Countdown to Annual Meeting

WMU2014AnnualMeetingPoster-page-001I am writing this blog late on Sunday evening.  In just a few days, we will gather in Winchester for the 2014 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting. I relish each year’s event – the excitement of being together, the challenge from our speakers, the inspiration to keep on doing missions, and much more. It’s hard to put an annual meeting into words. You just have to be there to experience it.

Annual Meeting is more than a meeting. Yes it includes speakers and sessions, displays and conferences, meals and projects. But there is a synergy that is greater than all of the elements that must be experienced. We are glad that this year’s meeting will be broadcast via live streaming and hope that those who watch will catch just a bit of the excitement and energy of our 2014 gathering. Our theme is “The Celebration Continues” and we will continue the celebration of WMU’s 125th while moving forward to the future before us.

TorchHere are some highlights of this year’s meeting:
– The meeting begins with a parade of flags led by a torch from the 2013 national WMU Annual Meeting.
– Wanda Lee,executive director of national WMU, will share a theme interpretation at the start of each session.
– Gordon Fort, senior vice president of the IMB, will share missions stories that will touch your heart and challenge you to new involvement.
– Lori Funderburk, director of the bucket project with Baptist Global Response, will share the ministries of BGR and the impact of buckets of love.
– “Miss Bertha and Berniece,” will make us laugh while helping us see truths that have been shared in the meeting that we might have missed.
– Kentucky missionaries will be commissioned on Friday evening and Gordon Fort will preach. An invitation will be given.
– We will fill a truck with Buckets of Love to send to people with AIDS in Africa.
– There will be conferences, displays, bucket assembly, prayerwalking, tour of local ministries, and more.
– A WMU history room will feature WMU memorabilia from across the years.
– Heritage Fund Mite Boxes will be collected in the Friday afternoon session.
– A GA Fashion Show showing 100 years of fashion and GA history will be presented on Friday afternoon.
– We will elect a new president, vice president and recording secretary, as well as the 2014-15 Executive Board.

It’s not too late to make plans to attend. No preregistration is required. If you have not preregistered for the boxed lunch, just bring a sandwich or snack with you on Friday so that you will not need to leave for lunch, but can take in a conference, help with the bucket project, visit displays, or go by the History Room and WMU Book Store. More is planned than you can do (and some will complain about that), but the idea is that we have plenty planned and there is something for everyone!  We keep you on the go for two days!

For more information about all aspects of Annual Meeting, including links for live streaming, please visit the Annual Meeting page on our web site:  We will be posting on Facebook and Twitter all week leading up to the event and even during the meeting. Anyone using Facebook or Twitter, please use the identifier #kywmu14 in your posts to help others find your posts about Annual Meeting.

I was a music major in college and seminary. I don’t do too much in the music field these days, but I will say that Annual Meeting reminds me of directing a big musical production.  There are lots of elements that must come together. There is an ebb and flow to the event.  It is vital that we start well and end well, even if there are a few “bobbles” along the way. My role is like a conductor.  We’ve planned, rehearsed, set up, and now it is time for the “show” to start.  But it’s not a show (though it is a production!).  What happens this weekend is not about the meeting and certainly not about having a “perfect” meeting (not going to happen!). This meeting is about outcomes.  What is going to happen in our lives because we came? What is going to happen in missions because we were challenged? Who is going to hear the gospel because we prayed and gave? Who will say “Here am I, send me?” when the invitation is given on Friday evening? Who will go home with new determination to teach missions?  My questions about outcomes could go on and on. My prayer is that we will one day look back at this weekend and say “God was at work through the 2014 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting.”  Don’t miss what God is doing in Winchester this weekend.  Be there!

Coming to your computer via live streaming: The Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting

Each year we hear from people who for various reasons are not able to attend the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting. We have wished for a way to record and post the meeting sessions. Now an even better option has become available – live streaming.

Thanks to Larry Brannin, Media Department Director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, we plan to live stream this year’s general sessions. Live streaming requires not only a camera to capture the meeting, but software to encode the meeting and a fast enough internet connection at the site to upload the video feed to the internet. Larry is coming with the cameras and computer. Brenda Smith has set up the pages where viewers can watch each session. We believe that the internet connection speed at Central Baptist Church is adequate.

While we first want every person who can to attend Annual Meeting in person, we also hope for a great following on the web. Our prayer is that all will go as planned and that even more people can join in the Annual Meeting.

Here is how it works.  A separate link has been set up for each session. You can click on any of the links below and you will be taken to a page with a clock counting down to that session. The live feed is set to start about 15 minutes before the start time of each session. You can join us before the session to hear Larry Lee play the piano and to see folks coming into the session. There will be several cameras capturing the meeting. We hope that viewers can see, hear, and feel the energy of the meeting.
Fri Apr 4, 2014 9:45am EDT — Fri Apr 4, 2014 12:00pm EDT   (Central time: 8:45-11:00 a.m.)
Fri Apr 4, 2014 2:00pm EDT — Fri Apr 4, 2014 4:30pm EDT   (Central time: 1:00-3:30 p.m.)
Fri Apr 4, 2014 6:45pm EDT — Fri Apr 4, 2014 9:00pm EDT  (Central time: 5:45-8:00 p.m.)
Sat Apr 5, 2014 9:45am EDT — Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:30pm EDT  (Central time 8:45-11:30 a.m.)

Excitement about the 2014 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting is growing. Melissa Logsdon-Young posted on Facebook: “12 days, 10 hours & 40 minutes until the KY WMU Annual Meeting, but who’s counting? Oh, yeah, I AM! I can’t wait!”  The responses to her post indicated the excitement of others as well as the distress of several who cannot be with us.  We are very pleased that live streaming makes it possible for many more to join in this exciting missions event!

Please join me in expressing thanks to Larry Brannin and the Kentucky Baptist Convention Communications Department for making live streaming possible for us. We are grateful for the Cooperative Program which makes this kind of support and cooperation possible! Please pray for this effort and all of the technological details that must all work together. Pray also for the meeting itself, speakers, conference leaders and participants. Annual Meeting is not about the meeting, but rather about outcomes. We are praying for outcomes that will literally be felt around the world.  We pray that we can look back to this meeting at some point in the future and see how God was at work using the meeting as a catalyst for His Kingdom purposes.

I hope you will join us in Winchester – in person or via live streaming. Be there!

The pledge that shaped my life

GA 100th ribbonOn Saturday, Stacy Nall and I participated in a GA Celebration in Muhlenburg Baptist Association.  The girls were celebrating the 100th birthday of GA with activities, cake and punch, and a mission project.  As our Kentucky WMU Missions Consultant for Children, Stacy brought greetings and shared about GA when she was girl.  After we recognized the oldest GA present (age 93), we read the GA motto and ideals from 1928 and sang the GA song, “We’ve A Story to Tell.”  Then I was asked to share about my GA experiences as a girl.

Among the memories I shared was the impact of the motto, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come” (Isa. 60:1) and the star ideals which had been incorporated into the GA Allegiance that we recited at every GA meeting.  I explained that the language of the pledge included some words that we might not use today and took time to review what the pledge means in words the girls would understand.   The GA Allegiance that we pledged each week said:
Knowing that countless people grope in darkness and giving attention to his commands, I assert my allegiance to Jesus Christ, to his church and its activities, attempting with God’s help to abide in him through prayer, to advance in wisdom by Bible study, to acknowledge my stewardship of time, money, and personality, to adorn myself with good works, and to accept the challenge of the Great Commission.

Each time I said the pledge, I was acknowledging that more people than I could count lived in spiritual darkness.  I stated that I was giving attention to the commands of Jesus and asserting my allegiance to Jesus Christ, His church and its activities.  Certainly churches would be stronger today if more people began with this part of the pledge!  And then we promised five ways that we would carry out this pledge: prayer, Bible study, stewardship, good works, and accepting the challenge of the Great Commission.

This is still my allegiance.  It still shapes my life.  On Saturday, I talked with the girls about what various parts of the pledge mean and most distressing was their lack of understanding about stewardship.  We talked about tithing as one aspect of stewardship and few had even heard the term.  They did not seem to understand  the idea of a tenth, even when explained in terms of 10 dimes to a dollar.  I was not sure if the lack of understanding was due to development in their math skills or simply because we are not talking about tithing in our churches.  Either way, we have much to do to teach this vital spiritual truth.

GAgraphicoptimizedGA members today have a motto and pledge.  Their motto is “Go Forward,” a favorite saying of Annie Armstrong drawn from Exodus 14: 15 (KJV or NASV).  The GA pledge says:
As a GA, I will do my best to live a missions lifestyle that honors God by learning about missions, praying for missions, giving to missions, doing missions, and participating in the work of the church.

I am grateful we are still teaching GAs to honor God by how they live and through what they do.  I pray that the GA pledge will continue to shape lives and lead to a lifetime of missions involvement.

Call to Prayer for Lottie Moon Christmas Offering

IMBDr. Tom Elliff, president of the International Mission Board, has called for a day of special prayer for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering on March 13. Wanda Lee, executive director of national WMU has assured Dr. Elliff that WMU will join in this day of prayer. Here is the letter that Wanda received from Dr. Elliff.

Dear partners in this great task,
The Lord reigns over all nations and we affirm in humble submission that He reigns over all of our plans. In the weeks to come, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering receipts for 2013 will be finalized while, shortly thereafter, overseas personnel and IMB leadership will be developing budget plans for 2015.

Will you join overseas field personnel and staff in a voluntary day of prayer and fasting on March 13th as we express thanks and seek His direction as wise stewards?

1. Lottie Moon Christmas Offerings are a sacred gift which we receive with humility and gratitude.
2. There are many individuals and congregations who are still receiving Lottie Moon Christmas Offering or International Missions gifts. Pray for an outpouring of the Lord’s blessing as Southern Baptists give an offering of themselves and of their possessions.
3. As overseas personnel and IMB leadership develop budget plans for 2015, pray that they will be wise stewards. Ask the Lord to instill a global context in the hearts of each individual as they request funds so that they will keep the needs of the world in mind while uniquely focusing on their own projects.
4. Effective communication—concise, creative, memorable—is crucial in keeping the call of missions before Southern Baptists. Church and Partner Services (CaPS) team members are already developing the theme and resources for the Annual Meeting of the SBC and the next Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Intercede for the design and implementation teams as they seek God’s vision.
5. As a global organization under the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ, we move forward in this transition period. Ask God to bless the Presidential Search Team with unity and discernment as they act with prayerful and tireless deliberation. Intercede for Tom and Jeannie Elliff as they continue in prayer and labor. Pray for the person who will become the twelfth IMB president to have ears to hear the Lord’s calling.

praying handsJehovah Jireh, we express thanks for every blessing and submit our future needs to You.  We do not shrink back but press in to our calling to reach all peoples for Your glory. AMEN.

On our knees,
Dr Tom Elliff


Meet the Missionaries

The Friday evening session of the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting includes something new – a Kentucky missionary commissioning service. About a dozen Kentucky missionaries will share brief testimonies about their call and be commissioned for service among us.  In addition, we will recognize the Kentucky Missionary of the Year.  Come and encourage these new missionaries by your presence in this special service.

Following the commissioning, we have asked Dr. Gordon Fort, the senior vice president for the Office of Prayer Mobilization and Training at the International Mission Board, to bring a message and missions challenge.  We will give an invitation at the end of the service and pray for God’s Holy Spirit to move among us, calling others to mission service.

After the session we will gather for a WMU birthday celebration and a reception honoring the Kentucky missionaries as well as our outgoing Kentucky WMU officers. Linda Cooper will complete her term as President, Marcia Ballard as Recording Secretary, and Twyla Sheffield as Development Specialist.

You can also meet missionaries and ministry leaders by attending the general sessions of our Annual Meeting and by attending conferences on Friday and Saturday. Several Kentucky missionaries and ministry leaders will be with us both days.  Among our Kentucky missionaries, you can meet Amy Wilhelmus, director of the Moore Activity Center in Covington; Beth Arnold with BREAK (Bible Release-time Education Association of Kentucky); Harold and Joyce Scroggs, directors of Haven of Rest Family Ministrie;  Kay Hammond, director of the Appalachian Pregnancy Care Center in Pikeville; and Larry Gritton, president of Oneida Baptist Institute.  Several of the missionaries recognized on Friday night will lead a conference about their ministry on Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. including Stacey Burton, Kingdom Kids Ministry, Pulaski Baptist Association and Keith Decker, Cedaridge Ministries, Williamsburg.

Learn more about all of the conferences to be offered at Annual Meeting on the Kentucky WMU web site.  Additional conferences include
Dementia: A Ministry Need and Opportunity
– Ask a Lawyer
– WorldCrafts: How to be a “Soulful” Shopper
– What’s Up with Students
– Missions Education Is Not Just for Kids
– Ready, Set, Go for Children’s Missions
– Starting Boys on a Missions Adventure
– Kentucky Changers
– Hardcore Battle Plan
– Baptist Global Response
– Update on National WMU
– Prayer for the Nations
– Walking Tour of Area Ministries

There will also be a Prayer Walking Guide available for prayerwalking downtown Winchester any time during the weekend.  There will be a WMU History Room with lots of interesting WMU memorabilia from across the years.  And the Bucket Project will be in full swing all weekend.

Every Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting is unique and different from the year before. You don’t want to miss a one. Be there!

Join the Bucket Brigade!

In just a few weeks, Kentucky WMU will gather at Central Baptist Church in Winchester for our Annual Meeting.  Interest in the Bucket Project is gaining momentum across our state.  We have just learned that Randy Foster, retired Baptist Men on Mission Director for the KBC, has 250 buckets that he is donating for the Bucket Project.  So, if you have not yet packed a bucket, please bring items for buckets and join our bucket brigade at Annual Meeting.

Herb and Wanda Edminister, Kentucky coordinators for the Bucket Project, will have tables set up in the gym for bucket items.  During any of the conference periods, you are invited to come help us pack buckets and deliver them out to the parking lot.  We will pack buckets as long as we have materials on hand.  Any unused materials will be distributed to people who will complete the buckets and turn them in later in the year.   Our goal at Annual Meeting is to complete 1400 buckets!  That will get us off to a great start on our goal of 5,000 buckets this year.

Paul Atchison, Ron and Greta Wilson, and others will be on the parking lot to receive completed buckets.  We would like for each person or church dropping off completed buckets to complete a form telling us what church the buckets are from and how many were brought.  We are so grateful for your participation.

Several Winchester hotels are full and other area hotels are now getting reservations. This is going to be a great meeting and you want to be there! Remember that all meal reservations are due by Tuesday, March 25.  Due to contracts with caterers, we must turn in the final count in advance and we do not order extra meals!  Get your reservations in early!! Register by mail or online.

Share the Annual Meeting press release with others. The meeting is free and preregistration is not required (except for meals). Child care and interpretation for the deaf are also available.  We hope to see you in Winchester, April 4-5!