PLAINVIEW—A Texas Baptist leader among women in ministry challenged students at Wayland Baptist University to view themselves as Jesus sees them and moderated a panel discussion in which women described their journeys into ministry.
Anyra Cano, coordinator of Texas Baptist Women in Ministry, spoke in chapel at Wayland on Nov. 13 and led the panel discussion as part of an emphasis on women in ministry, hosted by the office of denominational and church relations.
Cano, the academic coordinator of the Christian Latina Leadership Institute and youth minister at Iglesia Bautista Victoria en Cristo in Fort Worth, urged students to view those whom society considers “the least” the way Jesus viewed them.
She pointed to the account in Matthew’s Gospel of the woman with an issue of blood who touched Jesus’ robe as he moved to visit Jairus’ daughter. Jesus not only delayed an opportunity to visit with an official to minister personally to a woman society deemed unclean, but also called her “daughter” and rewarded her faith with healing, Cano noted.
In the same way, Cano encouraged students to see themselves as sons and daughters of God as Jesus does, despite the barriers that may stand in their way, and to come to Jesus for that same healing.
Called to minister
Following chapel, a panel discussion featured five women from West Texas churches who discussed their stories of their call to ministry, what they are currently doing in ministry, and some of the challenges that they have faced.
Panelists included Stephanie Nash, retired associate pastor at Second Baptist Church in Lubbock; Anna Goetz, associate minister to students at First Baptist Church in Amarillo; Abby Manes, children’s and family minister at First Baptist Church in Muleshoe; Lori Brown, university and special needs pastor at First Baptist Church in Plainview; and Ginny Brewer-Boydston, assistant professor of Biblical studies at Wayland Baptist University.
Nash described being a part of a church that has affirmed the role of women in ministry for many years, even ordaining women as deacons and pastors. She spoke of her initial reluctance to assume a ministerial role doubting her own ability, although her church championed her call and encouraged her to stretch outside her comfort zone.
Manes described her journey in college pursuing a math and education degree to fully realizing her calling to ministry. She talked about the steps her church has taken to encourage her and to affirm her in that call. She recalled thinking being a teacher would be her only ministry route, but has found affirmation for her calling both in an internship while at Wayland and in her current role.
Brewer-Boydston took a little different path, realizing while preparing for and serving in ministry that she really enjoyed studying and teaching. She embraced that call and said she especially enjoys getting to mentor students who are in the process of discerning their calling and preparing for ministry.
Brown described the challenges of discerning her call and her journey that took her into the role of speech pathologist while her children were younger before beginning vocational ministry last year. Her experience dealing with special needs individuals as well as her years working with college students at her church and at Wayland perfectly prepared her for the ministry she is now doing, she noted.
“It’s been fun to see where God has brought me from that position of ‘this is something I enjoy doing’ to ‘this is something God is using me in,’” Brown said. “It’s cool to see how God has used my background in speech to prepare me for my current ministry.”
Goetz recalled feeling strongly called to ministry. She felt encouraged and affirmed in her home church but also worked at a Southern Baptist organization where she faced opposition as a woman in ministry. It was through seminary professors and encouragement from her current church that she has found support to nurture her call to minister to students.
Cano expressed both encouragement at the support area churches provide for women and the opportunity to partner with Wayland and provide resources for students preparing for ministry and others in the Panhandle/Plains area.
She mentioned that the mission of Texas Baptist Women in Ministry is to affirm the call, encourage and then advocate for women in ministry and that the group welcomes men to also take up that mantle.
“This was an important event for our female students to be encouraged and affirmed in God’s call to ministry. It was good for all of our students to see the roles that women can play in ministry and to see how God has gifted and called them to serve in our local churches,” said Donnie Brown, director of church and denominational relations and the Wayland Mission Center.
Based on information provided by the Wayland Mission Center.
Editor’s Note: The 13th paragraph was edited soon after it initially was posted to correct an error.