By Jeffarah Gibson
Tribune Features Writer
AS the first woman ever to be named the National Baptist Director of Youth, Samantha Cartwright has had her work cut out for her over the last few months, working diligently to positively impact and develop the Bahamas’ youths.
Since taking the seat as director late last year, top on Mrs Cartwright’s agenda has been finding unique ways to see the National Baptist Convention’s theme of “Restoring, Renewing, Rebranding Youth” fully realised.
“We believe in the power of God to restore lives, and renew and rebrand our youth ministries. Bridging the gap between the Bahamas National Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention and the youth who are definitely the future of the convention,” she told Tribune Woman.
As the youth director, Mrs Cartwright’s responsibilities include organising and facilitating Baptist youth events inclusive of training, development, recreational and spiritual work. She has been in youth ministry for 25 years.
“Being the first in any position means that you have an opportunity to make a positive impact. Being female means that my innate maternal instincts can assist with doing a great work,” she said. “The first year is always the hardest; my predecessors have given me broad shoulders to stand on.”
While there are more women in leadership roles in the Church than several years ago, it is still a widely held belief that leadership is best suited to men.
This belief, however, goes against the inclusiveness of the gospel preached from the pulpits of Christian churches. As a result, the Church as a body has been seeing a shift, where women are filling roles that in the past only a man would. Mrs Cartwright is an example of that.
“Women by God’s design are to be the helpmate; women are the prayer warriors of the family and of the Church. This is powerful; we are carried on the wings of prayer, so women are the carriers. There is no limit for women in the Church – we will carry the world of God wherever, whenever and for whatever. Women are very actively filling the roles of leadership in the Church, and do so with grace, etiquette and the favour of the Lord,” Mrs Cartwright said.
Breaking down barriers and building bridges with women and the youth is of vital importance to Mrs Cartwright. As a matter of fact, she believes if the trend continues where young people continue to live their lives far from faith, having not been spiritually awakened, they may never discover their purpose or the reason they were created.
“The Church is not the building but instead the people are the Church. Most young people do not read their Bibles; they read our lives. We have to ensure that we are setting good, godly examples for them. We have to remind them that they are of a chosen generation handpicked by God. They were not created by mistake. God doesn’t make mistakes; he has purposely planned every moment of their lives. He has called us because we are young and strong and can go the extra mile to do his work,” she said.
Mrs Cartwright is a wife and mother of two daughters, one a former Miss Bahamas Universe.
She currently she manages the Schools/Tourism Cadet Unit of the Ministry of Tourism of Education. She is also a certified youth leader, has worked on various projects in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, and is a minister and youth director at New Lively Hope Baptist Church.