As an auxiliary to the Kentucky Baptist Convention, our role has always been that of “helper” to the convention and to Kentucky Baptist Churches. Six objectives guide our work and while they are familiar, it is vital that we revisit them often.
- Pray for missions.
- Engage in mission action and witnessing.
- Learn about missions.
- Support missions.
- Develop spiritually towards a missions life-style.
- Participate in the work of the church and denomination.
Kentucky WMU plans events, training, ministry opportunities, and distributes funds to achieve these objectives. As we do this, we come alongside the KBC to “help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.” A the same time, we are grateful for Cooperative Program support that allows us to have a top-notch missions education staff and for the Eliza Broadus Offering which is used for Kentucky Baptist missions ministries, including missions education materials, events and resources.
While we are still receiving gifts to the 2013-14 Eliza Broadus Offering, allocations for 2014-15 have been set. In the coming year EBO will assist Kentucky Baptists through $995,000 distributed for the work of the KBC ($860,000), associations ($35,000), and ministries across our state ($100,000). This is more than twice the CP funding of $430,000 designated for Kentucky WMU in 2014-15. Of the Cooperative Program funds designated for the work of Kentucky WMU in the coming year, nearly half has been designated by the KBC as “Cooperative Program Resourcing.” This designation recognizes the important role of WMU in educating and supporting the total work of Kentucky Baptists and Southern Baptists
EBO was at work last weekend through SALT (State Association Leadership Training). It will be at work this summer through camps, overnights, Kentucky Changers, Excel, Familyfest, Baptist Nursing Fellowship, and much more. Your EBO gifts help to provide many missions opportunities, inspiring participants to achieve the WMU objectives. And when the WMU objectives are being carried out, the results are felt across Kentucky and around the world!
A recent article in Baptist Press cited a story from Georgia with the headline “Georgia WMU remains backbone of strong missions giving.” The story reported on research by state missionary Tom Crites, who oversees the state convention’s Research Services. Crites said “the document affirms the long-held belief that WMU is the lifeline to missions support, both prayerfully and financially. What is surprising,” he said, “is just how strong that connection is.” Crites went on to say “The research reveals that churches with WMU groups give nearly 80% of all gifts to the Cooperative Program.” “That is a staggering amount,” he concluded.
I was asked to give a response to this story which came out right after I had written the first part of this blog as my EBO at Work article for the May 20 issue of the Western Recorder. Here is the quote I sent: It does not surprise me that those who studied missions giving in Georgia found that WMU was the common denominator among churches that are strong missions givers. We did a similar analysis in 2007 of Kentucky giving and found that churches with WMU gave 83% of that year’s Cooperative Program receipts. The work of WMU to educate our churches about missions and then to get them involved in doing missions has a definite impact, and one way to measure that impact is through Cooperative Program and missions offering giving. Simply stated, churches with WMU give more than those without.
Let me add one other observation. In the 2007 analysis that we did of giving in Kentucky, only 62% of the churches reported having WMU enrollment. That means that 83% of CP that year was given by 62% of the churches. Thus a word to the wise in our denomination would be to help us strengthen WMU in all of our churches. Encourage the work of WMU in churches. Encourage pastors to be WMU supporters. Not only will missions giving be stronger, but since CP giving is generally based on a percentage of undesignated receipts, strengthening WMU will strengthen the church as a whole, including church finances. What would happen if more churches had active WMU work? I believe the results would be “staggering.”
The 2013 state missions theme was “More than Ever, Make a Difference.” The closing challenge said: “How about it? Are you ready to pray, give and go? Are you ready to make a difference? Remember:
– You can make a difference.
– Your prayers make a difference.
– Your gifts make a difference.
– Your church can make a difference.
– Your association can make a difference.
– Kids can make a difference.
– Youth can make a difference.
– Learning makes a difference.
More than ever, let’s make a difference!