Cultivate conference at Southeastern trains women to be missional leaders


WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Southeastern Seminary welcomed more than 450 women on campus last week for its annual Cultivate women’s leadership conference designed to help women discern their callings, grow in faithfulness to God and his word, and lead out as disciple makers. This year’s theme was missional leadership, encouraging and equipping women to leverage their lives to make disciples in their contexts.

The Great Commission mandate to go and make disciples calls every believer into a life of missional living — a life of surrender to Jesus in pursuit of their neighbors and the nations. That is why Southeastern is committed to training women leaders and why Southeastern celebrates the unique role every Christian woman plays in the mission of God.

Embodying this commitment and vision, Southeastern’s Cultivate conference recognizes the value of gathering Christian women to be equipped and encouraged as disciple makers. As Candi Powers, women’s life coordinator at Southeastern, notes,

“The Cultivate conference is an important and needed time of training and mobilization, inviting ladies from around the country who are invested in ministry to come together for worship, fellowship, encouragement, and learning from God’s word.”

Challenging attendees to live on mission and lead other women on mission, this two-day conference featured talks from Bible teachers and authors Jacki King, Elizabeth Woodson, and Julia Higgins as well as a panel discussion and breakouts with other women who are missional leaders in their contexts.

On Friday, Julia Higgins, assistant professor of ministry to women and director of women’s degree programs at Southeastern, taught on how to discern a call to missional living. Drawing from 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, Higgins reminded attendees that Jesus and their identity in him should fuel their resolve to serve Jesus and guide them as they discern their call to ministry.

“The best motivators for ministry are understanding Christ’s love for us, who we are in Christ, and the ministry that we’ve been given for Christ,” noted Higgins.

Higgins also challenged attendees to marvel at the reality that God is writing a story of reconciliation with Jesus at the center and with believers like them as ambassadors.

Following Higgins’ session, attendees enjoyed a panel discussion on how to grow as missional leaders and how to take practical steps toward leveraging everyday rhythms and relationships to make disciples. Later that evening, attendees also shared in a time of fellowship and connection before choosing from one of several breakouts designed to help attendees live missionally at church, in the home, at work, and in society.

During breakfast on Saturday, attendees heard about opportunities for continuing their education at Southeastern to be equipped for ongoing Great Commission ministry. They also learned about Southeastern’s heart for training women to think biblically and live missionally to make an eternal impact on their families, their neighbors, and the nations.

Throughout the day, attendees enjoyed additional breakouts and two more main sessions led by Elizabeth Woodson and Jacki King, both of whom challenged them to grow as missional leaders who teach and enable other women to live on mission.

Every other year, the Cultivate conference offers women an opportunity to be refreshed by God’s word and to be equipped in community as Great Commission leaders. It is Southeastern’s prayer that this time together enables women to serve more faithfully in their callings and to obey more passionately Jesus’s command to make disciples.

“The Cultivate conference is important because it gives women who are serving in our churches a chance to explore topics unique to their specific callings and ministries,” commented Powers. “As ladies come together for a weekend like this, they leave encouraged that they are not alone in their desire to invest in the Church. This fits perfectly with the mission of Southeastern to equip students to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission.”

To stay up to date on upcoming women’s events or learn how Southeastern is equipping women to use their gifts to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission, visit