Ashley Allen, a May doctor of philosophy graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was elected as the first director of Embrace women’s ministries at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) July 16.
The BSC Executive Committee unanimously elected Allen, who taught adjunctively in the women’s program two years at Southwestern while earning her degree. She will begin Aug. 1.
Chuck Register, executive leader for church planting and missions development who will supervise the work of Embrace, called Allen “delightful and energetic.”
He said Allen comes to women’s ministry “not from an event orientation, but from the biblical model of mentoring in Titus,” in which older women walk with younger women “to help them grow as followers of Christ.”
Allen based her doctoral thesis on study of women’s ministries in three Baptist state conventions.
She is a 2000 journalism graduate from the University of Texas, and earned a masters degree in Christian education from Southwestern in 2003.
She has worked in a book publishing firm, in communications at both a newspaper and a church, as a women’s ministry intern at First Baptist Church, Dallas, and as a corporate chaplain for Marketplace Ministries in Dallas.
She addressed the Executive Committee before they voted to elect her, and said her ministry philosophy is a three-legged stool of evangelism, discipleship and missions involvement.
She said she has heard women in North Carolina “want to share the Lord, but don’t know how.” She was encouraged by that desire because she said most women are afraid or have no desire to be a witness.
“These women are not afraid and have the desire, they just need the tools,” she said.
Responding to a question, Allen said she was familiar with the recent history of the Baptist State Convention and Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) and said Embrace does not replace WMU.
“What WMU does with missions education is necessary and needed,” Allen said. “Some of our churches have done away with missions education and that’s a great disservice. We’re producing children who have never heard the names of (mission pioneers) Lottie Moon or Annie Armstrong.
“Churches that have WMU and desire women’s ministry will be taught how they can work together and coincide. For those that have no WMU but want women’s ministry, they will be taught the need for missions involvement.”