Chris Adams, outgoing senior lead women’s ministry specialist at LifeWay, was honored during Southwestern Seminary’s chapel service, Feb. 23, for her 22 years of influencing and impacting women’s ministry in the Southern Baptist Convention. The recognition was in conjunction with the 22nd meeting of the Seminary Women’s Network (SWN) on the Southwestern campus.

Adams joined the staff of LifeWay Christian Resources (then the Baptist Sunday School Board) in 1994. She was hired by then-President of LifeWay Jimmy Draper (who served as Southwestern’s chapel speaker, Feb. 23).

Terri Stovall, dean of women’s programs at Southwestern, says Adams was hired at a time when women’s ministry was just beginning to grow in local churches. “She quickly recognized the need to train the women leading these ministries in the churches,” Stovall says. “During the next 22-plus years, she tirelessly invested in the lives of countless leaders, used her influence at Lifeway to keep a focus on training leaders, and has been a valuable partner with the six SBC seminaries.”

“Today, we honor Chris as she completes her time at Lifeway, retiring from her position as senior lead women’s ministry specialist,” Stovall said. “We, the women of the Seminary Women’s Network, are grateful for the impact she has had on woman-to-woman training before many of us had formal academic programs, spurring us on to do even more. She is a friend, a co-laborer, and a faithful servant to the Kingdom.”

Adams was presented with a gift basket and a book of letters from the six seminaries and other agencies of the SBC by Southwestern President Paige Patterson. Acknowledging that there was a time when few opportunities existed for women to receive ministry training, Patterson said, “We have since come to our senses and realized that females have a tremendous contribution to make to the work of the Savior, and you have demonstrated that in a rather remarkable way at Lifeway.

“We wanted to put together this little book for you in order to say from the bottom of our hearts that we thank Dr. Draper for hiring you and we thank you for hanging in there and doing a great job. And as you read them, be assured that they represent our love and appreciation.”

The SWN traces its roots to the first annual Women’s Leadership Consultation (WLC) in 1990, which was started by Southwestern faculty member Monte Clendenning and held on the Southwestern campus. In 1995, the first SWN meeting was held in conjunction with the WLC at Midwestern Seminary. Adams has participated in all but one year of WLC and SWN over the past 27 years.

Those attending the SWN this year included: Ann Iorg, Alicia Wong and Denise Matthews of Gateway Seminary; Rhonda Kelley and Courtney Veasey of New Orleans Seminary; Denise O’Donoghue of Southeastern Seminary; Laura Harper of the Woman’s Missionary Union; Chris Adams and Kelly King of Lifeway; Lori McDaniel of the International Mission Board; and Dorothy Kelley Patterson, Terri Stovall and Candi Finch of Southwestern Seminary.