MINISTER LOOKS LIKE and introduces you to an amazing woman minister. This week we are proud to introduce Julie Long, a member of Baptist Women in Ministry’s Leadership Team.
Julie, tell us about where you currently serve in ministry?
I am currently serving as associate pastor and minister of children and families at the First Baptist Church of Christ at Macon, Georgia.
What do you love best about your current ministry placement/role?
I love the variety of ministry experiences that I get to be involved in. I love really getting to know the children in our congregation and helping to make space for spiritual formation to happen with them and their families. I develop relationships church-wide in my pastoral care and work with committees and groups; I get to preach regularly; I enjoy being creative in leading initiatives in the life of our church. The most holy moments for me are being a part of the key moments of people’s lives—weddings, funerals, births, graduations, and other life moments.
What have been some of your “bumps in the road” as a woman minister?
Fortunately, I have not had many major bumps. The minor bumps or rubs have come from a lack of imagination, from people whose perspectives have not been broad or deep enough to see women in a role different than what they have been used to. Like the indigent woman who came to the church asking for assistance but would not accept it from me because she “didn’t believe in women ministers” (I assured her that we do exist). Or the gentleman who could not figure out who would be doing the baptism in the service because the male pastor was out of town. Because I have been in places that have been so affirming and supportive, these bumps have usually been mildly annoying rather than majorly disappointing.
What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?
At my ordination, I was told to “Be Julie.” My mentors and teachers have been important to who I am as a minister, but I cannot be them. I have to be myself and minister out of my own gifts and limitations. I am still figuring out what that means for me, but I try to remember that advice.