EBO at Work August 2017

As August comes to a close, we will close the books on the 2016 Eliza Broadus Offering. As of this writing (8/24/17), the offering stands at $1,212,880.36. Gifts will be received through August 31 for the 2016 offering. Thank you, Kentucky Baptists, for faithful giving.

The 2017 Rise Up and Shine materials were mailed in July and every church should now have their standing order of posters, prayer guides, and envelopes. Take note of the new envelope design which has the words State Missions Offering in a number of different languages used in Kentucky Baptist churches.

You may have noticed the copyright symbol ® used in connection with the words Eliza Broadus Offering and Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions. Kentucky WMU began the annual Kentucky state missions Offering in 1913, named the offering for Eliza Broadus in 1976, and are the stewards of the offering to this day. We registered a trademark on the offering name because we understand the importance of this stewardship. In a day when materials can be easily copied and misappropriated, Kentucky WMU took this step as a protection for the name and use of the offering. Kentucky WMU will continue, as we have for many years, in a cooperative spirit to allocate the offering in consultation with the Kentucky Baptist Convention in order to enhance missions in Kentucky through the KBC, associations, affiliated ministries, and Kentucky WMU.

Missions Mobilization through the KBC is a prime area of ministry supported by EBO. Teresa Parrett is often the connector between needs and volunteers, between missionaries and resources. Teresa also works with persons that God is calling into missions to find their place of service. Just recently, Teresa joined us at Familyfest in Lebanon and was introduced to a lady with a heart for missions. When Teresa explained about Kentucky MSC and that she qualified to serve as a Kentucky missionary, tears came into her eyes. She told Teresa that she had wanted to serve in Africa as a missionary since she was a child, but life had taken a different turn. She told Teresa that her current ministry is now her Africa.

Teresa said “We hear this same story over and over, of how God calls people to serve many years earlier, and they are now finding their place in ministry. Many of them thought it would be international missions, but are finding out it is right here in Kentucky.”

Thanks to support from the Eliza Broadus Offering and the Cooperative Program, Teresa is helping to connect many volunteers with missions needs, helping Kentucky Baptists to Rise Up and Shine as we reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.

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Changing Houses – Changing Lives

Two weeks of 2017 Kentucky Changers are “in the books” as they say with two more to go. Kentucky Changers made their first trip to Shelby Baptist Association in June where they completed 17 projects. Steve Coleman was the camp pastor and Brandon Watkins led worship music.

As a member of a Shelby Baptist Association church, I was very excited to have Kentucky Changers in my association. It was wonderful to see people I know from Shelby churches working together to host changers. This included organizing the projects, making lunches, serving as runners for crews, and a myriad of other jobs. Due to being in Phoenix for the Southern Baptist Convention, I was not able to be on site during the week but did attend the celebration service on Thursday evening with the homeowners. What a great time to see the before and after pictures of the projects and to hear from the homeowners who were helped.

I was able to spend a week with Changers in Harrodsburg. There we slept on the floor at Mercer County High School, worshipped in area churches, and worked on 12 projects. Projects including roofing, painting, and building decks and ramps. The homeowner stories of things that had happened helped the Changers to understand how much their work meant.

After worship each evening, Changers gathered in church groups for evening devotions. Using a devotional booklet called “The Blueprint,” written annually for Kentucky Changers, we discussed verses from 1 John and the theme “Love Out Loud.” I was able to participate with four young ladies from one church who had been coming to Changers for several years. I appreciated their deep faith and commitment. They were all at the age when they certainly could have been doing things like summer jobs or other activities. Instead, they chose to come to Changers, to be a part of changing lives, one house at a time.

For several days in Harrodsburg, I served as the photographer and visited all the work sites. I spent time talking with the students about their experiences and encouraging them to be involved in ongoing missions through Acteens, Challengers, or Youth on Mission. I also promoted the Creative Ministries Festival with students and leaders. Then on Wednesday, I was able to work with one crew all day. While most of the team worked on building a back porch and steps, I helped a student powerwash the house, then we painted the shutters and a glider.

At the close of the week, one Kentucky Changer posted this on Facebook: “Man, this week has been great ! I wish it didn’t come to an end! I learned a lot & the Kentucky Changers Ministry Team inspired me a lot . I learned this [world] is not a forever home so these aren’t my forever friends, family. My forever home is heaven & it’s waiting on me. So the stupid things I do have to stop for Him. I’ve done 4 things [this week]: 1. Rebuild a garage. 2. Spread the gospel. 3. Tell my testimony to a random neighbor that I had no clue I was gonna meet & I probably changed lives this weekend & it feels great! 4. Sleep & work & live with random people who now I’m in contact with. #KentuckyChangers – Best Experience Of My Life ❤️‼️”

Homeowners were touched by the work and witness of Changers. Some homeowners were believers for whom the work of the volunteers was a great blessing to them. Others heard the gospel for the first time because of the work of Kentucky Changers. As the Changers worked, they also prayerwalked in the community. Their presence was a testimony of God’s love and grace as neighbors watched not only the transformation of a house, but also the walk of teenagers who had come to serve.

Pray for our final two weeks of Changers as we serve in Albany (July 1-7) and Greensburg (July 8-15). Pray for a powerful witness in these communities and for students and homeowners to be saved. Pray about the weather as well as safety in travel and in service for all who participate.

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MAKK Impact

Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids is a three-day mission trip for children in grades 4-6 and their leaders. During MAKK we have Bible study, crafts, games, drama, and music. A missionary shares their work at each location.

I was able to join in the MAKK experience this year in Lexington. In our closing session, participants were asked to write on Post-It Notes things that they were thankful for. The notes show the impact of MAKK on the children and adults who participated. Here are some of the things they shared:

  • Kids with big hearts
  • All of the friends I made
  • Meeting all the people and getting to go to the rest home
  • Being able to fill sack lunches for the homeless
  • For the Lexington Rescue Mission
  • I am thankful for the kids learning how to show God’s love to others. And for meeting new people that we helped
  • For nursing homes
  • For the many volunteers to help share Christ with kids
  • Telling people about Jesus at the nursing home
  • Helping seniors
  • Two salvations!
  • Getting to see joyful faces on the people at the nursing home
  • I got to go on mission and serve others in God’s Name
  • That we helped tell people about Jesus at the nursing home
  • For all the ministries we got to experience this weekend
  • Chance to serve Miss Shirley at the nursing home and pray with her. We said John 3:16 together.
  • Being saved by Jesus!
  • The way we worked to show God’s love to others. Very rewarding.
  • I’m thankful we got to go to Mission Lexington and help the people
  • Baking for Ronald McDonald House
  • Serving the Lord with other Christians. Meeting new people
  • I enjoyed loving on the patients at the nursing home
  • Talking and working with the nursing home patients
  • For making new friends and baking
  • That we got to help clean
  • Lots of fun
  • A great week

The thankful note that made me smile the most said “We got to conquer the world!!” Sending children and adults out to prayerwalk on Thursday (in the rain!), serve in area ministries on Friday, and have Bible School nursing homes on Saturday might not seem like conquering the world to some, but I understand what this child meant. Through MAKK, children conquered fears of new places and people. They conquered fears that they were asked to do a ministry they had never done before. And we know that whenever we go in the Name of Jesus, Satan is conquered. Yes, to the child on the Green team who wrote the note, we conquered the world in Jesus Name.

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This is the perfect time for the Christmas Backpacks project!

Did you know that 17.3 million children in the U.S. live in poverty? You can help through the Christmas Backpacks Project. Kentucky Baptists are filling new backpacks with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, food and clothing for children. These will be distributed at Christmas events in December where the gospel will be shared.

Christmas seems a long way off for many, but this is the perfect time to be shopping for the Christmas Backpacks Project. School supplies go on sale over the summer at many stores. And because Christmas Backpacks need to be delivered in October, churches can get started over the summer. It makes for a great VBS missions project or a Back to School ministry. Each church is asked to register the number of backpacks that you will prepare with the KBC and download gift tags to mark each backpack with the age and gender child to receive it.

Here is how to participate and the Backpack Collection Timeline:

How to Participate & Pack

  • Register online the number of backpacks your church is committed to pack and share.
  • Begin with a NEW, zippered backpack.
  • Determine the gender and age for the backpacks, then mark a label for each backpack accordingly.
  • Fill the backpacks with NEW gifts (item list).
  • Securely tape the labels to the outside of the backpacks.
  • Pray specifically for the child receiving the backpack and his or her family.
  • Deliver the backpacks to your designated collection site on the assigned day (associational collection site list).

October 16-20, 2017
Churches deliver backpacks in boxes to associational collection sites.
Each church must:

  • Ensure that each backpack is packed with toys, clothing, food items, a copy of the “Christmas Story” leaflet, and a copy of the Mailbox Bible Club postcard.
  • Ensure that each backpack has a label specifying the age and gender of its contents.
  • Pack four to six backpacks each in 18″x18″x16″ cardboard boxes (available at Lowes, Home Depot, Staples, etc.), keeping those designated for the same ages and genders together when possible.
  • Transport the committed number of backpacks to its designated associational collection site.

October 23-27, 2017
Associations deliver backpacks in boxes to regional collection sites.
Each association must:

  • Ensure backpacks are labeled and packed (four to six backpacks each in 18″x18″x16″ cardboard boxes), keeping those designated for the same ages and genders together when possible.
  • Transport boxed backpacks to its designated regional collection site.

October 30-November 3, 2017
All boxed backpacks will be picked up from the regional collection sites and distributed to the requesting ministries and church plants.

The great thing about this schedule is that churches deliver the Christmas Backpacks in October. The schedule does not interfere with the collection of other Christmas ministries (such as Operation Christmas Child) which are usually due in November. Also, by participating in the Christmas Backpacks, your church can provide a gospel witness to a child at Christmas right here in the United States in addition to participation in international projects.

So, start watching for school supplies to go on sale. Look for bargains on new clothing, toys, and other items. Our Kentucky goal is 5,000 backpacks. Half of that number will be used in Kentucky, and half will go to Cincinnati, a Send City with the North American Mission Board.

Join us in sharing the gift of love and the gospel with a child in need this Christmas!

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Missions Education Still Having an Impact

A recent email made me smile.  My friend Ann had noted a Facebook post by a friend and they had been texting each other about an upcoming mission trip. Ann was eager for me to know that things learned in missions as a child were still having an impact. She even sent a screen shot of their texting with each other.

Ann wrote:
Last night a friend from Oakland Ave Baptist Church posted on Facebook about about getting ready to go to Ecuador for her 12th year. I asked what group she went with, etc., etc. Tonight I was reading in Genesis where God blessed Issac and he reaped a hundredfold of what he planted. I prayed for a hundredfold for WMU age level organizations at Lone Oak First Baptist Church in terms of mission education and future missionaries and for a hundredfold on the mission trip to Brazil from LOFBC that I’m participating in.  I wondered, “how can we have a hundredfold?”  Then the Lord reminded me of the conversation with Judy from Oakland Avenue Baptist Church last night!  Attached is a screen shot of the last part of our conversation.  Judy and I are part of the hundredfold that Dorothy Crace and other leaders at Oakland Avenue reaped! Praise the Lord!  

If you are a missions education leader with preschoolers, children, or students, thank you! You have no idea what will be the outcome of your investment today in the lives of those you teach.

Heather Keller, Children’s Consultant with National WMU, asks churches what outcomes do they want to see in 20 years in the lives of the children they are reaching. What do they want their children to value as adults? That is taking the long view of what we do today!  The online conversation between Ann and Judy shows that Heather is on to something!

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Help us welcome Chinese teachers to Kentucky

I recently received a phone call alerting me to a ministry need in our state. The caller has become friends with Chinese teachers who are here in Kentucky in a type of exchange program where they come to spend a school year working in an American school. The caller was brokenhearted because she had just learned that many of the friends of the Chinese teachers that she has befriended have no one who has welcomed them.

The caller sent me an email which I share here :
As I told you over the telephone, this all began with giving a ride in the rain and then on to Walmart.  We include the girls (which is what we call them affectionately and consider them our daughters-hand picked by God) in our life.  We take them shopping, to church, events we think might interest them and local activities.  They have become good friends with people outside the school district and have experienced our culture first hand.  They have no choice but to judge us by our movies which they quickly learn is not accurate.  We are not wealthy people and cannot take them to expensive tourist destinations but they are very happy to experience American culture any way they can.  We include them in our holidays. Most of them cry and say they were hoping to see what a real Christmas in an American family would be like.  They help me decorate for Christmas and this gives me opportunity to teach what each thing symbolizes and how it relates to the true Christmas story.   

We celebrate their Chinese New Year with them and they love to cook for us. They are happy to experience our food outside the school cafeteria and are always surprised how different home cooking is.  Its the little things that make our culture what it is and they leave with an accurate appreciation of the people who make up America.  Our friends consider them our daughters too and invite them to weddings, birthdays, and even funerals. Everything is a teaching moment and they are very curious, just like we would be in China.

Some have left behind husbands and children for this American experience and it is so sad when our girls tell us how lonely some of the other teachers are.  Often when I meet teachers from other counties, they will hug me and say “I wish I worked in your county so I would have an American mom who cares about me.”  That breaks my heart!  Not because I am anybody but because I know there are plenty of Christians out there who are praying for an opportunity to show Jesus love to someone but they don’t know where that someone is. Maybe in their own town, but they are not with the school system or they assume the school system is keeping that teacher busy.  American teachers are usually too busy for their own family and are not able to take in another person.

Actually my family is in the perfect position for this because my kids are grown, no grandkids to keep me hopping, I work in the school system as a paraeducator so I’m not as busy as a classroom teacher, and we have a van.  There are four teachers in my county so the van is very important!  

We have learned so much from them about Chinese people and culture. I was able to teach for a month in China which I thoroughly enjoyed. It definitely gave me first hand insight into their culture.  We have been blessed to be able to lead five of our daughters to Christ. They are active in their churches in China and one has led her parents to Christ. The other ten daughters have not yet committed to Christ but we know seeds have been planted and they periodically contact us with questions about the Bible or about salvation.  We make sure each one returns home with a Bible that is easy for them to read and understand.  

The daughter I left out, V, was already a Christian and her time here helped make her a leader at home. China only allows one church in every city so if it is not your “flavor” you stay home.  V does not want to attend [the state approved] church and her house church leaders disappeared 10 years ago so her family has been hungry for Christian fellowship and discipleship.  She brought her husband and child here last summer and spent 3 weeks with us. It was the first time her husband and child had ever been in a church that was different than the one at home.  It really makes me appreciate our freedom of religion here.  Her husband is working on starting a church but trying to figure out how to do it safely.

This email has been very long and I apologize. I just wanted to give you a sense of what we are doing and how simple it is so you can help us minister to the Chinese teachers that God is sending to Ky.  Who knows how long this opportunity will be available? 

If you would like to befriend a Chinese teacher, we are aware of teachers in the following school districts at this time:  Adair, Barren, Butler, Cloverport Independent, Daviess, Hardin, Logan, Meade, Metcalf, Muhlenberg, Oldham, Simpson, Todd, Warren.

Please contact me for specific schools in these counties/districts. We have direct contact information for only a few of the teachers but are aware of nearly 40 schools with Chinese teachers. You may work in one of the schools or have other contacts. For more information, please email: [email protected]

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Mats for the Homeless

Homelessness is a problem across our state and around the world. While there are many reasons for this problem and many attempts to help people in need, homelessness persists. A project involving discarded grocery bags is one way to help.

Bill Barker, missionary with the North American Mission Board, serves as National Director for Appalachian Regional Ministry and Mississippi River Ministry. Bill will be with us for the 2017 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting at Central Baptist in Corbin. While his primary task will be to introduce the Christmas Backpact Project, we’ve also asked Bill to share about NAMB’s work through Send Relief.

Bill is in contact with many of our Kentucky missionaries as he partners with KBC Missions Mobilization Coordinator, Teresa Parrett. He frequently is given items to donate to ministries as he travels across ARM / MRM areas. Bill suggested that WMU groups might like to bring mats for the homeless as part of our collection of items for Eastern Kentucky Ministries at Annual Meeting.

Printed instructions for making the mats are found on both the National WMU and Kentucky WMU web site. There is also an instructional video available on YouTube.

Bill says that these mats are a welcome item for many who are homeless. While we all want to do even more, this is a start.

If you can’t make mats, there are plenty of items you can bring to Annual Meeting to help with ministry in Eastern Kentucky.  Learn more: kywmu.org/annualmeeting/ministryproject.

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Celebrate Missions at the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting

Annual Mtg promo image lo resCome celebrate missions with us at the 2017 Kentucky WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting. It promises to be a special time of celebrating missions involvement and what God is doing around the world. “By All Means” will be the focus of the two-day event at Central Baptist Church in Corbin. The program begins on Friday morning, March 31, 9:00 a.m. and concludes on Saturday, April 1 at noon.

Katie-Orr coppedKatie Orr, author of the Everyday Faith, Hope, Love, and Peace series from WMU’s New Hope Press, will provide Bible study theme interpretations in all sessions.

Bill BarkerEastern Kentucky missionaries will be featured in the Friday morning session. In addition, Bill Barker, National Director of Appalachian Regional Ministry and Mississippi River Ministry, North American Mission Board will introduce the NAMB Christmas Backpack project, a new project for Kentucky WMU and the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

The morning session will be followed by an Eastern Kentucky Missions Extravaganza which will include variety of interactive missions experiences and conferences on Friday from 11:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Participants can also eat a boxed lunch, visit displays, and go to the book store during this time.

Annual meeting attendees are asked to bring items for Eastern Kentucky ministries such as baby wipes, diapers, and clothes; new underwear and socks for children and adults; new tennis shoes and children’s coats; small toys; school supplies, backpacks; and full size hygiene items. Large print King James Bibles have also been specifically requested. Donated items will be sorted at the meeting and divided among ministries represented at the event.

Kentucky missionaries serving with the International Mission Board will share their work in the Friday evening session. Stan and Wendy Meador, serving with American Peoples, and AE, serving with Central Asian Peoples, will be featured. The program will also include reports from volunteers who have served this past year with Baptist Global Response in food and seed distribution in Lesotho.

Roxanne Nanney, Minister of Music at Brandenburg First Baptist Church will lead the music in all sessions, accompanied by Libby Thomas. The Central Baptist Church choir will present a short concert at 6:30 p.m. Friday to begin the evening session.

Oneida 2014_choirThe final session begins Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Ron Shaw, foster parent with Sunrise Children’s Services, will share his testimony followed by a presentation of the Kentucky Missionary of the Year Award, and a Commissioning Service for new Kentucky missionaries. Bill Barker will speak about NAMB’s Send Relief ministry followed by a concert by the Oneida Baptist Institute Choir.

There will also be a special missions time for children on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. led by Stacy Nall and Jon Auten. Children will meet Bill Barker and participate in a missions activity.

An offering for Kentucky WMU ministries to missionaries and Missionary Kids (MKs) will be received during the meeting. 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. Those unable to attend the annual meeting but who want to support Kentucky WMU ministries to missionaries are encouraged to send a gift for the offering or mail a donation to the Kentucky WMU office.

A boxed lunch will be available on Friday at noon at a cost of $9.00 which must be ordered in advance. The Baptist Nursing Fellowship and Executive Board Reunion dinners will be at the church on Friday at 5:00 p.m. Pre-registration is required for all meals and preschool child care. Annual Meeting information and online reservations can be found on Kentucky WMU web site: kywmu.org/annualmeeting.

I am excited about this year’s annual meeting. The focus on Eastern Kentucky ministries will not only be informative, but through the hands-on activities, you will gain a deeper understanding of the needs. We are family in WMU and you will want to be part of our annual “family reunion.” Come enjoy the fellowship, music, and missions inspiration of the entire program. Learn how Kentucky WMU facilitates missions involvement!

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Missionaries Confirm the Importance of Missions Education

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.

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Message to the Kentucky WMU Executive Board, October 2016

Each year I bring a report to the Executive Board during October Board meeting. When I make this report each year, it is a time to reflect on the past, report on the present, and reveal direction for the future.

As I reflect on the past, I know that I am grateful. Grateful to the Lord for directing me to Kentucky, grateful for those who have gone before me, grateful for those who have served on our Board and our staff. I am particularly grateful that people have been gracious, encouraging, and supportive in so many ways. I am grateful for the opportunities to have represented Kentucky WMU across our state, at national WMU, and even around the world.

You have heard the staff reports on the present. We have an excellent staff who are all hard workers. We’ve recently all taken an on-line version of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and I took note that every person on our staff has a J in the mix of four letters that describe their personality type. That means we are all highly structured. Now beyond that, we have many differences, but we are united around one purpose – missions.

Back during the summer, we were asked to participate in shooting a Cooperative Program video. What KBC wanted was for each agency to do something that represented their work and end with a group of people saying thank you.  I chose to do this at Kentucky Changers. As I tried to think of a way to say what Kentucky WMU does, all I could come up with was a list of a lot of WMU activities. So that is what we did. (NOTE: This video will be shown at the KBC Annual Meeting on November 15 and posted on our web site after the meeting. We have been asked not to release it yet.)

slide3Not long after making this video, we were having a discussion about the work of WMU in a staff meeting and we were asked to describe succinctly what WMU does. Someone said, “WMU facilitates missions involvement.”

I immediately latched on to that statement. Short and to the point. Just think about it. When we plan things like Kentucky Changers or Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids, we facilitate the missions involvement of those who come. It fits with what KBC has as our mission statement: “The Kentucky Baptist Convention, created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.” Kentucky WMU helps KBC do this as we help churches learn, pray, give, go, and send. By planning Changers and MAKK, we have helped churches have a way to send students and children on mission. Now of course, we know that the participants have also learned about missions and prayed during their experience.  (See Kentucky Changers Video from Frankfort, July 2016).

When Kentucky WMU sends out posters, prayer guides and envelopes for each of the missions offerings, we facilitate the missions involvement of 2400 churches who have the opportunity to learn, pray, and give for missions.

Kentucky WMU partnered with Baptist Global Response and the KBC in 2014 and again this year to do the Bucket Project. By organizing and promoting this effort, we are helping individuals and churches to be involved in taking the gospel to people with AIDS. (See CP/Buckets of Hope Video.)

When Kentucky WMU plans a missions trip and people join us, we facilitate their opportunity to go. When we teach leaders to plan and conduct local mission action ministries, and they go home to their own churches and associations to do this, Kentucky WMU has had a part in helping people go get involved in missions.

In 2017 we will have many ways to get involved. We will promote these through an insert that will be in the February 2017 Missions Mosaic. It promotes events in 2017 from about February up to the end of July.  It is built around the theme of WMU facilitates missions involvement. Be on the lookout for it when your February Mosaic comes.  Share it with others.  If you need copies, it will be on the web and you can print more.

I spoke in Daviess-McLean association this past Monday night, and went through a lot of the events that Kentucky WMU sponsors.

slide9 slide10 slide12 slide11 slide13 slide15 slide14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Larry Gritton, president of Oneida Baptist Institute, spoke after me, and jokingly said, “I’m sorry you don’t have enough to do.”

We have plenty to do and a wonderful staff who lead these activities.  My job some days is just to get out of their way. But I am also the one who is approached by others when they are seeking WMU partnership, involvement, support. At that point, my job is to envision possibilities. I don’t always get it right but it is exciting to be part of new things.

Sometimes we have to let go of things that are beloved to us in order to embrace new opportunities. This was the case three years ago when we knew we had to give up having camp at Cedar Crest. But letting go of camp opened the door for Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids, a tremendous mission trip opportunity for children in grades 4-6 and their leaders.

I am excited about the future direction of GA activities through Wild About Missions. Due to scheduling, we cannot even do the camp overnights at Jonathan Creek and Cedar Crest next summer. But Stacy came to me with a new idea for GA activities to do instead, and I think they are going to be great as girls have an overnight at the Louisville Zoo, a day at the Kentucky Horse Park, and an overnight at Camp Joy and trip to Mammoth Cave. These are new ways to learn about missions.

I must say that I am excited about the future for national WMU. Our new executive director, Sandy Wisdom-Martin, is creative, funny, caring. It is God’s providence that Sandy has several articles in this year’s WMU Year Book, and those were written long before we began talking with her about becoming our new exec. She also has a great series of articles in Mosaic about practical things you can make for missions. I am saving every one of the articles.  But I want you to hear Sandy in her own words. (See Introducing Sandy Wisdom-Martin video)

What do I see for the future of Kentucky WMU?

  • Strengthen partnerships. We need to work even more closely with other KBC agencies and institutions such as Oneida and Sunrise.  The ministry projects we are doing this weekend are a way to partner with church planting as we write notes to church planter wives and as we provide the makings for s’mores for the international student retreat. Every time that others come to WMU to ask for help and find us ready and willing, it strengthens relationships and once again, WMU facilitates missions involvement. There will be opportunities for us with the KBC in partnership missions as well. I want to be ready to say yes when we are asked.  I can also say that we are partnering within the KBC. Jason Stewart is joining us in planning and promoting the next Creative Ministries Festival. We believe we are going to connect with a new audience for this ministry.  And of course, for WMU, creative ministries is an avenue for sharing the gospel, which is what we are all about.
  • Grow the Eliza Broadus Offering. Our state missions offering has remained steady but we have not met goal in a number of years. There are missions needs in Kentucky that we need to be part of and support through the offering.
  • Grow other sources of funding for Kentucky WMU such as the Heritage Fund. My goal has been to get to the point that every dollar of EBO is used for other state missions work and none kept for Kentucky WMU. We have been very blessed that when CP began to slide, we had begun to have real growth in other income sources. That growth allowed us to maintain our staffing level and continue on. While we are grateful to see an upturn in CP, Kentucky WMU needs to have other resources as well to keep growing our work.
  • Advocate for missions education in the local church. This has been a long standing purpose of WMU, but the need is critical. I think the bringing home of over 1,000 IMB missionaries last year was a wakeup call to many. As a result, CP has grown this year. I also think there is a greater awareness that adults in our churches don’t just wake up one day and say “I think we need to support the Cooperative Program, and that we need to give more for missions.” Rather, attitudes about supporting missions are cultivated over time and through experience. So, it is important that we start talking about the Cooperative Program and our missions offerings with our children so that these are not foreign terms to them when they get to be adults. And for folks coming into our churches who did not grow up in missions, we must teach them as well. In the Development Committee, it was suggested that Kentucky WMU develop a Missions 101 conference and display, where we teach what CP, LMCO, AAEO, EBO are and why we support missions through them. I plan to follow up on this and offer my services to churches that would like to have a Missions 101 presentation.
  • Remember our core strength. I read a book awhile back on leadership entitled “One Thing You Need to Know.” The author identified four points of clarity that organizations need to know: Who do we serve? What is our core strength? What is our core score? What actions can we take today?  It is an informative read and I certainly could have organized my comments tonight around the four questions. But I want to close with a reminder about our core strength.

Luke 8:1-3 tells about the women who were in the company of the larger group of disciples who followed Jesus. After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

I like to think of them as the first WMU group. They supported the work of Jesus financially. That is how WMU got started and it is still a core strength of our work.  A vital service to the Kingdom that we provide – raising money for missions.

And then this morning I read a passage that jumped out at me from 1 Timothy 5. Here Paul is writing to Timothy about the care of widows in the church, stressing that if there is family, that is who should care for them. But in what he said about the widows who were deserving of the care of the church, there is a list that we must not miss. In 1 Tim. 5:3-10, Paul says: Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need…. No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

The women were to be well known for good works, that is:

  • Bringing up children – we all need to help bring up the children of the church – shame on us if a church cannot find WMU members willing to work with the children. And even if a church does not have RA and GA or MF, if WMU members teach SS, lead children’s church, etc., we can make sure that our children are learning about missions within those contexts.
  • Showing hospitality – may we show hospitality to people in need, missionaries, people in our communities. It is OK for us to be known as the best cooks in town. When Brett came and asked for ‘smores for international students, my answer was yes, we can do that. He left my office loving WMU.
  • Washing the saints’ feet – may we care for our missionaries, pastors, church planters, other believers. May we serve in whatever way is needed. That is why we are writing encouragement cards to church planter wives.
  • Helping the afflicted – when we get involved with ministries to people in need, we are helping the afflicted. We do this through Kentucky Changers, MAKK, Missionsfest, Familyfest, BNF, local mission action, collection projects for Baptist ministries, and the list goes on.
  • Devoted to good works – basically we do whatever needs to be done. We do not have to have a lot of recognition, or position, or titles – we just do what needs to be done. I encourage WMU leaders in churches and associations to find out what the pastor or DOM vision is and devote themselves to helping him accomplish it.

This is the kind of reputation we in WMU need to have.

slide3In speaking in associational fall meetings over the past few weeks, I’ve talked about how WMU facilitates missions involvement. I’ve ended with this statement: Can you be involved in missions without WMU?  Sure you can, but if you want to see greater missions involvement by your church, WMU has a track record of over 125 years of engaging people in missions. Encourage WMU in your church and the results will be amazing.

As Sandy said, “have we accomplished the great commission?”  Until everyone in all the world has heard the gospel, then WMU has work to be done. It’s not about WMU, it’s about the gospel. WMU facilitates missions involvement. We help churches learn, pray, give, go and send.

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