Baptist Women in Ministry currently has 125 individuals, churches, and organizations that give monthly to our work. We would love to have 140 monthly supporters, and we hope to add fifteen more donors to our giving list! Monthly gifts provide dependable income for Mentoring Program! Small monthly gifts of $10 or $20 or larger monthly gifts of $50 or $75 make a significant difference! Read Julie’s story about how important the Mentoring Program has been for her, and join her in giving monthly to BWIM!

A while back, Nathan Kirkpatrick wrote an article for Faith and Leadership at Duke Divinity in which he told the story of his first Sunday as a church intern. The ministers in the congregation robed for worship, and Nathan found himself borrowing a robe from the handful of donated ones in the church sacristy. He was self-conscious about how it fit him the whole service. At the conclusion of the worship hour, he was approached by a retired bishop in the congregation who acknowledged that it was good to see his old robe back in the pulpit again. As Nathan stumbled over himself, embarrassed and humbled, the bishop assured him, ““Son, it’s OK. We all start in borrowed robes before we find our own.”

All ministers, in those early days, start with borrowed robes–literal ones, sometimes, but also metaphorical ones. Baptist Women in Ministry’s Mentoring program provides a space for new ministers and pastors to grow into their own robes, to walk alongside others on the journey as find their own voices and ways of being. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most as a mentor for the program is watching the growth in confidence, wisdom, and identity happen in just a short period of time for a minister trying on her new role. These groups offer encouragement and support and resources, but more than that, they are the start of life-giving relationships–the kind of relationships necessary to sustain a life in ministry. Eventually, these ministers put their borrowed robes back into the closet as they find the one that fits them just right.

Julie Long is minister of children and families at First Baptist Church of Christ, Macon, Georgia. She will join BWIM’s staff on September 17 as associate director.