Trailblazing for the Cause of Church Revitalization: Patty King on God’s Work Today

July 5, 2023

The Rev. Patty King Bilyeau is Executive Minister & CEO of the Great Rivers Region of ABC-USA. Here we share a snapshot of what God is doing through her.

In a suburb of Toledo, OH, Patty King was born on a Monday and was in church the next Sunday. Raised in a church that invited all people to follow the call of God on their lives, she never knew women couldn’t be pastors. And by the time she was graduating high school, she knew she could preach, too. “Patty King,” her pastor had said to her one day after she preached in her church, “if there is anyone who should attend seminary, it’s you!”

It was only in 1990 while pursuing a MDiv at Northern Seminary when her eyes were opened to the wider issue of how many women struggle to be affirmed in ministry. Along with several other women, however, she found a safe harbor to grow into the leader and pastor God called her to be. She became a pastor and spent significant time in youth ministry.

Today, Patty is the Executive Minister of the Great Rivers Region of the American Baptist Churches USA, a region made up of 205 churches. She is trailblazing her way as the first woman to hold this position. Patty’s passion? Church revitalization. In her role, she is seeing churches that were once on the verge of closing now minister and care in ways that are new and necessary.

“One church in our region is ministering to people who are assimilating – those coming out of prison and former drug addicts,” she says. “The church looks totally different, but it has come back to life. It’s amazing.”

Her conclusion as she reflects on what God is doing today? “God is already working, and if we look closely, we can partner with him to transform the world.” Men and women, together.