Get to Know Donna Barrett
This article was adapted from Trailblazer & Servant – By Christina Quick (first published in Influence magazine Issue 18 – July-Aug 2018)
On June 1, 2018, Donna Barrett began her term as general secretary of the Assemblies of God, becoming the first woman to serve on the Executive Leadership Team.
The Ohio native’s selection demonstrates that the Fellowship’s egalitarian stance toward women in ministry extends even to the highest levels.
Concerning this opportunity Donna shared, “I have a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for our general superintendent, Doug Clay, and our 21-member Executive Presbytery for making this move toward helping our Church be more relevant from the leadership table.”
While Bro. Clay says Donna’s selection was not based on her gender, he acknowledges this is a historic occasion in the AG.
“I know this moment will be meaningful for many women who feel God’s calling on their lives,” Clay says.
Donna succeeded James Bradford, who resigned his post to serve as full-time lead pastor of Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri.
Donna’s faith journey began in 1975, when she accepted Christ as Savior and experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit as a teenager at Highway Tabernacle Assembly of God in Youngstown, Ohio.
As a young adult, Donna spent time working at a law office as a paralegal, while volunteering as a lay leader in her church. When she sensed God calling her to ministry, she pursued credentials through Global University, becoming an Assemblies of God licensed minister in 1988 and ordained in 1999.
“As Pentecostals, we’re awakened through the Scriptures to the reality that the Holy Spirit --- pours out on both men and women --- gives gifts, including the gift of leadership. If we neglect to open doors of opportunity, we are stifling the activity of the Holy Spirit.”
As a church planter who led a congregation of just over 100, Donna brings valuable experience and perspective to her post.
“Not only do I identify with 25 percent of our ministers who are women, but I identify with our small-church pastors, which is the larger number of our pastors,” she says.
Donna hopes her presence on the Executive Leadership Team will encourage other women in the Assemblies of God to consider serving in church leadership positions.
To women stepping out to follow a call to ministry, Donna adds,
“Be faithful. Walk through whatever doors God opens for you, even it it’s scary. Participate actively, serve where invited. Honor your male colleagues and leaders as unto the Lord, and don’t have a chip on your shoulder. Work hard, be a lifelong learner, and take advantage of whatever training opportunities are before you.”
Donna wants people to know her not just as a trailblazer for women leaders, but as a faithful servant to this diverse Fellowship and the kingdom of God. One of her favorite passages of Scripture is 1 Corinthians 1:3-4. She paraphrases it this way: “With the same grace you’ve received, turn and help others.”
When asked what she would like to be known for, Donna answered, “I want to be a prayerful, humble servant who helps the Church bring glory to God. Our superintendent, Doug Clay, has vision that I look forward to helping carry out.”
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