From Generation to Generation

From a distance I watched the generational change of Kentucky WMU as displayed at the 2019 Annual Meeting. The event had a different feel. The way things were done were fresh and appropriate for a new day. The heritage was honored even as the style changed. It was both exhilarating and a little painful because I was not in the middle of it all.

I was eager to watch the proceedings via Livestream. Though my heart ached to be there, I cheered from my den and posted supportive words on Facebook. This was our new leader’s event and I needed to let it be hers. I congratuate Liz Encinia, Roetta Vaught, and the Kentucky WMU staff on a wonderful celebration of missions.

When I retired, I could have dropped off the grid and I did think about it briefly. I could have deleted social media, focused on family, and stayed out of sight. But after watching other leadership transitions, I knew that I needed to find the balance between stepping aside and yet still being around to encourage from the sidelines.

Fannie E.S. Heck was an early president of Woman’s Missionary Union. Had she not died at age 53, she likely would have served for many more years. She and the women of her day founded this organization and kept creating new avenues for missions involvement. In her final address to the Union, written from her hospital bed in 1915, Heck said, “Plan not for the year but for the years. Think long thoughts.”

As WMU became stronger and more organized, we created manuals explaining how to do the work. One of the early ones was called “Telling You How.”  Somewhere along the way, we forgot the why. Thus, when new generations have come along, leaders have often been upset when the how was changed, rather than celebrating the generational shift of leadership to achieve the why.

The why of WMU has not changed since we were founded in 1888. In each generation we find new ways to state our why and new approaches to carry it out. I am now old enough to remember the leaders of my childhood, to have been a leader, and now to be cheering for a new generation of leaders. That’s a long look backwards so that I can embrace the forward look and think long thoughts.

HThe WMU mandate and what motivates us have recently been restated. They point to our why. The why of WMU, our mandate, is making disciples of Jesus who live on mission.  The things that motivate our work include that we are
– Biblically-rooted
– Missions-focused
– Church-based
– World-aware
– Denominationally-supportive

When we unpack each motive, it helps us to understand the why so that each generation can dream the dream and discover the approaches that will help them fulfill the mandate of Jesus, the Great Commission.

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Mighty little boxes

In the early days of WMU, a popular method of saving money for missions by many missionary groups was the use of small wooden or cardboard banks called Mite Boxes.  Named after the story of the Widow’s Mite (Mark 12:41-43), the women used them to save for missions.  The boxes were sealed and once coins were saved, the money was kept in the mite box until Mite Box Day.  On that day, the women would bring their boxes to be opened and counted for missions.  Thousands of dollars were raised by missions groups, making these boxes known as the Mighty Mite Boxes.

In “The Missionary Mite Box,” a brochure prepared many years ago by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, it said of the mite box:
 What is it?  A simple paper box.
– What is it intended to hold?  Offerings from grateful hearts.
– Why are the contents always of value?  They are offered willingly unto the Lord.
– How shall we use the mite box?  Keep one for your own use…let it be a constant reminder of the daily, ordinary blessings of your life.  Put one where friendly eyes can see it; let it remind them of duty and privilege. Treat it as a sacred thing (this feeling will grow upon you).  Encourage children to use it, and be ready to answer their questions about it.

We don’t call them mite boxes anymore, but the importance of saving for missions is still important. New banks are now available from WMU and everything the women taught their children years ago is still needed today. Our children need to learn the importance of missions around the world and how they can help.

The missions banks from WMU have been redesigned and can be used to help children save for missions offerings and other missions projects. They are sold in bundles of 10 from

Missions Banks from Product number W198103. $10.99 for ten banks.
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Godly women from the Bible

Several years ago I was asked by a young adult who was helping with Kentucky Changers about what the Bible said about the characteristics of a godly woman. At that time in his life journey, he was truly seeking to know these characteristics as he considered his future. I asked him to give me a day to think about it. The next day, I shared some examples of godly women from the Bible with his group at Kentucky Changers.

In this Women’s History Month, I thought about what I shared and found a file copy. In honor of some women of the Bible, I share with you.

Proverbs 31 Woman – The verses of this chapter are the sayings of Lemuel, “an oracle his mother taught him.” Right there, we have a mom teaching her son what a godly woman is like. Here we find that she was a hard worker, a good business woman, respected, made her husband look good, wise, and practical.

Deborah – Her story is found in Judges 4-5. She was a judge, leader, and also a singer.

Huldah – See both 2 Kings 22:14-20 and 2 Chronicles 34:22-28. Huldah was a woman who remained faithful to the Lord when evil kings ruled. Eventually, under Josiah, there was a return to the Lord and the temple was repaired. When the Book of the Law was found and read to the king, the priests wen to Huldah to learn what it meant.

Sheerah – Mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:24 as a builder, Sheerah built three towns: Lower Beth Horon, Upper Beth Horon, and Uzzen Sheerah.

Mary – Luke 2:26-48. Her story is woven throughout the gospels, but her mention here is for her obedience to the Lord’s will. Mary was a woman of deep faith.

Elizabeth – Luke 2:39-45, 56. Elizabeth was a woman who was sensitive to the Lord and mentored Mary.

Women followers of Jesus – Luke 8:1-3. The group included Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and many others. Luke notes that these women supported the ministry of Jesus out of their own means. (This means they raised money for missions. I like to think of them as the first WMU!)

Lydia – Acts 16:13-15, 40. This businesswoman not only believed in God and responded to Paul’s preaching, but also practiced hospitality by opening her home to Paul and Silas and other believers.

Priscilla – Mentioned in Acts 18 as a tentmaker with her husband, Aquila. Later in the chapter we see that she was also a teacher when she and Aquila invited Apollos to their home and explained the gospel to him more adequately. In Romans 16:3, she is mentioned first (Priscilla and Aquila) in Paul’s greeting to them as fellow workers in Christ Jesus.

Lois and Eunice – 2 Timothy 1:5. This grandmother and mother passed on their faith in God to Timothy.

Romans 16 women – This chapter of greetings mentions a number of women who were significant in Paul’s ministry. Included in the list are Phoebe, Mary, Tryphina, Tryposa, Persis, and Rufus’ mother (not named). These women are cited for their contributions and work for the Lord.

There are certainly other women in scripture, but these are some that I admire. And for the record, the young man who asked the question has since found a godly woman and will be married soon.

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Bless the Rest

Summerville Baptist Church has as its emphasis this year to “Bless the Rest.” Drawn from God’s promise to Abraham that he would be blessed to be a blessing, our pastor has been preaching about ways that we as a congregation can be a blessing to our community.

Over the weekend, I visited a friend in the nursing home. Her mobility is limited and she needs a good bit of care. Yet in our conversation I encouraged her to consider how she could be a blessing to the staff and other residents. This was a surprise to her. I explained that I worked my way through seminary in a nursing home as a nurse’s aide. There were patients who were difficult and there were those that blessed me. I wanted her to be one who was a blessing.

How can we bless the rest in this kind of situation? Remember that the staff includes many people. Administrators, secretaries, financial officers, dietary staff, nurses, nurses’ aides, physical therapists, activities directors, housekeeping staff, maintenance personnel, and others work in the nursing home. There are also volunteers who do a variety of tasks.

As a patient, it would be easy to be think “These people are here to serve me.” While that is true, such an attitude will not enhance relationships. The attitude, “Things are difficult for me right now, but I want to bless the rest,” will go a long way.

Whether you are the patient or a family member, you can bless the rest. When staff come to clean, deliver a meal, give medicine, or provide another service, be sure to thank them. Ask about their families. If they seem tired, take note and try to encourage them just by caring.  If you are a family member, bring treats from time to time. Leave appreciation notes.

As a patient or family member, pray for those who serve. Ask them about prayer requests and tell them that you are praying for them. If possible, pray for them right on the spot. Speak often about your faith and how the Lord sustains you in difficult times. Share the gospel. Leave gospel tracts in the room.

Yes, no matter the circumstances, we can bless the rest. These suggestions for blessing others at a nursing home can be applied in many other situations. As a parent or student, you can bless the teachers and staff at school. You can bless the rest at work. You can bless the rest by being a good neighbor. The list goes on.

Let’s bless the rest!

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Supporting WMU

When I saw the Baptist Press headline “WMU Foundation: $512,354 to support national WMU work,” I knew what the next blog would be. There has been stirring in my heart a message about supporting WMU. I believe it is vital for us to intentionally support National WMU.

I grew up in WMU and have been influenced by WMU’s determination to make disciples of Jesus who live on mission. As I became aware of how the work of WMU was funded, I knew that National WMU received no Cooperative Program support or dollars from the missions offerings, but instead funded the work through the sales of missions literature. But there is more to the story.

A quick look at A Century to Celebrate by Catherine Allen reminded me that from the time WMU incorporated, they knew they would need funds for literature and communications. “They agreed on three principles: they would receive no missions money, but have the women send it directly to the mission boards for expenditure; the officers would receive no pay; and its expenses would be paid by the mission boards.”

“For more than 66 years the process of WMU funding was commonly known as ‘recalling.’ WMU officers would incur or estimate expenses, then ‘recall’ from the mission boards the amount they wished. Always this was done with reluctance and self-sacrifice, for the women wanted as much money as possible to go to the missions fields” said Allen.

The “recall” system was changed as WMU increasingly supported her work through literature sales and earnings from reserves. In 1995, the WMU Foundation was established and has become a significant partner in channeling financial support to WMU. This is more important than ever before.

In an era when publishing has experienced radical change, WMU has struggled to sell enough literature to fund the national office. This is both a symptom of changing times in our churches and in the distribution of information. People today want to find information and resources at no cost on the internet. However, even to give away information on the web, there are production costs which must be funded, This is why advertising is so important in many apps and web platforms.

When I have attended meetings with other WMU leaders, we have discussed these challenges. We understand that putting “free” information on the web has costs, and that WMU would love to provide missions resources to churches at no charge. But without a “recall” system, and because National WMU purposely does not receive Cooperative Program funds, this is not possible. This is where you and I come in.

We need to step up and fund National WMU work. There are several ways.

Purchase WMU literature, WorldCrafts, and other products produced by WMU. Keep your subscriptions current. Don’t be among those who say, “I used to subscribe.” You may be too busy to read every word of Missions Mosaic, but subscribe anyway. This is our flagship magazine and your subscription matters. Give gifts from WorldCrafts that are not only beautiful but provide hope for a better life and share Jesus who gives us hope for eternity.

Give to support WMU ministries through the WMU Foundation. Gifts for various ministries of WMU were among the $512,234 given recently. You can support an hour of ministry by giving $34 to the Vision Fund. You can support missions education for preschoolers by giving to the Dixon Endowment for Mission Friends. You can support leadership development through gifts to a number of endowments. See the Funds and Endowments List and pick one! You can also choose a Touch Tomorrow Today endowment which divides distributions between National WMU and WMU in your state.

Plan a gift to WMU from your estate. All of us will die. We must decide now, however, where our assets will go if we want to have a say in the distribution. Much of the $512,234 came from earnings on endowments. You may want to establish an endowment with WMU, but you can also specify a dollar amount or percentage to go to an existing endowment. Your wishes must be in writing through a will. Do not assume that your family knows you would want this. Put it in writing. The WMU Foundation can assist you with Planned Giving.

Memorial gifts are a great way to honor people who love WMU and missions. Give to a WMU endowment at their passing. Or purchase a brick for the Walk of Faith. 100% of your Walk of Faith gift goes to operational needs of WMU. And let your family know where you would like memorial gifts sent when you die. Again, don’t assume they know. Put it in writing and let them know your wishes. Gifts to support WMU are a great way to honor and be honored.

The National WMU Office is important to all of us. It guides our work together and is the hub for WMU work across the country. WMU has a mandate to fulfill and keeping our home office strong and able to provide the resources we need is vital.

Join me today in supporting WMU!

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Women in God’s Mission

“Women have advanced God’s mission throughout history and around the world. But women often face particular obstacles in ministry. What do we need to know about how women thrive?” So begins the InterVarsity Press web introduction to a new book by Dr. Mary Lederleitner, Women in God’s Mission: Accepting the Invitation to Serve and Lead.

This fascinating book tells stories of respected women leaders from around the world. It is an honest look at the styles, passions, and challenges faced by women in leadership. Over 90 women in approximately 30 nations were interviewed for this project. While their identities have been protected, the stories are universal. Lederleitner explores how the leadership of women is different, how women connect, and how they persevere.

Women in God’s Mission tells of women who have experienced a call from God, often a very unexpected call to leadership. There is much in the way of practical leadership wisdom that the women of this book share and that I appreciated deeply. Many of the women interviewed lead ministries that are often to “the least of these.” Ministries to people who are homeless, poor, trafficking victims, in need of health care, education, and much more have been led by women to the glory of God. This is cause for celebration.

Of particular note to me was the gracious way many women leaders have chosen to respond to gender bias. Lederleitner says. “In my research I have been astounded by this: when women encountering difficult gender hurdles choose forgiveness over bitterness, God finds ways around the hurdles and often gives them more influence than if the original door they had sought had been open to them.”

Women in God’s Mission was a Christmas gift and has prompted me to reflect on nearly 30 years of denominational service. While I have been blessed with good relationships in my leadership roles, the book is a reminder that there are still challenging issues at times. As I have wrestled with a response to the book and the issue of gender bias, it seems to me that the roadblocks women have encountered are actually tools God has used to direct us to meet needs that otherwise would be overlooked. The body of Christ must have every member functioning well to accomplish all that He wants to do. This includes women in leadership and missions.

I am grateful to Woman’s Missionary Union for encouraging and training women, including me. I am grateful for the lessons learned and the affirmation that I received to follow God’s calling on my life. I am grateful that WMU helps women reach out and meet needs around the world. There are many who will never hear the gospel unless a woman bears the message. There are children who will never be taught what it means to be part of the mission of God unless women teach them. There are missionaries who will miss out on prayer and financial support unless women step up. Even in the ministry of Jesus, the financial support of women was noted. (See Luke 8:1-3.)

Women in God’s Mission is a worthwhile read for both men and women. Readers may not agree with all of the roles and examples of women in leadership cited, but regardless, will be challenged to think about important issues. May this book open doors for dialogue that we might more faithfully serve Christ’s mission, bringing many sons and daughters to faith around the world.

Women in God’s Mission
Published by InterVarsity Press, 2018

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A New Adventure

Last October a chapter in my life closed and a new adventure began. What a great party for my retirement. It was a celebration not only of my time with Kentucky WMU, but also of finishing well and welcoming Liz Encinia as the new leader. I am excited about her leadership and all that I see about Kentucky WMU work.

My adventure began with setting up our house in Summerville, SC. We bought a home about a 30 minute or so drive from our son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. Our intent was to be available to help as needed. We have enjoyed every minute!

The biggest tasks for setting up our house are complete. Like any homeowner, I have a running list of things that I would like to do as time and funds permit, but for the most part, we are settled. We joined Summerville Baptist Church and have gotten involved quickly. I am helping with Girls in Action and English as a Second Language. I also sing in both the senior adult choir and the church choir.

National WMU has asked me to serve as a volunteer consultant and given me the title WMU Churchwide and Associational Lead Strategist. I now have an email address at WMU and have been doing some writing. Look for articles in the 2019-20 Missions Leader Planning Guide which will be released soon.

I had cataract surgery in January and now can do life without glasses. I am seeing the best that I have in years! We’ve made the rounds of getting set up with new doctors and finding our way in a new place. There are lots of interesting places to explore and when company comes, we are enjoying taking them to places that are new to us, too.

My friend Dick Bodenhamer did a blog for the WMU Foundation (A Time to Invest: Q & A On Retirement) and mused that when you are retired, you have a target on your back. Everyone is looking for your help now that you have more time. All who know me well, know that I would find plenty to do. I have prayed often that I did not want to get ahead of God in finding my place, but also did not want to lag behind. This is still my prayer.

Kentucky WMU is allowing me to keep this blog and I have decided to keep writing when there are reflections to share. More to come on this new adventure!

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31 Days of Prayer for Liz Encinia

As Kentucky WMU welcomes our new Executive Director-Treasurer, we invite you to join us in 31 days of Prayer for Liz and the leadership transition.

  1. Genesis 12:1-3 – God has called Liz to leave her state of Texas and come to Kentucky. Pray for her as she wraps up responsibilities this week with Texas WMU.
  2. I Corinthians 15:58 – Give thanks for the good work Liz has done with Texas WMU and the experience she brings to her new role with Kentucky WMU
  3. Acts 20:24 – Pray that Liz will finish well with Texas WMU.
  4. Matthew 24:45-27 – Give thanks for the faithfulness that Liz has shown and God’s blessing in giving her new responsibilities.
  5. Acts 20:36 – Pray for Liz as she leaves friends and family.
  6. Isaiah 40:28-31 – Moving requires a lot of work. Pray for Liz to have the energy she needs to finish packing and preparing for the move.
  7. James 1:5 – Pray for Liz to have God’s wisdom as she is preparing for her work with Kentucky WMU.
  8. Philippians 4:4-7 – Pray for Liz to experience God’s peace in whatever anxious thoughts she may have this day.
  9. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Pray that God will use Liz in a great way to bless others in the same ways that she has experienced God’s grace and comfort.
  10. Psalm 121:8 – Pray for a safe journey for Liz as she travels to Kentucky.
  11. Joshua 1:9 – Pray for Liz to feel the assurance of God’s presence as she begins to experience a new place.
  12. Proverbs 2:1-8 – Pray for Liz to daily cry out to God for understanding because the Lord gives wisdom and protects the way of those who are faithful to Him.
  13. Joshua 1:6-9 – Pray for Liz to be a faithful student of God’s Word, meditating on it daily, and careful to follow what the Bible teaches.
  14. Isaiah 43:1-3 – Pray for Liz to be reassured that God has summoned her by name to Kentucky and will be with her no matter what comes.
  15. Proverbs 3:5-6 – As Liz begins her first day with Kentucky WMU, may the wisdom and promise of this verse resonate in her heart. (This verse was written on the concrete in the Executive Director’s office before the carpet was laid in 2006!)
  16. Colossians 1:9-12 – Pray that as Liz is introduced to many details regarding the work of Kentucky WMU, that God will fill her with the knowledge of His will.
  17. Philippians 1:3-6 – Pray that as Liz meets with staff members at the Kentucky Baptist Convention, she will rejoice in the partnership of KBC and Kentucky WMU for the gospel.
  18. Philippians 1:9-11 – Pray that as meetings continue, that new relationships will be established, and that Liz will grow in knowledge and insight.
  19. Jeremiah 29:11 – Liz is wrapping up her first week and may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Pray for confidence that God knows the plans!
  20. 1 John 5:14-15 – Pray for Liz to be strong in her prayer life and confident in approaching God.
  21. 1 Corinthians 3:9 – The permanent watchword of WMU, “Laborers Together with God,” is taken from this verse. Pray for Liz as she fulfills this calling.
  22. Ephesians 2:10 – Pray for Liz and the good works that God has prepared for her to accomplish.
  23. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 – Pray for Liz as she works with a team of gifted staff members, seeking to utilize their gifts for the greatest effectiveness.
  24. Matthew 5:25-34 – Pray that Liz will not worry about all she has to learn in her new role.
  25. 1 Timothy 4:12 -16 – As Liz participates in her first Kentucky WMU Executive Board Meeting, pray that she will be an example to everyone throughout this meeting and in the days ahead.
  26. Isaiah 6:8 – Pray for Liz as the mantle of leadership is passed tonight.
  27. Philippians 3:12-14 – Pray for Liz as she wraps up Board meeting and presses on to what is ahead.
  28. Psalm 46:10; 62:1-2 – Pray for Liz to be still and rest today.
  29. Philippians 4:19 – Pray that as Liz settles into her new place and new role that she will experience God’s provision over and over.
  30. Ephesians 4:1-3 – Pray for Liz to walk worthy of the calling she has received.
  31. Ephesians 3:14-21 – Pray verses 14-19 for Liz and then give thanks that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine!
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Our Story is Your Story

A few days ago, I got a notice from Facebook that they had added a section to our Kentucky WMU page called Our Story. The notice told me that Facebook had created the section from material we provided when the page was originally set up, but that I could choose a picture for it and update what it said.  When I took a look, there was nothing wrong with what it said, but I realized that it was incomplete. I changed the title from Our Story to “Our Story Is Your Story,” added a picture of Cheryl Hatfield surrounded by children in Swaziland, and then changed the text to read:

WMU challenges Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God. Kentucky WMU equips women, men, girls and boys to change a life and change the world. We provide a range of missions events and resources to help you get more involved in missions and bring others with you.

For you see that is exactly what Kentucky WMU does. We provide missions opportunities that people like Cheryl can get involved with, and now she has a story to tell about sharing Jesus with children in Swaziland.

Missions Education and Resources
Our story in WMU is your story when you use WMU resources to teach missions to preschoolers, children, students, and adults. Just last week, one of my co-workers was thrilled when one of her preschoolers in Mission Friends came in and said, “So what missionary are we learning about tonight?”  A preschooler who gets it, who understands that God loves her, that God loves all the boys and girls, moms and dads in the world, but that not everyone knows about God and His love, so that’s why we send missionaries.

You make stories like that happen when you support WMU and use WMU resources. Our story becomes your story.

Kentucky Changers
You make the stories happen every summer through Kentucky Changers as students put on roofs, paint, build decks, and other exterior repairs for senior adults, disabled, and low income families.  Last summer Kentucky Changers were known for  the purple house in Greensburg. Home to a single mom with two austistic children, the purple house was painted to be memorable. It is one of the colors in the austism logo, but more importantly, if there was a medical emergency, the house was easily identifiable to EMS as the purple house.  And for those who worked on that house, our story is now their story. Each one of them could go home and tell about this family and the ministry they were part of.

You make testimonies like the one shared by Tyler Puckett possible. We got him on camera explaining that he had been to Changers 8 times and had been saved at Changers. He admitted that at first he did not want to come, that his parents made him. But the change in his life was evident in his video testimony. You are part of stories like that every summer through Kentucky Changers.

Creative Ministries Festival
In just a few weeks we will have Creative Ministries Festival. At the festival, we teach creative arts, puppetry, mime, drama, ballooning, juggling, and more, our goal is to show students how their skills can be used to share the gospel. Then we invite Kentucky missionaries to come join us for the festival each year and encourage the students and leaders to meet them, learn about their ministry, and make plans for the students to go in the summer and help. We want students to go on mission trips whether that is across town or across the state and use creative arts to tell people about Jesus.

Last year lady named Renee Parsons came and brought a display about a ministry she leads called Hope Central. Renee was not really familiar with creative ministries but attended several of the classes and got so excited that she went home and started a student drama team called ACTS. Here’s what Renee said in a note after the event:

I had such an amazing time at Creative Ministries Festival and learned a lot about the power of the arts. So much so, that as the promotional arm of Hope Central, we have created ACTS…Ashland Christian Traveling Stage. It is a theatrical guild that does everything from plays and sketches to music and juggling, and anything in between…We travel to churches, community events, youth or WMU groups, and anywhere we get invited! We work with our local community theater who provides us access to sets and costumes, and we had sound equipment donated with 16 head mics! Thank you for the inspiration, and for all you do! God Bless! – Renee Parsons, Hope Central Baptist, Ashland, KY

Annual Meeting
The first weekend of April (4/6-7), I want to invite you to join us for the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting at Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort. We like to call our state meeting the gathering place of everyone who cares about missions. So, if you are interested at all in missions, you are invited. Men, too!

One of the reasons you need to be there is because Kentucky Baptists care about children. The focus of the Friday morning session will be on foster care and adoption ministries. Sandy Wisdom-Martin, our national WMU executive director, is an adoptive parent and will share her story. Dr. Paul Chitwood, and his wife, Michelle, are both adoptive and foster care parents. They will tell their story. Dale Suttles, president of Sunrise Children’s Services, will share the challenge for all of us to do more on behalf of children.

You will want to be there to see your Annie Armstrong Easter Offering at work. The new NAMB Send Relief Mobile Dental Unit will be parked at the church on Friday for you to visit. Then on Saturday it will be at another location for a dental clinic, meeting needs and sharing Christ.

You will want to be there because on Friday evening we will focus on North American and International Missions. Travis Smalley, NAMB missionary with Send Cincinnati will be with us. Susan Hatfield, missionary to Kenya, will be with us. And the Swaziland team that delivered Kentucky hospice care buckets that many of you helped to pack, will be on the program.  For you see, our story is your story. You were part of the effort in Swaziland by packing a bucket and praying for Miss Linda and our team.

You will want to be there because on Saturday morning we will present the missionary of the year award and have a commissioning service for new Kentucky missionaries.  Coy Webb will share an update about Kentucky Disaster Relief. Your gifts to CP and EBO help make these ministries possible.

Throughout the meeting you will hear about ministries that you have provided items for, prayed for, and given to. As we tell our story, you will know that these are your stories, too.

WMU is a Catalyst
As we Focus on WMU at this time of year, the focus is not really on WMU at all. Our focus is on missions. We know that our story is your story. We are simply a catalyst by planning and supporting projects like the recent Backpack Project. Because you and many others said yes, over 8,000 backpacks were provided and a gospel witness shared with children and families this past Christmas. I was there in Rockcastle County and heard Randy McPheron share the gospel with every group that came through that day.

WMU is a catalyst for your missions story by providing resources to help churches learn, pray, give, serve, and support missions. It’s not about WMU, it’s about YOU, and yes, YOU can do missions.  “I’m not called to missions,” you might be thinking. I would say to you, that we are ALL called. The Great Commission includes my name as it does yours. When Jesus said “Go ye therefore,” His command has each of our names implied. So what are you going to do?

Paul wrote passionately about his calling to share the gospel: I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Cor. 9:22b-23 NIV).

Don’t miss the last phrase – that I may share in its blessings. Did you know that when you are involved in missions you receive a far greater blessing than anything you might do or might spend to go. Every person who gets involved in missions, locally, or on a trip, will tell you, they were far more blessed than anything they ever did.

We don’t go so that God will bless us. We go and do missions because Jesus commanded it. We go because people are lost and going into eternity without a Savior. But if we are obedient, the Lord does bless and does more than we can ask or imagine.

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How to change uninspired, fearful students

If you suffer from a lackluster youth group…. if you want to fire up your students for Jesus…. if you know you need a better approach to helping teens learn to share their faith….  then this message is just for you. Here’s why…


As church leaders, we all realize that if we don’t help students overcome their fears, it just gets worse. Students either drop out or we have adults who never tell anyone about Jesus

And what happens if you just do nothing? If you just keep doing what you’ve been doing in your student ministry? NOTHING. YOUR YOUTH GROUP DWINDLES, AND WHEN PEOPLE ASK, YOU MUTTER SOMETHING ABOUT “CAN’T ENTERTAIN THEM.”


Peggy Murphy’s story will inspire you. Here’s the story: “I have worked with students for years. I learned quickly that the best way to help them gain confidence in sharing their faith and learning to get in front of an audience was through creative ministries. I’ve taken students to Creative Ministries Festival for years and also developed creative ministries in the churches where I have served. My students always had fun but also learned creative ways that they could share Jesus.
In 2013, Kentucky WMU was asked to be the sponsor of Kentucky Changers and Creative Ministries Festival. They invited me to become the coordinator of both ministries. Our first year to sponsor CMF was in 2015 AND WE HAVE BEEN ON A ROLL SINCE,holding Festivals each year with a line up of fantastic workshops and instructors. We’ve also added a “How to Share Your Faith” class for everyone and we really emphasize that creative ministries is more than puppetry, balloons, drama, etc. It is a way to share Jesus that is fun.”

CREATIVE MINISTRIES has been vital for other youth leaders and it will make an impact on your students, too!

Hundreds of students and leaders attend Creative Ministries Festival each year. Here’s what Renee Parsons from Hope Central in Ashland had to say about Creative Ministries Festival.… I had such an amazing time at Creative Ministries Festival and learned a lot about the power of the arts. So much so, that as the promotional arm of Hope Central, we have created ACTS…Ashland Christian Traveling Stage. It is a theatrical guild that does everything from plays and sketches to music and juggling, and anything in between…We travel to churches, community events, youth or WMU groups, and anywhere we get invited! We work with our local community theater who provides us access to sets and costumes, and we had sound equipment donated with 16 head mics! Thank you for the inspiration, and for all you do! God Bless!

Now, It’s Your Turn
When you sign up for Creative Ministries Festival, you will join with a group of 300 plus students and adults for a weekend of creative arts experiences.

  • We have about 20 different workshops lined up for the event
  • You will receive an easy to follow program with workshop  descriptions for you and your students
  • We will have great sessions with a wide variety of creative ministry presentations by workshop leaders
  • We will teach beginning and advanced students how to do different types of creative arts
  • Church groups that already do creative arts can sign up to perform at a local block party on Saturday during the Festival. This will be a live ministry opportunity to share the gospel and also be critiqued by experienced instructors

That’s right – this a an event planned with you and your students in mind. And if you had to plan it, put together the workshops, enlist the leaders, secure a location, and work out all the details, it would cost more than most churches can afford. But this creative ministries festival opportunity is available to you for just $25 per student and adult registered by March 1. Registration increases to $30 after that date and is $35 at the door.  Still a bargain, but why not register now!

The workshops, sessions,and block party all come as part of CREATIVE MINISTRIES FESTIVAL for just $25 per student and adult participant.

We invite you to come to CMF one time to see what this experience is all about. Come and bring a couple of students. You’ll be delighted – and we think you will find that you can’t wait to get all of your students involved.

It’s Decision Time – The event is March 9-10, 2018 at Highland Baptist Church in Shelbyville

You have a choice to make: Do what you’ve been doing (or worse, do nothing at all). You know where that will lead. Dwindling youth group. Students who never share Jesus. Students who have no excitement about their faith. Is that really where you want to go?  Do something new and get a new result. Come to Creative Ministries Festival. Finally help your students learn how to share their faith and not be afraid.

Have questions? Here’s what to do now… JUST SEND AN EMAIL TO “[email protected]”, ASKING TO TALK ABOUT CREATIVE MINISTRIES. INCLUDE YOUR PHONE NUMBER. She will have a personal conversation with you and determine if CMF is a good fit for your students.

If you want more details about all the classes that we are offering this year and a schedule for the weekend, visit our web site:  Online registration available!

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