By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN — Donna Blaydes readily admits that it is hard for her to use that two-letter word — no — especially when it comes to serving her Lord.
As a result, Blaydes was excited to accept a new assignment with the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board to go with her role as childhood specialist. Beginning in March, Blaydes is now the TBMB’s childhood/women’s ministry specialist.
She noted that TBMB leaders were looking for someone to be a resource for women throughout the convention.
Since she already worked with women in her role as childhood specialist and in her former role as minister of children and church family discipleship at New Hopewell Baptist Church in Knoxville, Blaydes was an obvious candidate for the position.
Blaydes joined the TBMB staff as a childhood specialist on a part-time basis in 2016. She moved to a full-time role in 2020, just about the time COVID-19 impacted the world.
Though a busy schedule has gotten busier, Blaydes is enjoying her new assignment. Women’s ministry is an important area within the church, she affirmed.
Blaydes has hit the ground running. She attended the Woman’s Missionary Union’s Missions Get-Together in early April and shared her vision for the new ministry.
While some may see WMU and women’s ministry as competitors, Blaydes is adamant that the two ministries complement each other. “Women’s ministry and WMU are not competitors,” she stressed. Blaydes is excited about partnering with Vickie Anderson and WMU because she believes “missions has to be a part of the equation when we look at women’s ministry,” she said.
Blaydes also has a desire to bring women who are in staff positions across churches in Tennessee together in each grand division so they can begin networking together and building relationships. She noted there is (an active) network for primarily larger churches in Middle Tennessee, and she would like to see similar networks in each grand division, including networks for smaller churches.
She wants to be a resource for churches to help equip the women in their churches for different aspects of ministry.
Bible study is an important component of women’s ministry,” Blaydes maintained. What’s more, Bible study can be adapted for any size church, from larger simulcast messages from well-known speakers to 12-week studies to small groups of three to five women “who can bear one another’s burdens,” she said.
Other elements of effective women’s ministry include prayer, fellowship and missions/service, she said.
Blaydes said her desire is to encourage churches to establish prayer groups for women so they can fervently pray. “They can share their hearts and struggles and know that their group will pray to the Father on their behalf.”
She also is eager to help churches consider how they are reaching women in their community. Do they have a strategy? “These are the kind of things I want to help churches consider. I want to be a resource for them,” she said.
Blaydes is excited about her new opportunities and is looking forward to connecting with women’s ministry leaders in our churches. She believes this ministry is vital and is willing to do what it takes to help women throughout the convention in addition to her role in children’s ministry.
“Godly women need each other,” she maintained. For example, mothers of preschoolers need to be able to talk with older women who have been through what they are going through now, she noted. They can share stories and be encouragers to the younger moms, she added.
Blaydes is available to churches and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. “I am excited about focusing on women’s ministry.” B&R