Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features an interview with an amazing minister on this blog. Today, we are thrilled to interview, Wyndee Holbrook. Wyndee IS what a minister looks like!
Wyndee, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.
As a five-year-old, I heard the story of Lottie Moon and knew serving Jesus as a Baptist missionary was my calling. I know that sounds a little crazy, but I did not waiver from that dream. Growing up in Louisville, KY, I always had my sights set on attending The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I was encouraged every step of the way by my home congregation, Ralph Avenue Baptist Church, and they sent me off to college with great expectations that I would follow in Lottie’s footsteps. But college taught me that the campus would be my “mission field,” and this course correction guided the first 21 years of my career.
I was fortunate to be assigned to a campus upon graduation with my MDiv, but not everyone was enthused about my placement at that small Baptist college in rural Kentucky. One young man quickly came to my office to explain, “I think there is a place for women in ministry, for instance women singers are OK. But God does not call women to be in authority over men and I cannot accept you as my minister.” I looked at him and simply responded, “Thank you for sharing, but I am not a singer. God called me here, and I’m going to stay.” The good news is so did he. He stayed active in the organization and we came to an understanding. I continued as campus minister there for the next eleven years, never being invited to any local church except my own. Obviously, my student was not alone in his opinion.
However, I was blessed with two outstanding mentors, fantastic colleagues, and a host of wonderful students both at my first and second campuses. I am often a little homesick for my campus ministry world, but as Southern Baptist life evolved, I knew I needed to find other ways to serve.
I was immensely blessed to work with young preachers from all across the nation in my role as Project Director and then Executive Director for the Academy of Preachers. The Academy of Preachers (AoP) included mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, and Evangelical young preachers who were all seeking to sharpen their preaching skills as they followed their calling in gospel ministry. Those years were an exciting time of expansion as I came to know and appreciate the spectrum of Christian tradition. Having moved from a lifetime in Kentucky to San Antonio, Texas in 2017, I now serve as Coordinator of the Interfaith San Antonio Alliance. I moved here with a sense of calling to expand my world, and just as the AoP expanded my understanding of the Christian world this experience provides rich experience understanding the universal value of faith. Additionally, I am interim pastor of Covenant Baptist Church, a loving congregation that has had as many women pastors as men!
What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?
The opportunity to be part of developing lives continues to be my greatest joy. At this point, I am blessed that by working with young adults for decades, many relationships that began with college freshman continue throughout the milestones in their lives. I love helping young adults think through their relationship with God and how they want to impact the world.
What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?
I’ve already mentioned the resistance I faced due to gender bias in my ministry, but I was expecting that. I think the greatest challenges come in the periods of the unknown. As I was discussing this with another Baptist woman in ministry, we agreed that we enjoyed our earlier years of relationship with God when God was more directive and things were more obvious. We concluded that you don’t need as much attention when your “grown” as when you’re a child. But that doesn’t take away the sense of loss when your relationship with God shifts, and the close parenting moves to a respectful distance.
What is the best ministry advice you have received?
Build and maintain a strong network. Ministry is challenging and it will always be important to have understanding folks in your life who can appreciate your unique role.
Rev. Wyndee E. Holbrook is the coordinator at the Interfaith San Antonio Alliance and interim pastor, at Covenant Baptist Church of Garden Ridge in San Antonia, Texas.