Linda's Articles

The Number “131”

What does the number 131 have to do with missions? If you attended the annual Woman’s Missionary Union meetings in Birmingham last month, you got a glimpse of what can happen when missions-minded women, men, and children come together to celebrate! 2019 is the 131st anniversary of WMU and no effort was spare for the 2-day event that culminated in a day with 131 (yes, 131, count them!) different missions activities.

Held at the national WMU building on Missionary Ridge, the activities were held inside and outside and there was something for everyone! Guides dressed in historical clothing told the story of Southern Baptist missions and WMU. Ministry projects for Baptist Global Relief, packing meals for hunger relief, and making tee-shirt jump ropes were hands-on experiences. The new Walk of Faith made from bricks given in recognition of missions advocates or in honor of individuals who supported mission causes was featured. There were gutter sailboat racing, banana boats, and porcelain painting under the outside canopies. Breakout sessions included Baptist Nursing Fellowship info, the Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans, how impoverished women survive, and witnessing to friends.

It was hot on Monday, June 10. It was crowded. And, it was a great time of learning, encouragement, and fellowship!

The Great Summer Missions Challenge

In just one month fill a bulletin board at your church or an entire wall with pictures of people doing personal missions projects. Challenge families and individuals to choose a project in their neighborhood or community to reach out to others with the love of Jesus. Take pictures of your project and make a copy of the best one to put on the bulletin board. Here’s how to make this happen:

  • Make a list of missions project ideas and post them on a bulletin board, include them in the church bulletin, online, etc.
  • Promote the summer projects each week.
  • Projects can be done by families, Sunday School classes, or missions groups.
  • Challenge the church to fill the bulletin board with pictures before the month is over.
  • Create a slide show for a Sunday worship service.

This emphasis could be a great launch for personal missions involvement. NOTE: This missions idea was written up by Indiana WMU Vice President, Chris Conrades, Richmond, IN. Thanks for the great idea, Chris!

State WMU Prayer Project Launched

The state WMU leadership team has launched an effort to contact every pastor in Indiana for prayer requests for him and his church. Requests will be gathered through our associations as the team is composed of representatives of each association. It is our goal to reach every pastor by August 1. What a challenge!

An email was sent to each pastor of SEIBA on July 2 with an introduction by Gary Yochum. With our renewed emphasis on evangelism of our nine-county area, we know that prayer is a critical element in reaching the goal of reaching residents who don’t know Jesus as their personal Savior.

If as a pastor, you feel it will be difficult to reach you via phone due to your schedule or travel, don’t hesitate to text me with your requests! Text to: 502.592.8473.  I look forward to talking/texting with you!

Indiana Transformed Events Success!

The annual women’s Transformed events were held in March and April. Approximately 600 Indiana women gathered for a time of learning, inspiration, and fellowship. Keynote speakers and seminar leaders focused on the theme for 2019: Endless Joy. Joy was in the hallway! And, in the worship  sessions! And, in the conference sessions!

One hour-long track on Saturday featured various missions-related topics ranging from missionaries sharing about their place of service, ministering to victims of human trafficking, finding your missions/ministry niche, counseling those in need, praying for political leaders, and beginning missions in churches. Special guest, Kay Bennett from Baptist  Friendship House in New Orleans, lead sessions on ministry to women who have come out of human trafficking and homelessness.

Two missions projects were sponsored by Transformed this year. Donations of shampoo, lotion, diapers, and other supplies were given at the Seymour Transformed event for the Jackson County clothing center. The Marion Transformed event collected gift cards for backpacks that will be given to women coming out of trafficking in the New Orleans area.

Indiana women are blessed to have these statewide events. Encourage the women of your church to plan to attend the 2020 Transformed events!

What Every Church Planter Needs

Have you ever wondered what the church planters in our association might need? Do they need things like housing, sustainable incomes, and medical care? Of course they do! Our churches can be supportive in providing some of these needs, but there are some things every church planter needs that cannot be purchased at the grocery store or through a healthcare system.

Church planters need our prayers! Here are some ways you can lift them and their needs up in prayer every day:

  • Pray for them to connect with families in their neighborhood.
  • Pray for their communities to respond as they demonstrate God’s love.
  • Ask God to keep them from becoming discouraged. Progress in planting a new church is usually slow, and it’s easy to feel no one is interested in the gospel message.
  • Pray that the church plant will reflect the demographics of the neighborhood.
  • Ask God to provide others who will invest in the church plant.
  • Pray that the church planter will be creative in his outreach to unchurched people.

Families, Missions, and Summer

Here are some suggestions of things your family can do this summer. Warm weather is a great time to branch out and connect with neighbors and your community.

  • Make brownies and deliver them to an unchurched family in your neighborhood.
  • Help the children make holiday or get well cards for homebound neighbors and deliver them as a family along with baked goods or a small gift.
  • Teach children how to prayer walk. Prayer walk your local school and around your neighborhood. You can do “prayer driving” too!
  • Using a large world map, locate where missionaries serve and pray for them during your family devotion time. A list of missionaries and their birthdays is in the monthly missions magazine, Missions Mosaic, available from WMU (www.wmu.com/curriculum).
  • Collect canned goods for a local food pantry. Deliver them together and arrange for a tour of the facility if possible.

Week of Prayer for North American Missions

If you haven’t ordered envelopes, posters, and prayer guides for the Week of Prayer 2019, it’s time! Contact the Indiana WMU office at 317.481.2400 or go to: www.scbi.org/ministries/missions/woman’smissionaryunion  to order materials online.

This designated season of prayer focuses on prayer for Southern Baptist North American missionaries and their ministries. Annual prayer guides feature a week’s worth of missionary snapshots of individuals, couples, and families who are proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ through a wide variety of ministries. Named for Annie Armstrong, an early missionary, this missions offering and week of prayer is the major avenue of financial support of more than 5000 missionaries, chaplains, and volunteers.

Go to www.namb.net for various resources with multiple language translations, videos for your church, social media package, and printable resources. 100% of all gifts go to the mission field. Our cooperation as Southern Baptist churches and individuals makes this work possible.

A Lesson in Giving (adapted from Missions Mosaic Magazine*, February 2019)

We teach our children how to tie their shoes, make a bed, and help clean up the kitchen after dinner. Often, however, we neglect teaching them (by example and words) the importance of giving to others. Part of our own spiritual journey as adults is teaching children and students to love giving.

The author of this article in Missions Mosaic suggests 4 ways to teach children about the joy of giving. Help them understand the needs boys and girls around the world have for food, water and safe housing

1. Teach children how to garden, explaining how missionaries help people learn to grow food for their families. Many hunger relief agencies provide opportunities to give money for seeds, hoes, and shovels. Contact www.gobgr.org for more information.

2. Use crafts to show children they can make things people need, such as sewing kits or decorating items for others to use. Similar kits may help someone begin a business making items to sell to give their family money needed for school supplies or food.

3. Baptist Global Response (BGR) has a catalog from which you and children can choose a food packet gift for someone who doesn’t have access to food. Help them understand many persons go to bed hungry and show them anyone can help.

4. Take a prayerwalk through your house thanking God for all He has given your family. There are many families who have no shelter. Millions of refugees live in cardboard boxes or under tarps. The BGR has a “new beginnings bundle” or blankets that can be purchased.

These suggestions are not things to be done by us as parents and teachers but avenues for teaching children about the biblical principle of giving. In order to do the projects listed above, there is a financial investment. Adults can help with funds, but the lesson will be best learned if the child or children work to earn the amount or contribute out of their own savings. A child learning to work with others to make a difference in the world is a good thing – a very good thing!

(* Missions Mosaic is a monthly magazine for adult women that can be ordered online at: wmustore.com. Telephone 1.800.968.7301

How You Can Support a Church Plant

There are several church plants in our association, and there are many things you can do to demonstrate your support of the work that is being established. Church planters have accepted the challenge to reach others for Christ in southern Indiana, but our help is needed. Here are several steps to take when considering supporting one of our local planters:

  • Choose a plant. You can get the most current contact information through the SEIBA office. Pray that God will direct you to the one He wants you to help.
  • Contact the planter and tell them of your desire to help. Be certain you (and your church) are ready to make a strong commitment to the church planter and his family.
  • Talk to the planter about his vision for his work. Invite him to lunch or his family for a meal and begin to form a relationship. Get information about children’s ages, family embers’ birthdays, etc.
  • Develop a prayer plan for the church start and ask for specific prayer requests. Do a prayerwalk around the area where the new church plant is.
  • Help with the actual work that needs to be done. This might be a survey of the surrounding neighborhood, work on a building or teaching in Vacation Bible School.
  • As you find out about specific needs, try to meet them. This may be supplies, equipment, or other materials.
  • Make your church aware of the growth and progress of the new church. This will help sustain the support you are providing.

Planting a new church is often stressful and frequently frustrating! Your church’s support may be exactly what the planter and his family need to encourage them to continue working.

Seasons of Ministry…..Winte

Consider these seasonal mission projects for community groups or the entire church:

1. Show love in February – Bake love cakes and deliver to shut-ins who are not able to attend church. Rather than delivering cakes to church members only, ask for the names of individuals who are not part of any church.

2. Contact Pearl Street feeding ministry personnel here in our association and offer to provide a hot meal during the cold winter months. You might make chili and take crackers or cornbread for a hearty meal. Volunteers for this ministry are always needed. Contact information is available through SEIBA’s office.

3. Ask community groups to donate mufflers, gloves, and hats for the Louisville mission. Information is online for how to deliver your donations.