Forethought

Every time someone in my family goes to the hospital, even just for a test, we are asked “Do you have a living will?”  This document outlines a person’s wishes should he or she become unable to make medical decisions.  Such a document takes forethought.

This past year, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, and the Eliza Broadus Offering received significant estate gifts.  They came from people who were never considered wealthy during their lifetimes, but had earned ordinary incomes.  Like most of us, their assets were in things they owned like a house, car, insurance policies, and retirement accounts.  But these individuals gave forethought to what would become of these things and planned for their use to benefit missions.

Planning for how we will care for family members, the disposal of assets, and many more important decisions are often put off until it is too late.  Many families have had to deal with the lack of forethought by a loved one.  None of us really wants to leave our families in a quandry but without forethought, it is a high probability.

To help you think through important issues and gather helpful resources, Kentucky WMU is partnering with the Kentucky Baptist Foundation to offer a Forethought Workshop on Saturday morning, June 5, with the theme of “Taking Care of Tomorrow Today.”

The conference fee of $5.00 includes snacks and materials. Each participant who preregisters will receive a free copy of Because I Love You Family Organizer, a valuable resource booklet for you, loved ones, and aging parents.  Just the booklet is a $10 value, which makes the conference fee of $5.00 a great bargain! So preregister now to reserve your copy.  Registrations at the door are also welcome.

To learn more about the conference schedule, and download a promotional flyer, go to www.kywmu.org.  To preregister, simply call or email Kentucky WMU.   Phone: 502–489-3534 or 866-489-3534.  Email: [email protected]  

Significant Challenges in the Great Commission Task Force Report

Since the release of the report of the Great Commission Task Force this past week, I’ve been in a number of discussions and read many of the comments which have been posted.  While much has been said about the seven recommendations in the report, I have yet to ready any commentary about the challenges which are found on pages 17-26.  The challenges are significant and address individuals, churches, and our SBC agencies and seminaries.  Here are just a few of the challenges:
Individuals

– Participate in a local church sponsored evangelism training class sometime during 2011 and make this a regular component of the disciples ship process in your life.
– Participate in a North American or international mission trip sponsored by your church or association at least every four years.
Families

– Develop strategies as a family for praying for, serving, and sharing the gospel with neighbors, coworkers, and others with whom family members come into regular contact.
– Adopt a different unreached people group each month and pray as a family for 1) for IMB missionaries working with the people group, 2) for the conversion, baptism and discipling of countless individuals within the people group, and 3) for the establishment of biblical churches among the people group.
Local Churches and Pastors

– Become knowledgeable of the mission field of your specific region, identifying the various people groups and development a strategy to penetrate the lostness in your region.  Be intentional in working with your local association, state convention and NAMB in pursuing this task.
– Strengthen mission education for believers of all ages, working with the Woman’s Missionary Union and other missions education programs. Every believer must be made aware of the global missions challenge.

I encourage you to read the entire report found at: www.pray4gcr.com.  If possible, attend the Southern Baptist Convention meeting, June 15-16, in Orlando where the recommendations to the SBC will be discussed and voted upon.  The seven recommendations have generated much discussion and I will leave those comments to others.  Our own KBC Mission Board has passed a resolution in support of the Cooperative Program and I am absolutely in full support of the resolution and CP.  But I also want Southern Baptists to take note of the challenges in the GCR Task Force report.  Even if none of the Task Force recommendations were passed, if Southern Baptists embraced many of the missions challenges included in the report, we would experience a Great Commission Resurgence!

Informal Survey

Because of my role in Kentucky, people often come to talk to me about WMU in their church or association. Sometimes the stories are wonderful and they just want me to know.  Some are heartbreaking and they want me to give them a solution.  In the last week or so, I’ve experienced both of those extremes in several different conversations.

Saturday night I attended a Missionary Birthday Party celebration sponsored by Three Forks Association WMU.  It was a phenomenal event complete with wonderful decorations, gifts, a great meal, fun program, and wonderful affirmation of our missionaries in Eastern Kentucky.  Any number of people thanked the WMU and spoke highly of how valuable their work was.  One pastor’s wife came up to talk about starting WMU in her church.

Yet a week earlier at another associational WMU event, a WMU member came to tell me about the state of WMU in her church where her new pastor had declared “there will be no WMU in this church.”  

While we in WMU must acknowledge that our ranks are not as strong as they once were, and many churches have been doing other programs for children and youth, we have not quit supporting and doing missions.  With all the talk about the need for a Great Commission Resurgence, some of us are sorely tempted to say to those who quit doing missions education and are now calling for it once again in the SBC, “We told you so.”  WMU still is the leader in supporting, teaching, and doing missions.  We have great resources.  But we do need a missions education resurgence in our churches.

So, I want to conduct an informal survey.  Here are my questions:
1. What is the state of WMU and Baptist Men on Mission in your church?  (Include churchwide and age-level organizations – Mission Friends, Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, Children in Action, Acteens, Challengers, Youth on Mission, Women on Mission, Baptist Men on Mission, Adults on Mission.  By churchwide, we mean the things that WMU does to promote missions in general, the offerings, etc.)
2. Does WMU receive the support of your pastor and church staff?  Explain.
3. What would you like to do in your church to provide greater support and involvement in the Great Commission?

Please reply to:  [email protected]   Please include your name, church, and town.  Send this blog to others.  As many responses as possible will be helpful.