Each week Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing woman in ministry, and this week we are pleased to introduce Rhonda Blevins.
Rhonda, tell us about your current ministry.
I have been serving as the executive coordinator of the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship since August 2015. I was previously the associate coordinator for KBF from 2005 to 2007. I came back to KBF after serving in a local parish in Tennessee for about eight years. The focus of my ministry in Kentucky is building community among Kentucky Baptist churches and individuals.
What have been some of the challenges you have faced in your ministry journey?
When I think about challenges in ministry, I think about the last two years of my tenure as a campus minister. A crisis of faith prompted by personal loss happened at the same time that it was becoming clear that I could no longer remain in the denomination that had been my home since childhood. I was questioning biblical literalism, which was simultaneously frightening and freeing. My understanding of God was expanding. Though I wasn’t sure that I could stay in ministry given my questions, I was disappointed and angered by my denomination’s hard stance against women. Eventually, I lost my job as a campus minister, which was all I had imagined ever doing. Though not unexpected, it was a crushing blow. Within a few months, however, the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship took a chance on me. It’s difficult to express the new-found freedom I experienced within the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship family. I have found a home where my ordination is accepted, and I can practice a faith beyond bibliolatry.
What brings you great joy in life and ministry?
Given my personal journey, the greatest joy in my ministry is creating space for individuals to express their faith however compelled. That’s the beauty of CBF–the great diversity of thought and practice. It’s all about freedom. That’s a compelling vision for my ministry practice. On a more personal level, nothing brings me more joy than spending quality time with my family and friends.
How do you keep yourself healthy–spiritually and physically?
Because I crave diversity of experience, I am not one to adopt rigid routines. I used to get down on myself about that. While others can pray every day at 6 a.m. and run every day for years on end, that’s not me. I have discovered a number of ways to stay physically and spiritually healthy, and I like to mix it up. So I can tell you what I’m doing lately, but ask me in a couple of months and it will probably be different! So right now I’m using the “Couch to 5k” app with the hopes to run a 5k in the spring, and I’m picking back up a fledgling yoga practice. Yoga, for me, combines spiritual and physical health into one exercise. Spiritual practice right now also includes reading Grounded by Diana Butler Bass in the evening and practicing contemplative prayer in the morning. I have a ministry coach–meeting with my coach helps me maintain balance and stay healthy.