The Reverend Lynn Green, 48, is to become the first female General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
Reverend Green is currently regional minister with the Southern Counties Baptist Association. She has served on the Baptist Union Council and moderated the Staffing Committee for several years.
Her appointment was proposed by Jenny Royal, moderator of the trustees.
"This is an exciting appointment for the Baptist Union and we are confident that Lynn is the right person to lead our Union at this strategic time, she brings many gifts and vast experience to the task," said Royal.
Reverend Green is married to Stuart, head of audit with the Garden Centre Group. They have two children and care for two other children as Friends and Family Foster Carers.
She was chosen after a searching selection process which was endorsed by an election at the Baptist Assembly on 4 May in Blackpool.
Reverend Green will succeed current General Secretary Jonathan Edwards. He said he was "thrilled" by her appointment and praised her "sharp mind and gracious spirit".
He asked people to pray for Reverend Green as she takes on her new role.
"Lynn has been an effective local minister for many years and her gifts have been well used as a regional minister in the Southern Counties Baptist Association over the past two years," he said.
"She has served on Baptist Union Council and moderated the Staffing Committee for a number of years during which time we have recognised her sharp mind and gracious spirit.
"I feel a deep peace and great excitement for the Union as Lynn becomes our General Secretary. I urge the Baptist family to pray for Lynn and to give her all the love and support that I have been privileged to experience for the past seven years."
Commenting on her appointment, Reverend Green said she longed to see local churches "being encouraged and supported to transition beyond inherited church into vibrant mission communities".
"I hope that we will be adventurous, take more risks and above all, be Kingdom possibility thinkers," she said.
"In a tribal world I want us to be known for our profound and rich diversity in unity. Diverse yet integrated. As Baptists we are blessed that we are formed of those from many nations; we have so much to learn from each other in our journey to become Christ centred communities.
"We are committed to the priesthood of all believers, where women and men, young and old, rich and poor, are encouraged and released to serve the Lord , each one differently abled and unique.
"I believe that our Union is ready for generational change. It is time to cast off the institutional mindset that has served us well in the past, and embrace a new way of being for the 21st century."
The Reverend Roberta Rominger, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, was involved in the selection process as a member of the nominating group.
She said: "It is clear to me that God is calling Lynn to the post of General Secretary and that she has all the gifts needed to enable the Baptist Union to embrace a new future.
"I really look forward to working with her as one of my closest ecumenical partners."