Women's Ministry Networks

Arkansas Baptists Women Growing Together!

Arkansas Baptists Women’s Ministry Networks offer an opportunity for leaders to gather in regional groups to share ideas, discuss strategy, and get to know one another. The goal is to help grow a strong network of leaders who offer friendship and serve as a resource and encouragement to one another. 

Our desire is to cultivate relationships among women who lead in the local church as we connect, equip, support, and encourage women's ministry leaders in each region of the state. If you would like to get connected to your region, contact Arkansas Baptists Women's Network Coordinator, Shari Edwards! 

We are excited about opportunities to connect in 2023! Our next Network Gathering will be October 12.

Network Coordinator: Shari Edwards

Shari has been involved in Women's Ministry leadership across Arkansas for several years. In the fall of 2022, Shari joined the Arkansas Baptists Women’s leadership team in a new role created to serve you! Shari is serving as our Network Coordinator. 

Shari has been active in Women’s Ministry leadership for over 20 years and currently serves as Adjunct Instructor of Ministry to Women at Ouachita Baptist University. She also serves as a Lifeway Women Trainer. Shari is a wife of 35 years to her college sweetheart, mother of 3 sons and a beautiful daughter-in-law, and “Sibby” to 2 precious granddaughters. She resides in North Little Rock and is an active member of Park Hill Baptist Church.

Shari is leading our networking effort and is here to help leaders across Arkansas get connected with resources and one another. Email Shari at sharibeth@sbcglobal.net with networking questions and needs! Stay tuned to this page for posts and resources about our Networking process! Thank you, Shari, for loving and serving Arkansas Baptist Women!


Network Leaders

We are excited to introduce you to our amazing Network Team, who each serve in various regions of our state. These are women who are in the trenches with you, who live in your communities, and who have a heart to see women thrive in their relationship with God and each other.

If you are a Women’s Ministry leader, make sure to connect with the network leader in your area.  Our Network Leaders are ready and eager to serve you!

Shelly Chandler

Shelly is married to Michael Chandler, and lives in Conway, Arkansas, with her three boys and her two boy dogs. She is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where she received a master's degree in theological studies. Shelly has served at the local level within her church as the Women's Ministry Director and has served as a past program coordinator for the Inspire Women's Conference for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

Shelly has a passion for women to know God through His Word: “God has gifted me with a burden for everyone who comes under my teaching to walk away with a passion for His Word.”

Shelly loves serving the women in the Conway region and would love to connect with you! Register for this Network Gathering in February and connect with her at shellmchand@gmail.com!

Nancy Lambert

Nancy is born and raised in NW Ohio, but has called Texarkana, AR her home since she married Kevin Lambert, (the boy next door) 37 years ago. They are wonderfully blessed with 2 adult children and their daughter in-law. Nancy is currently employed in administration at Texarkana

College. In recent years, Nancy served as a volunteer women’s ministry leader and employed as the assistant the lead pastor at Beech Street FBC in Texarkana. She was also employed as an assistant to the Adult Discipleship pastor at First Baptist Rogers during their 3-year time there.

Nancy has served in women’s ministries leadership in local Arkansas Baptist churches for over 25 years including WMU. She currently serves as a volunteer on the Women’s Ministry Team at Foundation Baptist Church, Texarkana.

Nancy’s passion to serve in women’s ministries began within the first decade of her walk with Jesus Christ. Nancy says: “God impressed upon my heart the desire to encourage women of all ages that we are a complex but beautifully woven tapestry of God’s creation. Every woman is unique and possesses a special gift that only Jesus can give regardless of our past or present circumstances. My desire is to equip women’s ministry leaders with the tools needed to share the love of Christ, love God, and love others. My goal is to be supportive in revitalizing existing women’s ministries and helping to build new ones in the SW Arkansas region.

Fun Fact: Nancy started a podcast called “Best Faith Forward” in 2021, and hopes to continue soon in presenting stories of faith and giving God our best even when we are faced with daily challenges and temptations living in a troubled world.

If you are women’s ministry leader in the Southwest Arkansas region, Nancy would love to connect with you! You can contact her at nancy.lambert921@gmail.com

Shannon Calhoun.

We invite you to get to know Shannon Calhoun. Shannon is a wife, a mom of two daughters, and a Hunny to her precious granddaughter! She loves her church, the Church at Rock Creek in Little Rock where she serves on staff as Women’s Ministry Director. Game nights with family and friends are her favorite. She loves slow mornings with coffee, early mornings near the ocean, Christmas movies, and outdoors in the fall!

You can catch Shannon’s personal testimony on a past episode of Inspire on the Go podcast-it's a powerful example of how God moves in the lives of everyday women. Shannon says she has a desire “to cultivate real community and strong friendship in our network group so we can unite together in wisdom and truth to encourage our women inside our local churches. I want it to be a safe group to ask questions and share ideas so we can then go into our local churches refreshed and strengthened to better equip our women.”

If you are a women’s ministry leader in the Greater Little Rock/Central Arkansas Metro region, Shannon would love to connect with you! You can contact her at scalhoun@churchatrockcreek.com


Christy Leake

Christy lives in Wynne in Eastern Arkansas with her husband, Jason, and two teenage daughters and mom. As the owner of Redeem + Restore, a creative business collective that develops, coaches and launches creative businesses and the graphic designer at Star Printing in Wynne, Christy's passion is to make disciples through the marketplace.

Christy teaches women and teenage girls at Wynne Baptist and serves alongside her husband in numerous ministry opportunities. “Our passion is for Wynne and the Delta of Eastern Arkansas. We love the small church and rural communities. We long to see them thrive spiritually and economically. We use our creative gifts and talents to help people not only see their potential lived out economically but also spiritually. We would love to help any church grow and revitalize their efforts to make disciples based on the church's unique setting.”

If you are a women’s ministry leader or serve women in the Wynne/Forrest City/East AR region, Christy would love to connect with you! You can contact her at cnjleake@gmail.com.

Traci Smith

Traci is wife to Ron, and mom to son Alex and daughter-in-law Amanda, and daughter Allison. Traci is a member of Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro and serves on the Women’s Ministry Leadership team. She is involved in Women’s Discipleship and is a Bible Study teacher. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in theological studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She enjoys playing piano, cooking, studying, gardening, and working out.

Traci grew up in a small church and loves the dynamics and community found there. Now as a member of a large church, her heart’s desire is to see women’s ministry in churches of all sizes come together in support of one another.

Several years ago, Traci was invited to be part of a D-group pilot program at her church and was hesitant at first. In her own words, Traci says, “Growing up on a healthy diet of women’s bible study, the thought of just my Bible, a journal, memorizing scripture, and praying with a small group of women didn’t seem as exciting. Reluctantly, I said yes. It is a ‘yes’ that has changed my life. It has changed the way I interact with God’s Word and has created a community of women committed to Bible study and the discipline of being in His Word consistently. Most of all, it has birthed a passion in me to lead all of our women to this lifegiving practice.”

Traci says she is looking forward to meeting the women of her region who are serving the women in their churches. “I pray that I pray our network is a gathering net for women’s ministry leaders and a source of information, encouragement, and support.”

If you are a women’s ministry leader in the Jonesboro/Northeast AR region, Traci would love to connect with you! You can contact her at tracibsmith1@gmail.com.

Janet Porter

Janet Porter and her husband Jack have been married for 53 years and live in Hot Springs. They have 3 children and 10 grandchildren. Janet is a member of First Baptist Church in Hot Springs and she serves as the co-leader of Women’s Ministry, as well as the Rising Prayer Ministry.

Janet is also a past Teaching Leader of Bible Study Fellowship Evening Women’s Class. She loves attending exercise classes at FBC Fitness and spending time with her grandchildren.

Her passion for ministering to women is to equip them in their knowledge & love for God

& His Word that leads to serving Him wherever He may call them. If you are a women’s ministry leader in the Hot Springs area, Janet would love to connect with you! You can contact her at janetporter8@gmail.com.

Cheryl Toon

Cheryl is the Network Leader in the Batesville, North Central area. She is the wife of Ronnie Toon, Independence Baptist Associational Missions Director. She is the mother of three children and grandmother (Pippa) of 5 grandchildren. She is currently a high school English teacher and serves as the IBA Women’s Ministry Team Leader. She is also a member First Baptist Church, Batesville, AR, but travels to the other churches in the association with her husband.

Cheryl has been a conference leader and speaker for 30 years and has a passion for leading and encouraging others to grow into a deeper walk with God. If you are a women’s ministry leader in the Batesville, North Central AR area, Cheryl would love to connect with you! You can contact her at ctoon@aol.com.


Betsy Stivers

Betsy grew up as an MK (missionary kid) in the Philippines. She met her husband, Thomas, at Ouachita Baptist University. Through his job they have lived in a lot of places: from Arkansas to California to South Carolina to Kansas to Indiana to Tennessee and back now to Arkansas!

They have four daughters and six grandchildren. The Stivers have always found a good church home and have served in a variety of areas to help build the body of Christ. Betsy says: “Working with women and building up women are special opportunities I have enjoyed. I am honored to work alongside Arkansas women for the Kingdom.”

If you are a women’s ministry leader in the South Arkansas region, Betsy would love to connect with you! You can contact her at betsy.stivers.4@gmail.com.

Emily Watson

Emily serves as Director of Connections & Ministry to Women at her local church, East Side, in Fort Smith, which also happens to be her home church since 1996. She provides oversight to ministry to women, guest services, new member assimilation, and next steps. She has served in various capacities for the past ten years and was on staff at a local crisis pregnancy center prior to that. 

She and her husband, Travis, have been married almost five years and serve as a current open home through Connected Foster Care, having served a total of 10 children as a couple and as a single before marriage.  

A young leader herself, Emily is a firm believer in the generations, eliminating obstacles, and figuring out how we can serve and disciple better together. All of this being molded from life experience and the examples of women who have discipled her. 

If you are a women’s ministry leader in the Fort Smith region, Emily would love to connect with you! You can contact her at emily@myeastsidetv.com