Jennifer Louisa Carner
J. Wesley Carner and Brenda Finney Carner's Youngest Daughter
Jennifer Carner -Lead Executive Pastor
On September 14, 2017, The House of Hope Atlanta added a significant footnote to its history when Pastor Jennifer Carner was announced as the ministry’s new Lead Executive Pastor.
This appointment by Dr. E. Dewey Smith, Jr., marks the first time in the church’s 141-year history that a woman has been tapped to serve as the Lead Executive Pastor – overseeing all day to day operations.
Prior to Pastor Carner being named Lead Pastor, both Dr. Smith and his predecessor, Rev. H. F. Shepherd, selected women to serve in key positions such as Director of Ministry Operations, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Christian Education. What sets this appointment apart is that it marks the first time that a woman will have oversight with making sure that all of the ministry’s endeavors, ministry planning and business ventures are undertaken with consideration from pastoral, biblical and business perspectives.
Dr. Smith said of Pastor Carner, “I’ve been blessed to watch Pastor Jennifer grow from a child into the powerhouse she is today! One of the high honors of my ministry was having the blessed privilege of ordaining her into ministry almost 10 years ago. Pastor Jennifer is one of the most astute communicators of God’s Word! In the words of the old preachers, she has ‘both the learning and the burning.’ She is uniquely gifted with the ability of ministering in a plethora of ministry settings! She can preach and teach in any environment!”
Pastor Carner moves into this role at a time when many within the evangelical community still point to and interpret certain scriptures to restrict the roles of women in ministry. The Scripture that is most often cited as teaching that pastoring and church leadership is for men only is 1 Timothy 2:11-12: “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (NIV). Similarly, in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Paul says, “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” (NIV)