By Julie Walters
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Sandra “Sandy” Wisdom-Martin, executive director of WMU of Texas, was unanimously elected executive director/treasurer of Southern Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union, by the WMU executive board during a special called meeting July 29-30.
Wisdom-Martin succeeds Wanda Lee, who has served as executive director of the 128-year-old missions organization for the past 16 years, effective Oct. 15. Wisdom-Martin was presented to the board by a search committee appointed in February following Lee’s announcement of her intentions to retire.
Prior to leading WMU of Texas since 2010, Wisdom-Martin served as women’s missions and ministries director for the Illinois Baptist State Association, 2001-2010; and as Cooperative Program missionary with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, 1991-2001.
“Having served in three different Baptist state conventions, Sandy brings great experience as a leader to this role along with tremendous creativity,” said Joy Bolton, executive director of Kentucky and chair of the search committee.
“The affirmations of her leadership received from people in each state where she has served speak volumes. She has earned love and respect through partnerships, missions trips, speaking engagements, and other missions involvement.”
Bolton describes Wisdom-Martin as “a thoughtful leader who listens well and brings clarity to complex situations when she speaks.”
Wisdom-Martin said her commitment has “always been to walk where God leads. Yet this has been a difficult process because I am in a very good place. I love the assignment God has given us (in Texas). This certainly caught my family by surprise and was not a part of our plan, but we believe God is sovereign and all the details of our lives are in His hands. I trust Him completely for the future.”
She said what excites her most about this opportunity is to put total trust in the Father, serve Him with reckless abandon, and see where the adventure leads.
“I don’t do what I do because of my employment,” Wisdom-Martin continued “I do what I do because I believe in the restoration of brokenness through hope in Christ. Through WMU, the only reason we do what we do is because He is risen and we must tell the good news.”
Vickie Anderson, executive director of Tennessee WMU, said she is pleased with the selection of Wisdom-Martin. “I am thrilled with the choice of Sandy as the new executive director-treasurer of national WMU. She is a servant leader who serves out of her passion for and her walk with her Lord.
“Her experience, creativity, strong leadership skills, and love of missions will serve WMU well in these exciting days ahead,” Anderson said.
In addition to more than 25 years of experience in state WMU and church and community ministry, including children’s missions education camps, Wisdom-Martin has served with more than 50 missions groups in nine different countries; served as national coordinator for Mississippi River Ministry; and writes extensively for WMU publications and others. In WMU, she has served as an associational GA director, associational Acteens director, Campus Baptist Young Women (BYU) president, Mission Friends leader, GA leader, and Acteens co-leader.
Born and raised in southern Illinois, Wisdom-Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and a master’s in social work from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky. She and her husband, Frank, have one daughter, Hannah.