Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Potomac Conference Appoints First Female Lead Pastor

Story by Debra Anderson

Lola Moore-Johnston grew up in Newark, N.J., and at an early age felt God’s call on her life. Her leadership gifts were evident early in her spiritual development, as she led out in her local church and while attending college at La Sierra University (Calif.). In her youth, God was preparing her to be a change agent and a history maker.

Moore-Johnston joined the Potomac Conference in 2018 as the pastor of the Woodbridge (Va.) church. On July 1, she was installed as the lead pastor of the Restoration Praise Center in Bowie, Md. This is the first time in the history of the Potomac Conference that a female has been selected the lead pastor of a congregation.*

“The fact that Lola has the distinction of being the first female pastor in Potomac to lead her own team is not lost on anyone who is aware of the calling that God has placed on her life and the gifts and abilities that he has given her to live out that calling,” says Charles A. Tapp, conference president. “As the lead pastor of the Restoration Praise Center, I am confident that Lola will continue to help direct her congregation, as they seek to expand the kingdom of God ‘beyond the walls’ of their church and into the homes and hearts of those in their community.”

In addition to her pastoral duties, Moore-Johnston is a trained chaplain, author and entrepreneur. As founder and CEO of the Bloom Movement, she has created a safe space specifically to help women discover and unearth their buried potential.

* Potomac Conference has a long history of affirming women in leadership, including hiring Josephine Benton, who served in several roles, including senior pastor at the Rockville church from 1979-1982. Rick Labate, vice president for Pastoral Ministries at the Potomac Conference, clarifies the difference between lead and senior pastor: "Lead pastor always means there is a staff that the pastor leads. Senior pastor can refer to a pastor who has a staff OR a solo pastor who has a church or district with no staff."


I think Josephine Benton was considered a Senior Pastor at Rockville Church years ago?

Good afternoon,

You're right. Josephine Benton was a senior pastor- but not a lead pastor. We've included a clarification about that.

Benton was indeed a trailblazer!


Michelle Bernard

Add new comment