For Traci Jackson and her mother, Nancy Cornett, leadership is what you might call a family affair.
Jackson and Cornett are both longtime members of the Alabama Association of Baptist Secretaries. Jackson is president of the organization, a position also held by her mother from 2008 to 2009.
Both women also share a professional connection with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.
“My mother started working for [SBOM] in 1999 and worked for 19 years,” Jackson recalled. “In 2009 I was looking for a job, and Mother suggested I apply for an opening at SBOM. To my surprise, I was hired.”
As a result of that job, which she held until 2014, Jackson joined AABS. Membership is open to those who work or volunteer in an administrative capacity at a Baptist church or entity, Jackson said.
“I attended my first Alabama Association of Baptist Secretaries (conference) and was so lost that first year,” she remembered. “I didn’t know what to expect. I never expected to be in that same place my mother was as president 14 years later.”
‘Jesus at the center’
Jackson is now a ministry assistant at Taylorville Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, where she has worked since 2017. She understands the highs and lows of working for a church and the great responsibility the role entails. The same is true for the leadership role in AABS, she said.
“I know that God is in control, but I’m still afraid I will mess something up in some way,” she admitted. “I am just trying to keep my focus on the Lord and move forward in the best way I know how, keeping Him at the center of everything we do. I count it an honor and a privilege to have been chosen as president.”
Jackson began her term in March and will serve through March of 2023.
She admitted being AABS president has changed her life in many ways, but life lessons have come from several avenues.
She has been married to her husband, Irby, for 24 years and has served alongside him at several churches, including his current role as interim youth minister at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Coker, where they are members.
As the mother of twin girls, Jackson gained leadership skills while president of the Montgomery Multiples Club more than five years. She understands that being willing to serve and “move out of our comfort zone” is vital to Christian service.
“I had wonderful mentors. I’ve had many older women who were more experienced in the ministry who have helped me over the obstacles.”
AABS will celebrate its 60th anniversary at its annual conference, scheduled for March 5–8, 2023, at Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega. Rita Sweatt will be the guest speaker. She will focus on the story of Hagar, who was cast aside and felt unloved and unappreciated, yet God saw and heard her.
“I think the majority of ministry assistants have been there and felt that way at some point in their ministry,” Jackson said, “and we need to be reminded that God still sees us and cares for us too. The work that we do for the Lord does matter!”
“We are excited for the encouragement and refreshing renewal that Rita will bring us from God’s word!”