WMU Makes a Difference

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.

KBC visionKentucky 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!

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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.

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/1379570/1WMU14
Fri Apr 4, 2014 9:45am EDT — Fri Apr 4, 2014 12:00pm EDT   (Central time: 8:45-11:00 a.m.)

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/1379570/2WMU14
Fri Apr 4, 2014 2:00pm EDT — Fri Apr 4, 2014 4:30pm EDT   (Central time: 1:00-3:30 p.m.)

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/1379570/3WMU14
Fri Apr 4, 2014 6:45pm EDT — Fri Apr 4, 2014 9:00pm EDT  (Central time: 5:45-8:00 p.m.)

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/1379570/4WMU14
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!

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Still Cooperating – 50 Years Later

When I was a preschooler, my dad was pastor of the Santa Rosa Baptist Church in Picayune, Mississippi.  We moved to Mobile, Alabama just before I started school.  A few years later we received word that NASA was building a test facility and buying up property in the Picayune area for a buffer zone around the facility.  Santa Rosa was in the buffer zone and because church members were going to be scattered, the congregation decided to disband.

My folks heard about the church disbanding and decided to visit people in the congregation before everyone moved.  As my parents visited, they heard the same question: “What are we going to do with the money (from the sale of the church property)?”   Dad realized that he needed to tell them about the Mississippi Baptist Foundation.  He suggested that they give the money to the Foundation with the earnings designated for the Cooperative Program.

The Santa Rosa folks liked the idea and followed through.  All buildings and contents of the church were donated to the Waveland Baptist Church.  When all expenses were paid, the balance of the money left was $36,171.53. After much prayer, this was given to the Mississippi Baptist Foundation.

It has now been 50 years since Santa Rosa Baptist Church closed the doors of the building, but that was not the end of Santa Rosa Baptist Church and its support of missions through the Cooperative Program. The principal has grown to $62,001.08 and from September 30, 1963 through June 30, 2013, Santa Rosa Baptist Church has given $166,435.21 to the Cooperative Program.

In an invitation to the 50th anniversary reunion, Irma Frierson said, “To God be the glory!  The lives touched cannot be measured.”

My dad, now age 90, and I are going to Picayune this weekend for the reunion.  We are grateful to First Baptist Church of Nicholson for hosting the reunion.  My dad is preaching!  There will be a pot luck dinner (we are Baptists!).

It is probably the last reunion but Santa Rosa Baptist Church will keep giving cooperatively until Jesus comes!

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November Opportunties

One of my life goals is to learn how to be two places at once!  I come close through the Cooperative Program and missions offerings which allow me to be involved in ministry in many places at one time, but as for my body being two places at once, now that’s not likely…though I keep trying!

November 2013 is such a time. We have wonderful ministries going on this month. Please pray for the eternal impact of these efforts with college students, children, and people in the Paducah area.

Engage takes places Friday, November 1 through Sunday, November 3 at the Horse Cave Convention Center.  International students from Kentucky colleges and universities are invited to attend this cultural event which celebrates the presence of internationals on our campuses and introduces them to Jesus.  Sponsored by Baptist Campus Ministry with funding from the Eliza Broadus Offering, this annual event is a great opportunity for American and international students to interact as they share in Family Groups. The weekend closes with a worship service on Sunday morning.

GA 100th ribbonGA JAM will be held on Saturday, November 9, at FBC Bowling Green.  This statewide event for Girls in Action members and leaders will celebrate the 100th birthday of GA, the WMU missions organization for girls in grades 1-6.  Learn more at kywmu.org/gajam.  Many of our groups make a big trip with their girls, coming on Friday to spend the night, then participate in the event on Saturday. Pray for the missionary speakers and all who are leading crafts, games, and other activities.

RISK: Paducah is a new effort to provide evangelistic outreach in the days preceding the state convention annual meeting.  RISK (Reaching Into the State of Kentucky) is the new name of the annual KBC evangelism event in February.  Now RISK goes a step further by providing ministry opportunities in advance of the KBC annual meeting. All Kentucky Baptists are invited to help share the Good News of Jesus Christ through participation in RISK: Paducah, November 1-10.  Ministries include a men’s prison event, women’s prison ministry, Friend Day at local churches, a Wild Game Dinner, Basketball Camp, a girls’ night out, a women’s quilting event, prayerwalking, community surveys and more.  A complete list of ministries and contacts is available on the KBC Annual Meeting page:  www.kybaptist.org/annualmeeting.

Forward Annual Mtg logo 2013KBC Annual Meeting will be Tuesday, November 12, at Lone Oak Baptist Church in Paducah.  Join us for inspiration and fellowship as we focus on the work of Kentucky Baptists in our state and around the world.  Come by and visit the WMU display, as well as the display from Baptist Global Response.  We are partnering with BGR in the Bucket Project in 2014 and this will be a big part of of the 2014 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting.  Get a head start on your buckets!

Even though I cannot be both in Paducah and Horse Cave on November 1-2, or in Bowling Green and Paducah on November 9, I am praying for all of these ministries. Their eternal and global impact will be felt for years to come!

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The Power of AND: Tithes AND Offerings

The Power of And CP brochureThe new KBC Cooperative Program brochure is entitled “The Power of AND.” It rightfully points out that in Acts 1:8 Jesus did not say “or” when He said “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea AND Samaria, AND to the ends of the earth.”  The Cooperative Program brochure makes the point that we can be witnesses here, there AND everywhere as we give through the Cooperative Program.

The Cooperative Program works best when individuals tithe and then churches tithe.  The idea of a tithe of the tithe is referenced in Numbers 18:26 which says, “Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering.’”

As we consider the power of AND, I would add another “and” as in tithes AND offerings.  Both Deuteronomy 12:6 and 12:11 reference bringing the tithe and various offerings to the Lord.  As Southern Baptists we teach tithing.  We know that the tithe is the foundation of faithful stewardship.  We also encourage sacrificial giving through missions offerings.

EBO100YearRibbon&TextCMYKSeptember is the month we receive the Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions.  This is the 100th anniversary year of our annual state missions offering which was started in 1913 at the urging of Eliza Broadus.  Kentucky WMU is the sponsor of the offering and named it in her honor starting in 1976. Our 2013 goal is $1.25 million!

Tithing provides support for the ministries of your church. A tithe of all the tithes received by your church given through the Cooperative Program supports the work of Kentucky Baptists through the Mission Board, Christian education, and the Kentucky Baptist entities.  The tithe of the tithe also provides funds for international missions, North American missions, Southern Baptist seminaries, and other ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Likewise, your offerings provide additional missions support for ministries in Kentucky and around the world as you participate in the Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, and in associational missions.

More than Ever, Make a Difference!

 

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WMU and the Cooperative Program

Yesterday I received an email with an excellent article by Alan Witham on the Cooperative Program.  Entitled The Power of And, Alan wrote in response to the question “How does the Cooperative Program impact lostness in my part of Kentucky?” Alan’s list of things that CP is doing in Kentucky is a great reminder of what CP does in our state AND around the world.

In posting a link to Alan’s article on Facebook, I said, “This is an awesome article about the Cooperative Program and how it impacts lostness. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said that we were to be witnesses in Jerusalem AND Judea AND Samaria AND to the ends of the earth. I don’t see an OR in the list! CP and prayer are vital tools for fulfilling the AND of Acts 1:8.”

Then last night I spent time reading articles for the upcoming Winter/Spring issue of Missions Leadera resource for all church and association WMU leaders that comes out three times a year.  One article in the Winter issue will be about the Cooperative Program.  While national WMU does not receive any CP funds and is self-supporting through the sale of missions education literature and resources, WMU has always been a supporter and promoter of the Cooperative Program.

The article I read is begins with a section on “Accomplishing More Together” and then explores the impact of CP in the world today. But what I like best – and why every WMU leader needs a subscription to Missions Leader – is the section called “Dress It Up!”  The new format for Missions Leader includes lots of creative suggestions for every missions emphasis.  This Cooperative Program article has great visual ideas, an interactive activity with children, a churchwide  object lesson with pieces of rope, and suggestions for connecting with the state convention.  Why is this so important? Because without missions education, our churches do not understand or value our cooperative ways of supporting and doing missions!

So, in answer to the question “How does the Cooperative Program impact lostness in my part of Kentucky?”, I would add that CP support for state WMU helps us “challenge believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God.”  In Kentucky, CP support assists in providing WMU missions consultants and resources to help Kentucky Baptists reach Kentucky and the world for Christ. Each time a WMU organization teaches missions to our children and they begin to share Christ with others, we are impacting lostness. Each time a missions group such as Women on Mission engage in a community ministry project and share Christ through the ministry, we impact lostness.  Each time believers respond to a WMU sponsored missions emphasis through praying and giving, we impact lostness. And each time we teach our churches to value the Cooperative Program, we strengthen the foundation of missions support which will help us keep impacting lostness until Jesus comes again.

The new Fall issue of Missions Leader has just been released and I urge all WMU leaders to get a subscription.  Missions Leader is a unique blend of magazine content, leadership tools, and color posters that come just when you need them. New sections include planning calendars for implementing programs, theme suggestions, and program ideas. Pages are loose-leaf and hole-punched, so you can easily make copies, distribute sections, and organize in a notebook for future use. The new design is easy-to-use and is set up like a personal planning tool to help make your job as a leader more organized and streamlined.

WMU and the Cooperative Program.  Both are great resources to help your church impact lostness in Kentucky AND around the world.

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Preregistration Not Required for WMU Annual Meeting

Our 2013 Kentucky WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting is just a few days away!  We look forward to gathering at First Baptist Church, Hopkinsville, on Friday and Saturday, April 5-6, for two packed days of missions!  If you are still making plans, it is not too late!  Preregistration is not required.

For information about the schedule and conferences offered, please review all of the information posted on our web site:  www.kywmu.org/annualmeeting.

Our 110th Annual Meeting celebrates the 125th birthday of WMU, the 100th birthday of GA (Girls in Action), and the 100th anniversary of the Eliza Broadus Offering for state missions. Everything begins on Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. with an opening session focused on international missions.  Rosalie Hunt, Recording Secretary, National WMU, will provide theme interpretations in each session.  On Friday morning she will portray Ann Judson, first American Baptist woman missionary, who served with her husband Adoniram in Burma.

The morning session will be followed by three conference times (11 a.m., 12 noon, 1 p.m.) which will offer a variety of conferences and activities.  For a list of options, go to: http://www.kywmu.org/annualmeetingconferences

For those who did not register in advance for a boxed lunch or banquet ticket (Friday), a few tickets may be available from those who were not able to attend.  You can check at the ticket table after the Friday morning session.   OR, just bring a sack lunch on Friday!   You may eat your lunch in a conference or take it outside (lovely weather is predicted!).   Due to deadlines with caterers it is necessary for us to have a deadline for meal registration.  Your understanding is appreciated.

The work of Kentucky WMU will be featured on Friday afternoon.  Rosalie will portray Eliza Broadus in her theme interpretation which will lead into our state missions emphasis. Jenifer Shearson will share her WMU testimony, followed by the election of officers and Executive Board members for 2013-14 during the business session.

The Cooperative Program will be highlighted in the Friday evening session. Curtis Woods, Associate Executive Director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention; Barry Allen, President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, and last frontier missionaries will share the importance of the Cooperative Program in funding Southern Baptist missions. The Kentucky Missionary of the Year award will also be presented in the Friday evening session.  Dan Summerlin, president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, will close out the session.

On Saturday morning, conferences and other activities will begin at 9:00 a.m. Nurses are encouraged to attend the BNF meeting which will be offered during the Saturday conference period. WMU is the sponsor of Baptist Nursing Fellowship, a national organization for Christian nurses and medical workers.  Children are also invited participate on Saturday morning and come meet our age-level consultants in the display area at 9:00 a.m.  In addition, a number of kid-friendly conference options are also being offered.   Saturday options are included on the conferences web page:  www.kywmu.org/annualmeetingconferences.

The Saturday session begins at 10:00 a.m. Rosalie Hunt will portray Lottie Moon and the session will include a celebration of the 100th birthday of GA. All participants are invited to wear their missions badges or special outfits. Children are invited to bring a special “birthday in a bag” to help low income families have the resources to provide a birthday celebration for their children.  Laura Morris, a grown up GA, will share her WMU testimony and we will learn more about praying for NAME (North Africa and the Middle East).

A special Disaster Relief lunch will be served the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) Feeding Unit. Participants can experience a typical DR meal and see the unit in operation. Suggested donation is $5.00.  Preregistration for the meal not required and we will serve until we run out or everyone is fed!  We have prepared for 400.

The 2013 Annual Meeting includes a collection project to bring toiletry items for Impact Ministry of Hopkinsville and FamilyFEST, a ministry of WMU to take place in the Paducah and Henderson areas this summer.  Requested items include: toothbrushes, toothpaste, bars of soap, shampoo, combs, razors, and deodorant. Full size (not travel size) preferred.

An offering for Kentucky WMU ministries to missionaries and Missionary Kids (MKs) will be received  Kentucky WMU provides Christmas gifts to Kentucky born international missionaries as well as a fall and spring gift to Kentucky MKs who are attending college in Kentucky.  The Kentucky Missionary Parents Fellowship, another facet of Kentucky WMU ministries to missionaries, will meet on Saturday during the DR lunch.  All parents of international missionaries are invited to participate.

Special tours of local ministries will be offered during Annual Meeting.  There is a walking tour to two nearby ministries offered twice on Friday  (no preregistration required for the Friday tours). Then a special tour of Hopkinsville area ministries will be offered at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The van tour includes Impact Ministry, Christian Women’s Job Corps, Oak Meadows Ranch, and Challenge House III.  Space is still available on the Saturday afternoon tour.  Please call the office to preregister (so that we have enough van space!).  Call us at 866-489-3534 or 502-489-3534.   For more information about the tours, go to www.kywmu.org/ministrytours

We look forward to seeing you in Hopkinsville!   The Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting is the gathering place for everyone who cares about missions!

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Join the Annual Meeting Celebration!

The 110th Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting will be held at First Baptist Church, Hopkinsville, and celebrates the 125th birthday of WMU, the 100th birthday of GA (Girls in Action), and the 100th anniversary of the Eliza Broadus Offering for state missions. The Woman’s Missionary Union Annual Meeting begins on Friday morning, April 5th, 9:00 a.m. and concludes on Saturday at noon.

Rosalie Hunt, Recording Secretary, National WMU, will provide theme interpretations in each session. Rosalie is a former missionary and author of Bless God and Take Courage,  Jason Stewart, Music Consultant, Kentucky Baptist Convention, will lead the music. Emory Riley, Minister of Music at First Baptist, will be the pianist.

Last Frontier missionaries in Southeast Asia and NAME (North Africa and the Middle East) will speak on Friday morning. Three conference times on Friday (11 a.m., 12 noon, 1 p.m.) will offer a variety of conferences and activities. A boxed lunch (by preregistration) will be served.

The work of Kentucky WMU will be featured on Friday afternoon, including the role of the Eliza Broadus Offering in state missions.  Officers and Executive Boards members for 2013-14 will be elected during the business session.

A 125th Birthday Celebration and Heritage Fund Banquet will be held in the Christian Life Center at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 which includes a donation to the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund. Participants are also invited to come early for the banquet and share their WMU story during the WMU Time Line Activity which begins 4:30 p.m.

The Cooperative Program will be highlighted in the Friday evening session. Curtis Woods, Associate Executive Director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention and others will share the importance of the Cooperative Program in funding Southern Baptist missions. The Kentucky Missionary of the Year award will also be presented in the Friday evening session.

On Saturday morning, conferences and other activities will begin at 9:00 a.m. Nurses are encouraged to attend the BNF meeting which will be offered during the Saturday conference period. WMU is the sponsor of Baptist Nursing Fellowship, a national organization for Christian nurses and medical workers.

Children are also invited participate on Saturday morning.  A number of kid-friendly options are being offered.  The Saturday session begins at 10:00 a.m. and will include a celebration of the 100th birthday of GA. All participants are invited to wear their missions badges or special outfits. Children are invited to bring a special “birthday in a bag” to help low income families have the resources to provide a birthday celebration for their children.

A special Disaster Relief lunch will be served the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) Feeding Unit. Participants can experience a typical DR meal and see the unit in operation. Suggested donation is $5.00.

The 2013 Annual Meeting includes a collection project to bring toiletry items for Impact Ministry of Hopkinsville and FamilyFEST, a ministry of WMU to take place in the Paducah and Henderson areas this summer.  Requested items include: toothbrushes, toothpaste, bars of soap, shampoo, combs, razors, and deodorant. Full size (not travel size) preferred.

An offering for Kentucky WMU ministries to missionaries and Missionary Kids (MKs) will be received  Kentucky WMU provides Christmas gifts to Kentucky born international missionaries as well as a fall and spring gift to Kentucky MKs who are attending college in Kentucky.  The Kentucky Missionary Parents Fellowship, another facet of Kentucky WMU ministries to missionaries, will meet on Saturday during the DR lunch.  All parents of international missionaries are invited to participate.

A special tour of Hopkinsville area ministries will be offered at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. Preregistration is required with a limit of 100 participants. Transportation will be provided.

Pre-registration for meals closes on Tuesday, March 26.  Contact Kentucky WMU for registration information or download an informational brochure from the Kentucky WMU web site: www.kywmu.org/annualmeeting.  Online registration is also available.

From start to finish, we will focus on how The Story Lives On through WMU and as we share Christ around the world.  Everyone who cares about missions will want to be at our meeting in Hopkinsville.  Come hear missionaries, attend conferences, visit displays, and participate our WMU birthday celebration. You will enjoy the fellowship, music, and missions inspiration.  Be there!

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WMU Report at the KBC Annual Meeting

It is always an honor to represent Kentucky WMU at events such as the Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. Our recent meeting at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington was a special time for gathering with Kentucky Baptists and celebrating 175 years of  ministry.  Here is the text of the WMU report given in the afternoon session. 

When I read a good novel, I often find myself wishing for a sequel so that the story could continue on.  In WMU we have good news, The Story Lives On.  It’s a story that began in Luke 8:1-3 with women who were the first to provide financial support for the ministry of Jesus. Women have always found a way to raise money for missions! 

It has continued across the years through the work of women like Annie Armstrong, Lottie Moon, and Eliza Broadus.  It continues today in the work of missionaries, missions education leaders, and missions volunteers.

In 2013 we will be celebrating two WMU milestones – the 125th birthday of WMU and the 100th anniversary of the Eliza Broadus Offering.  When WMU was formed in 1888, Eliza was elected as the first vice-president from Kentucky, a position she held until 1920.  She was a leader in Kentucky WMU for a period of 50 years and led Kentucky WMU to start a state missions offering in 1913. Kentucky WMU named the offering in her honor starting in 1976.

Our 2012 state missions emphasis theme is Bold Hope.  The messenger bags include a copy of this year’s prayer guide which features eight ministries which give hope to people who need to know Jesus. The prayer guide also includes information about the Eliza Broadus Offering and how it will be used for Kentucky missions this year. Thank you for your gifts and support of Kentucky missions.

In WMU we have a new tag line – missions for life.  It is a great descriptor of what we want to happen in the life of every believer. It also points to the staying power of WMU – for life.  While many other ministries have come and gone, WMU is still at work to carry out our vision to challenge Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God.

I believe that the resilience of WMU is found in objectives which guide everything we do and which are practical expressions of being involved in the mission of God. The objectives are to:
– Pray for missions
– Engage in mission action and witnessing
– Learn about missions
– Support missions
– Develop spiritually towards a missions lifestyle
– Participate in the work of the church and the denomination

These objectives are things we want every missions organization, women’s or men’s group, Bible study class, and congregation to be about.  In listing them, there is no order according to importance.  Each objective informs and impacts the other.  They are so interrelated that it is difficult to think of them independently.  Taken together, these objectives provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to missions for life.

We invite you to join us in our celebration as we celebrate the radical stories of WMU – past and present, connect our stories as we forge our future, and commit to tell the gospel story and ignite a passion for the Great Commission in all generations because “The Story Lives On.”

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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.

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