Historic Kentucky WMU Executive Board Meeting

With little fanfare, Kentucky WMU made a historic decision at our 2012 Annual Meeting to amend our Bylaws to include a representative of Royal Ambassadors / Challengers on our Executive Board.  To be appointed by the president, this  new  position opened the way to have a man serve as a member of our Executive Board.

Rick Gastineau accepted the invitation to join our Board and his name was included on the list of Board members listed in the Nominating Committee Report.  Rick joined Jon Auten, our missions consultant for RAs and Challengers, as our two “Wise Men”  (as in WMU stands for Wise Men Understand).  What a welcome addition both of these gentlemen have been to our work.

This past weekend, Rick attended his first Kentucky WMU Executive Board meeting  and what a great time we had.  The ladies welcomed Rick gladly and Jon was happy to have the company. In addition, Rick brought the Pit Stop Challenge for us to see. This is a car which was originally built as an activity for RAs.  However, it has grown in popularity and is now used in many settings as a witnessing tool.  EBO funds have helped to provide tracts and Bibles to be given out when the Pit Stop Challenge is used at block parties, raceway ministries, etc.

One of the most touching moments during the Executive Board meeting took place when our president, Linda Cooper, read for the Board a note that Rick had handed to me earlier. 

“Many years ago Randall Rogers path crossed my path and he became my mentor in missions education. He and I traveled the roads of Kentucky promoting Royal Ambassadors. About 10 years ago in a motel room, we were planning the next day’s training, and he told me, “Rick, someday the WMU will assume responsibility of RAs. It will be a good thing. I may not get to see it, but if you do, I want you to walk with them.” He was correct that he did not get to see the change.  In memory of my good friend, I want to say it has been a good change for Royal Ambassadors. The staff and workers have continued the vision of Randall Rogers, Calvin Fields, and a host of other heroes from the past. Thank you and keep doing what you are doing. I am humbled to be part of such a great organizations and the women and men involved.  Rick Gastineau

What a confirmation of not only the decision for WMU to once again take responsibility for boys missions education through Royal Ambassadors and Challengers, but also for the exact person selected to be the first representative on our Kentucky WMU Executive Board.  Randall is rejoicing in heaven and we are rejoicing here at the fulfillment of his dream that none of us knew about when we asked Rick to serve. 

The Kentucky WMU Executive Board is a tremendous group, dedicated to the vision of WMU to challenge Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God.  They oversee our work, providing valuable insights and encouragement to our staff.  The board is comprised of 30 people with three represenatives from each of the eight regions of the KBC (24), three officers (president, vice president, recording secretary) plus the Kentucky BNF President, Development Specialist, and the RA/Challengers representative.  We are grateful for the time and service they give.  And we are thrilled to have experienced our first Executive Board meeting with Rick on our team!

The Story Lives On

This fall I have been in several churches and fall associational meetings to speak about WMU.  Our new logo and emphasis have been the backdrop for what I have shared.  We have two new banners in the WMU office and I’ve taken them with me to a number of these locations.  One of the banners has the new logo, tagline (missions for life), and our WMU vision statement (WMU challenges Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God).  The other banner has the artwork for The Story Lives On and the three points of this emphasis – celebrate, connect, commit.

Our 2012-14 watchword is taken from Act 4:20 – “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20 NIV).  Depending on the setting of where I have spoken this fall, I have shared some thoughts about the scriptural background to our emphasis, taken from Acts 4: 13-20. 

The watchword verse is found in the story of Peter and John who had been arrested  for preaching about Jesus and proclaiming the truth of the resurrection.  It had all started when in Acts 3, they had healed a lame man on their way to the temple.  That drew a crowd, and Peter, being a preacher, knew an opportunity when he saw one.  The religious leaders took issue with their message and had them thrown in jail for the night.

This such a great story.  Peter, the one that had been so afraid that he denied Jesus, is now bold and courageous.  (Let me encourage you to get your Bible and read Acts 4:13-20 before you read the rest of this blog.)  I want you to notice three things:

Peter and John were uneducated and untrained, but they had been with Jesus.  The idea of uneducated and untrained is relative. No, these men did not have the education of the Pharisees.  That would happen later with Paul, who did have that kind of education, and could take them on.  But Peter and John had a far better education than the Scribes and Pharisees – they had been with Jesus.  Jesus, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, who had come to earth in the incarnation.  What more education did they need?

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly first century. By this I mean that the world today is hostile to the gospel.  The United States is not only becoming a secular nation, it is becoming a nation that is hostile to Christians.  And my question to us is:  Will others notice that we have been with Jesus?  Are we spending time in Bible study and prayer?  Are we serving the Lord through missions? 

The critics had nothing to say in reply to the lame man standing there. What do you say to a miracle? It was not something they could deny or argue with.  Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  It also says: Against such things there is no law.  When we are Spirit filled, Spirit controlled, this is how we act. And the critics of our faith really don’t have anything to say.  When we minister to people in need and we share Jesus first through our actions, we catch those who are hostile off guard and we open doors to share a witness with many.

Peter and John staked their lives and reputations on Jesus, declaring “we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  What is it that we cannot stop speaking about?  Is it the latest ball game?  Is it the bargain we got when we went shopping?  Is it our favorite television show or movie?  People around us are listening.  Do we sound any different than our neighbors?  Do we talk about what we’ve seen and heard from Jesus?

When John the Baptist came before Jesus, he said of himself, quoting a passage from Isaiah 40, “I am a voice of one crying in the desert, prepare the way for the Lord.”  This is what I think of WMU – a voice for a lost world to challenge the church that we must be about preparing the way of the Lord.   Our world is so deeply divided over competing claims of truth.  Every day in the news there is another story of how religion and politics clash. We hear everything from how one world religion wants to eliminate all Christians to the stories of those who denounce the place of faith in civic life all together.  Yet, it is into this world that we have been commanded and commissioned to make disciples.  WMU helps a church fulfill its mission by serving as a voice for missions, calling the church to prepare the way for the Lord in the lives of those who are lost.

In WMU we are this voice by keeping missions before the church. That’s why we have seasons of prayer for missions, why we teach missions to children, why we have missions groups that are focused on learning about what is happening around the world in missions. While we may long for the second coming of Christ, we must not forget that millions of people have never experienced the first. 

I am grateful for Kentucky WMU, for Kentucky Baptist churches that want missions to be a priority.  The mission field begins when we walk out the door.  And there are certainly plenty of lost people right here in our own communities. But WMU understands that Jesus did not say in Acts 1:8, You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and if you get done there, then move on to Judea, and if you have time, Samaria, and maybe the ends of the earth.  No, Jesus said Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.  Though prayer, we can reach the ends of the earth, even if we never get there in person.  The IMB is looking for churches to adopt unreached people groups for prayer.  There are amazing stories of what has happened through such praying.

Our giving touches the entire world. I will never forget my first overseas missions trip to Rwanda and visiting a mud brick church that the people had built themselves. As we arrived, the missionary said “Oh, and by the way, the tin roof on this building was put here by the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.”  Our giving on this side of the world makes a difference on the other side of the world!

When we teach missions to children, we never know just how far those lessons will go. Think of our missionaries serving around the world.  Many of them began to sense God’s call at a young age, often in missions groups like Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors. This is why our “support missions” objective includes nurturing those who feel a call to missions.  What better way than through weekly missions education, camps, missions events, and other ways to encourage children, youth, and adults to follow God’s call.

What about you and me?  Does the Story Live On?  Are we involved in missions through praying, giving, learning, and doing ministries to open doors for the gospel?  While we long for the second coming of Christ, what are we doing to tell people who’ve never heard of the first coming?   The Story Lives On in our hearts.  But it must also live on in our witness, our ministry, our praying, and our giving.

WMU and EBO at Work in Laurel River Baptist Association

On Thursday evening, October 18, I participated in the Laurel River Baptist Association WMU Annual Session.  As I drove up to Weaver Baptist Church for the dinner and meeting, I found a white utility trailer parked in front of the church.  The trailer says on both sides “Woman’s Missionary Union, Laurel River Baptist Association, London, Ky.”  The doors were open and ready to receive the items being collected that night.

The story of this trailer is that Laurel River WMU applied for a Special Ministry Grant from the 2011-12 Eliza Broadus Offering to help them purchase the trailer to use in ministry projects.  A grant of $1,000 was given to Laurel River WMU.  In addition, each association was given a grant of $500 to be used for some type of ministry.  Laurel River Association voted to give the $500 grant to the association to the WMU to help them with the utility trailer.

In the 2011-12 WMU report provided by Shirley Morgan, association WMU director, here is a list of the Laurel River WMU projects this past year:
– Collected and delivered changes of clothing, underwear, socks, gloves, etc. for boys and girls to each school in the Laurel County Pre-School Program.
– Delivered pajamas, gift cards and David and Goliath story books to Cumberland Valley Advocacy (TLC House).
– Recycled plastic bags and took them to Shepherd’s Pantry, Lynch, Kentucky. 
– Took a pick-up load of cleaning supplies along with gift cards for employees and volunteers to Laurel Lake Baptist Camp:
– Provided hygiene items for students.
– Provided turkeys and fixings for families.
– Held an Earl and Vada Clark Food Pounding to Clear Creek Baptist Bible College.
– Provided gifts for Laurel Heights Give-A-Gift-To-Give (168 residents received five wrapped gifts for their family and one for themselves).
– Provided gifts for Sunrise Children’s Services Give-A-Gift-To-Give (hosted by Corinth Baptist Church). 13 children received pizza, unlimited gifts for their family and one for themselves.
– Provided three gift baskets for the Heritage Fund Silent Auction at the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting.
– Had the freezer repaired for The Christian Homeless Shelter.
– Sent baby toiletries and socks to the Laurel County Life Center.
– Went on a mission trip to Shepherd’s Pantry, delivering bags, helped bag food for families to pick up, and helped organize items.
– Delivered boxes of candy to children at Sunrise Children’s Services.
– Gave 15 fleece blankets to cancer patients (total blankets to date: 200).
– Helped work at the Laurel River Baptist Assocition booth at the Chicken Festival.
– Purchased plastic totes for tornado victims to store their items.
– Helped to serve the tornado victims and workers at Arthur Ridge Baptist Church and East Bernstadt First Baptist Church.

Wow!  What a list.  After reading it, I really understood why they needed the utlity trailer.  What a great combination – WMU and EBO at work together.

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 24:14-28), three servants were entrusted with talents of money to be put to work while the master was away.  When he returned, the servant who received five talents had increased it to ten. The servant who had received two talents, gained two more.  These faithful servants had doubled the investment!  The lazy servant had done nothing with what had been entrusted to him and was thrown out.

It is my prayer that through ministries across our state, we will double the investment of every dollar given to the Eliza Broadus Offering.  Laurel River WMU is about doubling the investment as they meet practical needs and share the love of Jesus.

EBO at Work – Special Ministry Grants

The Eliza Broadus Offering provides significant funding for ministries across our state through “Special Ministry Grants.”  These grants are provided by EBO through an application process administered by Kentucky WMU. We are currently receiving applications for grants from the 2012-13 offering and applications are due by December 15.

Every grant provided by EBO includes the stipulation that the ministry which receives the grant must complete an accountability form to be eligible to apply for another grant.  This helps us to be accountable to Kentucky Baptists for how the funds are used and also tell the stories of the offering’s impact such as:
– Operation Hopkinsville involved 220 volunteers in community ministries through 13 ministry teams.  EBO funds were used for evangelistic literature, Backyard Bible Clubs (4), Block Parties (4), nursing home ministry, a sports clinic, free care clinic, and Cookie Ministry.
– Grant County Prison Ministry had 3,551 people in attendance, 47 professions of faith, 46 baptisms, and gave out 282 Bibles last year.
A six-day Deaf Vacation Bible Camp was provided in June by the Deaf Ministry of FBC Bowling Green. Deaf and hard of hearing children were exposed to the gospel in American Sign Language through Bible study, crafts, snacks, and other activities.
– The Answer Center, Green Valley Association, helped 579 people with food, clothing, household goods, school supplies, and personal care items. Their ministry objective is to meet needs and share Christ.
– High Mountain Equine Outreach reaches at risk teens through horses. By teaching relationship horsemanship, this ministry teaches the beauty of walking in relationship with the horses and our Creator. EBO helped with supplies for the barn and other ministry expenses.
– Mercer Association provided materials for Kentucky Changers to complete 45 projects including decks, roofs, siding, paint, windows, and more.  Twenty-four professions of faith and many more decisions were made during the week as students share the love of Jesus in the community.
– Muhlenburg County Association had a crusade at the local high school.  The association also sponsored Youth Night during the crusade and provided pizza for over 400 youth, followed by a concert by Clay Crosse and preaching by Bro. Ronnie Owens. Eight young people gave their lives to Christ that night with a total of 37 saved during the crusade.

 Read more EBO reports at www.kywmu.org/eboreports


Outstanding Report

Throughout the year we hear from various MSC missionaries about their work.  Many of them are also very involved with WMU in their churches and associations.  A recent report from Robin Reeves, from Frankfort Baptist Church in Corbin is an example of how the missions enthusiasm of one MSC missionary has grown to include so many other people.

Robin included a copy of the page from the WMU Year Book which helps WMU leaders report WMU involvement.  For 2011-12, Robin reported 36 in the Women on Mission group, 4 on the WMU leadership team, 8 involved in small groups with a missions focus, 30 in ongoing ministries, and 10 in small groups preparing for missions activities or trips.  In addition, there were 20 people involved in community ministries and 2 that were participants in overseas missions trips.

Robin also included a page about the accomplishments of the Women on Mission group.  This group made and sent over 7,000 witnessing dolls into 27 states and 17 countries. They made and sent over 100 blankets for crisis pregnancy centers and the Disaster Relief Child Care Unit. They cooked and served hot meals to Disaster Relief workers during the response in East Bernstadt in March.   Several children accepted Christ through the dolls being used as a witnessing tool. 

In response to the question as to how they met their objectives and goals for the year, Robin wrote, “Prayer, planning, and working together in love and unity.  Setting large goals and then breaking them down into smaller ones!  Set deadlines for goals to be completed.”

This Women on Mission group also ministered directly to a Kentucky missionary family by gathering food items and Christmas gifts.  Three ladies from the group participated in a one-day mission trip to the Lord’s Cafe (McCreary County), taking hygiene items when they went to work in the kitchen preparing and serving meals.  The group joined in praying for national WMU missions emphases, including World Hunger and Human Exploitation.  They had an impact in the community by making a breast cancer awareness quilt for the Relay for Life.  They also supported the work of Kentucky WMU through our basket auction for the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund.  And six women attended a meeting to pack snack and personal items to send to military personnel.

What an awesome report.  I am grateful that there are many other Women on Mission groups doing similar things throughout the year.  What about your church?  Is there a Women on Mission group “leading the charge” for missions?  Kentucky WMU can help you get a group started!  Call us at 502-489-3534 (or 866-489-3534) or email: [email protected].   For more information about WMU and to sign up for our e-newsletters, go to www.kywmu.org.  

Keep the cards, letters, and reports coming in because “The Story Lives On!”

Powering Missions and Ministries through the Cooperative Program

At this time of year, I am frequently asked to speak in associational fall meetings.  These are usually the general meeting of the association and I am asked to represent WMU as well as the other agencies and institutions of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.  I always enjoy attending these meetings and seeing the work of our associations across Kentucky.  My next assignment is with Lincoln Baptist Association where I have been asked to share  about “Missions and the Cooperative Program Challenge.”

We have a new Cooperative Program (CP) brochure called Powering Missions and Ministries through the Cooperative Program.  I like this brochure because the front cover has a “power button,” much like the one on my computer, and is a reminder of what CP does for missions.  In my remarks at Lincoln Association, I will be referencing the brochure.  Copies are available free of charge from the KBC Communications office.

I am a champion of the Cooperative Program because it is the foundation of our financial support for missions.  I like to think about CP and the missions offerings like tithes and offerings as referenced in the Bible.  As churches, we teach what the Bible says about tithing and challenge every church member or church family to tithe.  As churches, we also need to tithe.  We need to practice corporate tithing not only to model what we teach for individuals, but to demonstrate that we believe if we tithe as churches, God will help us stretch the 90 percent to cover local ministries.  Mission offerings are thus what we do beyond the tithe, just as scripture says “tithes and offerings.”  The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, and the Eliza Broadus Offering for Kentucky Missions could not be as effective without the foundational support of the Cooperative Program.  But when these offerings for international, national and state missions are combined with CP, the results are outstanding.

Sometimes I’ve heard people promote the LMCO and say that it’s really important for us to give to this offering because nothing is taken out for administration, it all goes to the field.  And that is true, but it is true because of the Cooperative Program.  Any ministry, including the ministry of your church, has some administrative costs.  It costs money to turn on the lights, buy paper, run the copier, etc.  Those things may not be as glamorous as ministry expenses for evangelistic outreach, buying Bibles, or feeding hungry children, but we all know that those ministries will not happen without certain administrative costs. 

The beauty of CP is that many people have carefully prioritized ministry needs.  They’ve made sure that important things get done, even if they are not always the stories that will make you cry.  On the Powering Missions and Ministries through the Cooperative Program flyer you will find information about how CP works and funds missions around the world.  I want to point out three ways you can help.  First, add $3 to every check you write to your church.  If you give weekly, that’s an extra $156 a year.  If 100,000 Kentucky Baptists would do this, it would generate a total of $15,600,000.  Now of that, if the churches kept 90%, that would be an additional $14,040,000 for local churches in Kentucky – just in one year.  But it would also mean that there would be an additional $1,560,000 for missions through the Cooperative Program.  

The unfortunate thing is that the current average church gift to CP is 6.75% of undesignated giving.  It is vital to get every church to give 10% or more through CP.  So, the second challenge on the flyer is to get your church to start raising CP giving by .25% a year.  Over time, it would make a great difference in the support of missions by your church.  Last year I made a number of visits to pastors in Shelby Association to thank them for their CP giving.  Shelby Association is much like many other associations in that it is an association of primarily small churches. On each visit, I took a copy of the CP profile for each church.  Since CP is a formula with designated percentages to each ministry that is supported, we can apply the formula to church giving for a particular year and tell you exactly where your church CP funds went and how much.  Attached to the CP profiles that I delivered, was also a cumulative report on the CP giving of each church, since 1925 when CP started, or from when the church was started.  Many were surprised at how much their churches had given over time.

The third challenge is to engage the children of your church in an effort we are calling “Children Changing the World.”  Through this effort, the children of your church collect change starting in the spring and go through your church VBS, designating the VBS offering for CP.  Again, this is an opportunity to not only get your children involved, but to teach them the importance of the CP.  Teaching materials and promotional ideas are available. 

So, as I go to associational meetings to share about missions and Cooperative Program, I challenge you to join me as a passionate advocate for the Cooperative Program and for our missions offerings.  Your voice can make a difference.

Remembering Eliza

A happy belated birthday remembrance to Eliza Broadus whose birthday was October 1, 1851.  Yesterday (Oct. 1) I felt a nudge to spend time reading through a notebook of materials that we have in the office about Eliza.  As I was reading last evening I realized that it was her birthday.  I had already been thinking about her during the day after composing a resolution for consideration at the upcoming Kentucky Baptist Convention which will, if adopted, recognized the 125th birthday of WMU and the 100th anniversary of the Eliza Broadus Offering in 2013.

Daughter of Dr. John A. Broadus, professor and later president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Eliza became involved in the emerging Woman’s Missionary Societies in the late 1800’s.  In 1878, she was named as a charter member of the Kentucky Central Committee, a committee requested to be started in every state by the Foreign Mission Board to encourage the development of more missionary groups.   It was significant that the meeting which called upon the Central Committees from each state to send delegates to decide whether or not to organize Woman’s Missionary Union was held in Louisville in 1887.  Although Eliza was not present at the 1888 meeting in Richmond, Virginia when the vote was taken to organize WMU, Eliza was elected as the vice-president from Kentucky, a position she held until 1920.  At that time, WMU made her its only vice president emerita.

Eliza began to experience deafness as young adult.  Her sister Ella B. Robertson, spoke of this in a WMU Training School Founders Day address in 1936, saying “It was fortunate for my sister that this movement to organize women’s missionary societies came when her deafness was increasing and making ordinary social life difficult for her. It aroused her interest, developed her powers, increased her friendships, with never a thought on her part of any of this. ‘Seeketh not her own’ applied to her in this new work as well as in her home life, and was the secret of her success. She had the information, intelligence and skill to be a leader, and all the Central Committee loved her.”

Janie Cree Bose Anderson (Mrs. James H.), who served as the corresponding secretary (now executive director) of Kentucky WMU from 1916-23, wrote a tribute to Eliza Broadus, who had been her friend and mentor.  “Long will I remember our journeyings to S.B.C. meetings together. On the train, we spent the time going over the ‘plan of work’ for the year, to see if we could think of any good suggestion to make. She could always tell why this or that would not be wise.  She had known it from its beginnings. What a privilege to be ears for her in the meetings of the Executive Committee, and what a charming roommate she always was – always ready on time, so considerate…. Then, as we moved about in the hotel and the Convention, the leaders and others from all over the South came to speak to her – counted it an honor to speak to her – and she saw to it that I, her W.M.U. daughter, should meet all of those good people.”

Mrs. Anderson also said of Eliza:
      “In the years of association with Miss Broadus, I learned much of the early history of W.M.U. and Southern Baptists, and much of the history of our mission work at home and abroad, but I learned to hold in higher esteem the qualifications of mind and heart that were so predominant in Miss Broadus.
      “She was so modest, though she surely must have known that she was adored, not only by Kentucky women, but by women all over the Southland. I was never quite able to tell her how much I loved her, for fear of embarrassing her.
     “She was sincere.  I cannot think of Miss Broadus in other way than that of being perfectly sincere and true.
     “She was courageous. No matter how hard a thing was to do, if it was right, she did not fear to undertake it. If a word must be spoken in the interest of the cause, she feared not to speak it.
     “She was spiritual. The sweetest times of our Central Committee meetings were always when she was conducting the devotional services. She would find a message from God’s Word to fit every need, and apply it to that need; and her prayers were, in reality, talking with God.”

Eliza Broadus died on October 7, 1931.  She had gone from the home of her sister and brother-in-law, Dr. & Mrs. A.T. Robertson, near the Seminary grounds to mail a letter and was hit by a truck as she was retracing her steps across the street. Due to her profound deafness, she probably never heard the on-coming truck.  Just a week before her death, the WMU Training School had given a gala luncheon in honor of her 80th birthday.  After her death, tributes to her poured in and in the December, 1931, issue of Royal Service, Miss Kathleen Mallory, executive director of national WMU, wrote:  “Few Southern Baptist women have equaled Miss Eliza S. Broadus in the service rendered ‘her own generation according to the will of God.’ Four-score years and one week were granted to her and she not only used them to help lovingly in the home, church, community, and state but for more than half of her life, she was a most efficient officer of Woman’s Missionary Union.”

In 1913 Eliza Broadus encouraged Kentucky WMU to began an annual state missions offering.  In 1975, Kathryn Jasper Akridge led Kentucky WMU to name the offering in her honor starting in 1976.  As we look forward to celebrating the 100th anniversary of the offering in 2013, we do well to remember this remarkable WMU leader and her influence in Kentucky and around the world.   The dedication page of Dr. A.T. Robertson’s Harmony of the Gospels, says “To Eliza S. Broadus, Eldest daughter of John A. Broadus, An elect lady beloved in many lands.”  Eliza Broadus was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery and this inscription is on her tombstone.

Though I only know Eliza Broadus through the writings of those who knew and loved her, I join Mrs. Anderson in saying “The memory of her will help me always to strive to live up to the high standard she set in personal life and public service.”