Editor’s note: You can listen to Martha Pitts discuss missions during Episode 7 of Radio B&R, the official news podcast of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
GATLINBURG — Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union President Martha Pitts is a product of missions education. And she is a huge proponent of it today.
“I started early. I grew up in Girls in Action (GAs). People invested in me and took me on missions trips and taught me early on to look around for people who were in need,” Pitts said during an interview for a Radio B&R podcast with Chris Turner.
As an adult Pitts taught GAs and later became the associational WMU director (Shelby County Baptist Association, now Mid-South Baptist Association). Though she held different positions, one thing remained the same — her love for missions. “I love getting out to people and telling them about Jesus,” said Pitts, who was elected to a second one-year term as president during the Missions Get-Together held March 31-April 2 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.
Pitts, a member of Germantown Baptist Church in Germantown, uses her platform as president to promote missions education, especially GAs, Royal Ambassadors (RAs), and Mission Friends.
“If you don’t get across that worldview, that looking out and seeing the needs of others and the need of salvation for other (people) later on, it’s just a hard thing to train later on,” she observed.
She suggested simple missions projects for children such as filling up a backpack or shoe box for someone else. “It’s that basic learning,” Pitts stressed. “It’s not hard but they’ve got to hear it from Mission Friends while in preschool. They’ve got to hear it. It needs to be intertwined in a complete church program,” she added.
Pitts is convinced that the topic of missions needs to be woven into sermons and Sunday School lessons to reach all segments of the church. Everyone in the church needs to understand that because of the Cooperative Program, every dime you put in the offering plate helps to invest in lives all over the world, she continued.
She acknowledged that more needs to be done to reach and involve younger women in the church in Woman’s Missionary Union.
When someone asks how to involve younger women, “I generally say, ‘Find someone in that age bracket, target them, go and meet with them in a one-on-one relationship, and find out what they’re doing.’ ”
Pitts observed younger women in today’s culture are involved in missions. “They are doing something” even though “it might not be tied to the church.” The key is to get them connected to missions through the church.
She noted that younger women have children at home and it is harder to be involved. Make WMU meetings adaptable for them, Pitts suggested. “And, don’t give them a hard time if they can’t come to that meeting every week.”
While she supports the Cooperative Program and the national Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, Pitts is a strong supporter of the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions.
Tennessee is a missions field and the GOTM is vital in reaching the state with the gospel, Pitts noted. She added that the GOTM also provides an opportunity for Tennessee Baptists to say, “We’re working together. Come on board.”
The Golden Offering and ministries in the state and around the world depend upon missions education, Pitts said. “We’ve got to keep it in front of our people.”
Pitts encouraged Tennessee Baptist churches to provide missions education at all age levels. For more information, contact Tennessee WMU at 615-371-2038.