Why am I (still) a Baptist?
Published 9:54 am Thursday, June 6, 2013
Well, probably the main reason I am a Baptist is because my parents are Baptist and I was loved and accepted in that congregation.
While in seminary I was exposed to a variety of Christian traditions and began truly to consider and, at times, reconsider my theological stances as well as all the things I had been taught or “caught” during my formative years in church.
I grew up in a church that had women deacons and supported me unconditionally in my application process at seminary. I also served as a summer youth minister at two NC Baptist congregations during my college years. So I did not realize what a daunting task it would be for a female to find a place of service after graduation from seminary. As a result, I began to look for places to serve outside of Baptist congregations. For about 12 years I served in the United Methodist Church and I served almost 15 years in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I finally received the opportunity to serve a Baptist congregation in 2009 and today I am privileged to serve through the congregation of Tryon First Baptist.
As a Christian who happens to be a Baptist, the most important thing for me is to try to follow Jesus – to take seriously the things that Jesus took seriously. I strive to “love the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my being, with all my mind, and with all my strength and to love my neighbor as myself” (see Mark 12:29-31). The Baptist distinctives that are essential to me are soul competency, the priesthood of the believer (which for me also includes the priesthood of believers) and religious freedom (ie: separation of church and state).