Baptist South President Nicole Thomas will give the keynote address at the third annual Women’s in Ministry Brunch, Saturday, March 24th, hosted by the Promise and Praise Radio. Mrs. Thomas says that faith has served an integral part of her career. In 2016, when Baptist Health System named her hospital president, she not only became the first women in the position but also the first African-American to be a hospital president for Baptist. As important as her job is, Mrs. Thomas says that keeping her relationship with the Lord front and center is paramount. As a child, she was introduced to God, and as an adult she has focused on developing that relationship and seeking His guidance.

Raised by her grandparents in Houston, Texas, Mrs. Thomas honed her leadership skills in Girls in Action at South Park Baptist Church. She was the first girl to earn the highest badge. Mrs. Thomas attended a magnet high school focused on professions in health care. From there she went on to major in public health at the University of New Orleans and earn a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of North Carolina.

Although blessed, Mrs. Thomas believes that we grow closer to go God through hardships. When her nineteen-year-old brother was murdered in Houston, Texas, she clung to her church family at Crossroads Christian Ministries in Texas. As a way to deal with her grief, she turned to service, leading the infant and toddlers’ ministries at her church. Mrs. Thomas learned she must depend on God because He is the only constant. She says that we “must rely on faith and remember God works for good in all things.”

“As important as her job is, Mrs. Thomas says that keeping her relationship with the Lord front and center is paramount.”

After living in Jacksonville for sixteen years, Mrs. Thomas and her husband, Michael, consider the city their home and enjoy the spiritual covering and connections that come from their family at The Bethel Church. Mrs. Thomas serves as a teacher for the kindergarten and first grade class. She credits Elder Rosemary Winbush with being an inspirational woman in ministry as she directs the children’s programs at Bethel. Mrs. Thomas also finds direction in her faith walk from Senior Pastor Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Jr. Additionally, she considers retired Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Sr. a mentor and a friend. She says that she is blessed to “benefit from his ninety years of faithful living and prayer with him.”

At work, Mrs. Thomas continues to live out her faith alongside Patricia McElroy, executive director of the spiritual care department at Baptist Health System. Mrs. Thomas remembers Chaplain McElroy’s encouraging words that they are “responsible for the soul of this place.” They strive to create an environment that demonstrates God’s love for all people.

“Mrs. Thomas learned she must depend on God because He is the only constant.”

As Mrs. Thomas prepares to address the group of three hundred women this Saturday, she recognizes that women are vital to the church. She appreciates that this event celebrates how all women are part of ministry—from the stay-at-home mom teaching her children to the pastor leading a church. Mrs. Thomas says that women are both nurturing and intellectual, making a connection of heart and mind. Women know how to make all parts of worship special, paying attention to every detail. They help people feel important and have hope. She says, “Women are multi-talented and great at juggling.”

At the brunch, Mrs. Thomas will tell her story and how faith has always played a part in her life. Although the brunch is full for this year, women should plan to attend next year’s event. What a blessing it is to North Florida to have so many women serving the Lord and leaders like Mrs. Thomas living out their faith.



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Award-winning author Leslie DeVooght writes Southern Romance set in her hometown, St. Simons Island, Georgia. Leslie has been published in Spark magazine, on the ACFW blog and the Florida Christian Writers Conference blog, and will be published in the Writer’s Digest Short, Short Story Anthology this spring. She also posts devotions and flash fiction weekly on her website, and can be seen weekly on Facebook Live for Wacky Wednesdays from the Carline. Leslie loves cheering on her three children and date nights with her inspiring husband, who loves that she researches kissing. Keep up with Leslie on Facebook at Leslie Kirby DeVooght and on Twitter and Instagram @LeslieDeVooght.