At the recent Kentucky Baptist Convention Mission Board meeting, IMB missionaries Stan and Wendy Meador shared about their work in reaching people of European descent living in Brazil. What caught my immediate attention, however, was what they had to say about the importance of GA and RA in shaping their lives and preparing them to hear God’s call to missions.
In a note after being with us for the meeting, Wendy wrote:
It was a privilege to be able to share. We have been promoting missions education everywhere we go. We are concerned at the growing number of churches that don’t have any WMU organizations at all. Many are replacing this with Women’s Ministry and Awana, neither of which do the job that WMU does in educating Southern Baptists about missions. We wonder if the loss of close to 1000 missionaries would have been necessary if churches had kept WMU and her organizations as an important element of their church.
When people in Southern Baptist churches ask us who Lottie Moon is, then we have a huge problem. One church even asked us how we were supported. I wanted to go double check the sign out front for fear we had walked in the wrong church.
I have been a part of WMU in some form all my life and now my role in our affinity includes sharing ideas for stories for missions education through WMU. WMU should be an essential part of church life.
If there is anything more we can do to help promote missions education, please don’t hesitate to ask. Blessings, Wendy Meador
I appreciate Wendy’s forthright note. I recently said something very similar when speaking on behalf of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering on December 4 in Whitesburg.
I use five words to describe what churches do related to missions: learn, pray, give, go, and send. We in WMU begin with learn because we know that people are not likely to do the others until they know about lostness, about the needs, about how support missions, how people can be involved, and so on. So today we will learn in order that you might be more effective in praying and be compelled to give as well as go. And it my prayer that you will have the opportunity to send people from this church either as missions volunteers or as career missionaries.
Many years ago I sensed a calling to missions. I was willing to go and explored that option but God showed me that my calling was to educate. It is an area that needs greater attention than ever before. The fact that the IMB had to bring home what ended up being over 1,000 missionaries says that something has been lacking and I believe it is learning about missions. We support and pray for what we know about. And when we fail to teach missions to our children, we fail not just for that year, but for years to come. Bringing home the missionaries was a failure that began 20 years ago when many churches decided that other programs were more important than missions. We must educate!
Please understand that I am not against other programs. But when they are used instead of missions, an important dimension of discipleship is left out! For the sake of lost people around the world, please start or strengthen missions education in your church. What you do today in teaching missions and engaging children and students in doing missions will have an impact for years to come.