Linda's Articles

National WMU Begins Financial Campaign

Woman’s Missionary Union has an amazing legacy and unwavering focus of making disciples of Jesus who live on mission. Many words could be used to describe this missions arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. Here are just a few:

*trustworthy      *compassion ministries     *committed         *community       *tell about Jesus  *Mission Friends    *evangelism    *creative     *Acteens     *connected   *biblical worldview    *encouraging    *gospel-focused   *Girls in Action   *diverse      *pray for missions     *relative   *Royal Ambassadors             *Women on Mission    *do missions      *teach missions     *support missions    *Pure Water,Pure Love    *faithful    *leaders     *online learning      *Adults on Mission    *mentors   *church-based       *cultures    *Children in Action    *mission projects      *relevant      *invested

You get the idea, don’t you? WMU has focused on creating missions awareness in Southern Baptist churches for 131 years. Just as many churches are reflecting on their ministries in the face of COVID-19, WMU has been impacted by the restrictions caused by the pandemic. While methods have changed, the laser focus on making disciples has not. WMU remains committed to sharing the good news with the world, it is dealing with the financial impact the pandemic has had.

This crisis has negatively affected WMU’s bottom line but has positively amplified its mission. WMU has responded with children’s online missions sessions, online leadership training, podcasts on current issues, and resources to help churches continue educating members about missions. WMU has never received funding through the Cooperative Program, but has promoted giving throughout its history as an auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention.        

With sharply reduced income, the need is critical. Please consider giving to the WMU Vision Fund to support national WMU above and beyond your current tithes and offerings. Pray about joining others with a contribution of $100, or any amount God leads you to give. Your gift will help WMU get beyond this financial crisis as it seeks to continue the current level of kingdom work in every state and 39 countries.

You can give online at wmufoundation.com/vision or by mailing your check to: WMU Foundation Vision Fund, 100 Missionary Ridge, Birmingham, AL 35242

WMU has urgent needs…will you give to advance God’s mission?

TIMELY MISSION PROJECTS

You only have to look around a corner here in our association to find needs that you can meet as an individual, family, or church. The pandemic has intensified many needs related to daily life issues, and at this time of year as the holidays near, we can extend God’s loving hands to others in tangible ways.

Consider these projects that your community group or family can do:

1. Contact Re: Center Ministries in Louisville about projects to assist the work done at the ministry center on Jefferson Street. Email Corey Bledsoe at: cory@recenterministries.org for information.

2. Hunger ministries in local communities face greater needs during colder months. Contact local agencies or SEIBA’s hunger ministry project leader through the associational office.

3. Provide food items for backpacks for children during school holiday breaks.

4. Prepare Thanksgiving food baskets for families needing extra help. Include special items for families with children.

5. Contact a juvenile facility or country jail about donating socks and other items if needed.

6. Create a neighboring movement in your church. Ask members to discover neighbors’ needs and meet them during the holiday season. Keep pandemic restrictions in mind and use limited contact and porch deliveries as you minister.

World Hunger Month

October is World Hunger Month and the offering that is featured provides funding for several hunger ministries here in Indiana. There is a little-known fact about this offering and its benefits: funds are given to our state based on the number of churches that participate in giving!

Rather than funds being awarded according to the amount given from any individual state, hunger ministries are assisted according to how many churches give to the offering. That means if our Indiana churches’ gifts come from only a few churches, funds given back to us will be very limited.

Hunger funds have been decreased in recent years because fewer churches are participating. Let’s pray that the number increases this year! Even if your church does not promote giving, you as an individual or family can give and designate your gift for World Hunger relief.

Hunger relief is a great way to enable our missionaries to share the gospel with others as they provide food through on-going ministries.

Fall Ministry Ideas

Now that some of the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, it’s time to make plans for reaching into our communities. The way we engage others and share Christ with them have changed, and we need to consider new ways of reaching out to others with the gospel.

Each of the following ideas can be adapted to fit your specific situation. The primary thing is to find ways to minister to others this fall!

1. Find an outlet for reasonably priced pumpkins (or find someone to  donate some) and put together patterns for pumpkin carving. Insert the patterns and instructions in baggies along with information about your church. Deliver them to porches in neighborhoods near your church. Make your flyers attractive, using colorful graphics. If your church has a fall festival, this is a great way to invite neighbors!

2. Using Mason jars, fill them with dry ingredients for soup. Attach the recipe along with a Bible verse and invitation to attend church activities. Distribute the soup jars to families whose children have attended children’s activities in the past. If your church has a ministry to older persons who are homebound, make some for them too.

3. The changing season presents several opportunities to work outdoors doing yard cleanup, raking, cleaning gutters, or painting. Make a list of jobs to be done and enlist families and students to participate. Perhaps your women’s group could make fall wreaths and provide door hangers and deliver them to the households where work is being done.

4. It’s not too early to begin thinking about providing food baskets for families at Thanksgiving. Contact community agencies for names of families needing help during this time of year. Be creative and think about the children in the family by providing coloring books and markers/crayons or a cookie mixture with decorating frosting and sprinkles. Be sure to include information about your church and special ministries you have for children. Include a family devotion guide that presents the plan of salvation.

Indiana Church Planter Featured in National Missions Materials

Dan and Chris Conrades are church planters at Crosspoint Church in Richmond, Indiana. The story of their call to church planting is told in the October issue of Missions Mosaic, a monthly missions magazine for adults. The four-page article gives readers a good idea of the challenges they face and the blessings they’ve experienced as they minister side by side. Their passion for sharing Christ is evident as they use creative ways to reach out into their community.

The Conrades moved to Richmond out of First Baptist Church, Charlestown where they were active in missions and church leadership. Chris stays busy as she serves with her husband and home schools their 4 children. She has recently written children’s missions curriculum for national Woman’s Missionary Union. We are blessed to say they are “ours!”

Compassion Ministries

The Compassion Ministries of  Woman’s Missionary Union directly helps those who suffer every day.  Together the 4 ministries work to bring relief to those living in poverty, offer hope to those involved in human trafficking, help refugees around the world, support orphans and children in foster care, and provide resources for humanitarian relief.

  • WorldCrafts develops sustainable, fair-trade businesses around the world to provide income for women and men as they are introduced to the Light of the world.
  •  Women’s/Men’s Job Corps equips participants with life skills and job skills training in a Christian context to help them break the cycle of poverty.
  • Pure Water Pure Love was established to provide missionaries with water filters, provide water wells for the people they serve, and mission teams with filters to use while on their trips.
  • ProjectHELP: Refugees helps to raise awareness of refugees’ needs and to address global refugee crises. Information is available to assist churches in responding to refugee needs.

For more information and for ideas how your church can become involved go to wmu.com/connections

INDIANA STATE MISSIONS OFFERING

INDIANA STATE MISSIONS OFFERING

September is the annual season of prayer to focus on the ministries of our state convention here in Indiana. There is information about offering allocations and a prayer guide online. Go to www.scbi.com or call the state office to order resources such as posters and envelopes.

Following are some ideas to help you promote this important missions offering in your church. This offering is critical to strengthening and establishing ministries within Indiana. A percentage of what your association gives to the offering is returned to the association for use in special missions projects. We can win Indian to Christ more easily is funds are available to assist church planters, church revitalization, and ministry!

2020 Theme: Churches Helping Churches

Scripture: Hebrews 10:24

State Missions Offering Goal: $75,000

Tips for Promoting the State Missions Offering

1. Make your church aware of the needs in Indiana for evangelism (statistics and information are online). Use the church newsletter, website, and worship screen to educate your members about the importance of the offering.

2. Set a goal and create a visual to show the progress toward that goal. Idea: divide a large map of Indiana into associations or counties and assign a numerical “value” to each by dividing your goal. As gifts are given, color in that section or cover it with decorative paper to show goal progress.

3. Prepare information that is age-appropriate and give to Bible study teachers and leaders as well as community group leaders to share. Call an associational leader and ask him how your association uses their portion of offering gifts in your area.

4. You may be able to create a video of the above interview and show it during worship. Personal testimonies of missions projects are a good way to illustrate the offering’s importance.

5. Schedule a date on the church calendar and have a Hoosier Fair which focuses on the importance of the Indiana State Missions Offering. “Booths” could include a Did You Know table with facts about Indiana; a food table with street corn, popcorn, chicken wings; a basketball hoop for free throw shots; and games popular at county fairs in Indiana (corn hoe!). Use your imagination as you create an event to highlight Hoosiers’ need for Christ. Perhaps one booth could be a demonstration of how to give a simple testimony to share Christ. This is a perfect venue for a “Who’s Your One” evangelism emphasis.  

Recognizing that all of this will be impacted by covid-19, you may need to shift and adapt your plans to meet current social distancing restrictions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in hosting a missions event using technology such as Zoom.

Regardless of current pandemic restrictions, gifts to the State Missions Offering are more important than ever in our search for ways to reach out to Indiana residents with the good news of Jesus. When our churches unite in giving, we will be more effective in showing God’s love through evangelistic projects, church planting, and revitalization efforts.

Tell His story in Indiana!

Indiana Woman Receives Leadership Development Grant

Elizabeth Morris, Mt. Vernon, IN, has received one of the first grants from the Candy P. Phillips WMU Endowment established in 2018 in honor of the WMU missions leader by her husband and family. The endowment’s purpose iss to identify and support emerging female leaders for future roles within Woman’s Missionary Union and its ministry partners. The grant to pursue the Christian Women’s Leadership Center Leadership Certificate consists of nine four-week courses in the area of Leadership Foundations, Formation, and Skills. Participants invest 3-5 hours each week to complete activities with a group of participants who watch instructional videos, converse on lively forums, and complete online reflections, quizzes, and reading assignments.

Beth serves alongside her pastor husband Don at Mt.Vernon Baptist Church. We are so proud of Beth for receiving this award. Congratulations!

Just a Pair of Glasses

Several years ago I found an illustrated advertisement in a Christian journal. At first glance I saw a drawing of a pair of eyeglasses. Upon closer observation, however, it was apparent that the glasses were very unusual. One lens was round in shape and etched on it was a world globe. The other lens was rectangular and had the words “Holy Bible” etched on it. To my way of thinking, the pen and ink drawing illustrated perfectly the concept that we as believers are to have one eye on the world and its needs while looking to the Bible for mandates regarding our witness and ministry.

Going and sharing God’s love is an over-riding concept of the letters of Paul to the New Testament churches. He challenges them to be faithful in sharing Christ as they live their daily lives. Unfortunately, even though we have many similar accounts that should lead us to a deep understanding of God’s desire for all men to come to Him, we leave the “going and sharing” to others. That part of the gospel  is for those who have answered God’s call to full time service or to go to another part of the world.

As many of our states focus on ministries within their boundaries, we may feel a question rising up from within us, a question we don’t ask aloud. “Why?” One small word with just 3 letters. How we as individuals, families, and churches answer this question will impact our states greatly.  Why should we be involved in going and sharing? Why can’t someone else do that part? Why does the need seem so critical?

Consider these responses:

Why? Because it is every person’s responsibility to tell others about Jesus.

Why? Because we are commanded to be salt and light.

Why? Because financial distress has fragmented our states’ economies.

Why? Because society has lost its moral compass and we are to be strong examples of how Christ can transform lives.

Why? Because those who are hungry, homeless, shunned, and forgotten need us to be advocates for justice and examples of God’s love and mercy.

We need to use new glasses to see our world and how God wants us to Go and Share!

Pandemic Calls for Sacrificial Giving

We’ve been on lockdown, learned how to social distance, and are “doing church” in ways we’d never dreamed of before COVID-19 hit. The impact consumes our news reports and has filtered into the very fiber of all that we do as believers. We don’t need another list of all that has changed nor the problems that have arisen because of those changes

However, the impact of the pandemic on our churches and their giving cannot be glossed over. Because of the giving process of Southern Baptists, every ministry and agency has been hurt by the fact that giving on the church local level has dramatically changed. Giving online has become the norm; churches are re-aligning their budgets; state conventions have cancelled events that created income and downsized spending. The support of missionaries on the field and concern about decreased giving to special missions offerings has meant our two mission boards have made tough decisions about allocations.

Is there a solution to the financial issues caused by the pandemic? We in the local churches must continue to be faithful in giving our tithes and offerings. We need to encourage staff and leadership to commit to the same level of giving through the Cooperative Program to enable our agencies to continue to support and expand evangelistic efforts around the world.

The Indiana state missions offering is emphasized in August and September, so as soon as promotional materials are available (contact our SCBI office for information), set a church goal and begin to make  your congregation aware of how crucial this year’s offering will be. Begin making plans to promote the Lottie Moon Christmas offering, realizing that 50% of the IMB budget comes from the gifts to LMCO.

We can help our ministries and agencies survive and support missionaries who are proclaiming the good news of Jesus in difficult places around the world!

ONLINE MISSIONS CELEBRATION SET FOR AUGUST 15

Something new is coming your way! In compliance with Indiana State WMU By-Laws, an election of officers must take place every year. The annual Missions Lifeline event that usually provides the venue for doing that has been postponed until the fall, but the actual business component for WMU will be held online with a special missions celebration on Saturday, August 15 at 10:00 a.m. The hour-long event will include interviews with missionaries, a word from national WMU Executive Director, Sandy Wisdom-Martin as well as the business component.

This is the first call for all WMU members to attend this exciting online event! More information will be posted and published via Face book and emails about connecting to attend. Voting privileges are extended to any member of a WMU group in any local Indiana church.

You’ll be able to participate from your home or with a small group connected at your church. It’s a new day, dictated by necessity! It’s a new way of doing something we’ve done for a long time! It’s a new way for you to participate and learn about how Southern Baptists engage in missions!