Baptist World Alliance, BWA News Release

Baptist World Alliance Women Appoints New Executive Director

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(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – October 27, 2021)

Following a global search and interview process, Baptist World Alliance Women (BWAW) has appointed J. Merritt Johnston to serve as the ministry’s executive director. She will begin her service in this part-time executive level role on November 1 while continuing to provide oversight for Communications and Media for the Baptist World Alliance.

Johnston has served in ministry leadership roles for more than 20 years, including the formation of a nonprofit while in college, providing care as a hospital chaplain, guiding communications for a seminary, serving with an international broadcast ministry, and shepherding women as the women’s minister at a multi-site church.

Baptist World Alliance Women Appoints New Executive Director

“Words cannot express how honored and excited I am to step into the storied history of BWA Women – a community sharing the Gospel, responding in times of need, and standing for human rights in more than 140 countries and territories,” Johnston said. “The past bears witness to the power of women serving the Lord together, and I look forward to what God has in store as we further our mission to network women to impact the world for Christ.”

The appointment follows a global search led by an international committee that included Karen Wilson (BWAW President), Elijah Brown (BWA General Secretary), Karlene Edwards-Warrick (President of the Caribbean Baptist Women’s Union – CBWU), and Lynn Green (General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain).

“There are times in leadership when you sense God providing in ways that far exceed your hopes and dreams. The appointment of Merritt Johnston as the new Executive Director for Baptist World Alliance Women is one of those times,” said Wilson. “This role brings a global responsibility, and Merritt is extremely passionate about standing with women in every culture to see them thrive. I am personally excited about the opportunity of working alongside Merritt as she serves women all over the world and as God uses her to bring vision and leadership in this space.”

Moreen Sharp, BWAW Interim Executive Director, has been instrumental in leading BWAW since 2017 and is facilitating a smooth transition through a series of onboarding initiatives.

“Having worked with Merritt as a BWA team member leading up to this point, I have come to deeply appreciate her – not only as a team member and colleague but as a friend. She has a wonderful team spirit, a gracious attitude, is very industrious, and amazingly gifted,” said Sharp. “Add that to her deep heart for God and her pastoral and caring heart for women, and I know we have a wonderful woman stepping into this role. She will take BWA Women up to a whole new level, and I am blessed to be able to pray for her as she continues this great work of helping women thrive around the world.”

Johnston holds a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, both from Grace School of Theology; and a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication/Journalism, Performance Studies, and Psychology from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, located in Texas, USA. She is married to Jeremy, and they have three children.

“With more than 20 years of experience in leading, teaching, coaching, and collaborating with women and ministry leaders in countries around the world, Merritt lives a deep walk with Jesus Christ with a passionate calling and a spirit of high capacity servant leadership,” said Brown. “She will build upon the historic BWA Women’s legacy in Holy Spirit listening, deepening community, and strategically building partnerships that share the Gospel and strengthen women around the world.”

To learn more about BWA Women, visit


Introducing the BWA Women Director

After a global search, J. Merritt Johnston has been appointed to serve as Executive Director of Baptist World Alliance Women. To view an introductory video, visit our BWA YouTube Channel or click the image above.

The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 253 conventions and unions in 130 countries and territories comprising 51 million baptized believers in 176,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.

Media Contact:
J. Merritt Johnston
Director of Communications & Media
Email: [email protected]