BY ALL MEANS START A CONVERSATION

By Janice Backer
Contributing Writer, B&R

GATLINBURG — David Evans says that God must have a sense of humor.  As a former atheist, he would ridicule and antagonize believers who would talk about God and now all his conversations are to share Jesus with others whether at a restaurant or at Walmart.

“The irony is that I am now the evangelism specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board,” he told the crowd at a breakout session of the Missions Get-Together and Connection Conference [Read more…]

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MISSIONS EDUCATION IS IMPERATIVE: PITTS

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

Martha Pitts speaks during the annual WMU Missions Get-Together in Gatlinburg. She was elected to a second term as state WMU president.
— Photo by Chris Turner

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. [Read more…]

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1,619 ATTEND WMU GET-TOGETHER & CONNECTION

By Janice Backer
Contributing Writer, B&R

Elected as promotion directors for Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union during its annual meeting were, from left, Glenda Roach, Blue Springs Baptist Church, Rutledge, northeast; Bobby Turner, First Baptist Church, Lenoir City, east; Linda Robbins, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Westpoint, south central; Jonnie (Neal) Jones, First Baptist Church, Macon, southwest; and Sharon Tyler, Bellevue Baptist Church, Nashville, central. Not pictured are Lisa Condee-Sullivan, Delano Baptist Church, Delano, southeast, and Rhonda Poore, First Baptist Church, Kenton, northwest. — Photo by Chris Turner

GATLINBURG — For more than 10 years, Sharon Y. Smith has made the eight-hour trip from Memphis to Gatlinburg to attend the Missions Get-Together and Connection.  This year the conference was held on March 31-April 2 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

“The worship and the sessions are good,” Smith said. “I come and learn and take the information back to share with my church.”  A member of Kingdom Center Ministries in Memphis, she brought 10 women including her sister, Bettye Tyson, and Jeanette West, the first black Woman’s Missionary Union director of  Mid-South Baptist Association, based in Memphis.

“I must say it is awesome and a blessing to meet so many women in Christ,” said Tyson, who attended the meeting for the first time.   [Read more…]

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OFFERING IS ALL ABOUT THE MISSIONARIES

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

Tennessee Baptist Convention churches are observing the Week for Prayer for International Missions this week and are in the process of collecting the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

If past years are any indicator, Tennessee Baptists will be generous when it comes to supporting our international missionaries who serve all over the world. I hope this response continues this year as well.

In September I had the opportunity to participate in a vision trip for Baptist state paper editors hosted by the International Mission Board in London. [Read more…]

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GOTM UP 5.3 PERCENT

Baptist and Reflector

160913gotmBRENTWOOD — When the books closed on Aug. 31 for the 2015-16 Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, the final tally for the year totaled $1,713,258.

The total was a 5.3 percent increase over the amount given for the 2014-15 GOTM. In addition, 1,220 churches gave to the offering in 2015-16, a net increase of 44 over the previous year.

This year’s increase is an important step as Tennessee Baptists move forward in their GOTM goal of realizing an increase in annual giving for the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions that reaches at least $3 million by 2024 (Objective 5). [Read more…]

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NATIONAL WMU ELECTS SANDRA WISDOM-MARTIN

By Julie Walters
WMU Communications

Sandra Wisdom-Martin

Sandra Wisdom-Martin

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. [Read more…]

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CARSON-NEWMAN GRAD HONORED BY NATIONAL WMU

By Julie Waters
Baptist Press

Mindy Jamison, center, co-director of the Friendship Baptist Center in Des Moines, Iowa, stands with David George, left, president of the Woman’s Missionary Union Foundation, and Wanda Lee, right, retiring WMU executive director, during the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting Monday, June 13, in St. Louis. Jamison was the recipient of the 2016 Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development for her work.

Mindy Jamison, center, co-director of the Friendship Baptist Center in Des Moines, Iowa, stands with David George, left, president of the Woman’s Missionary Union Foundation, and Wanda Lee, right, retiring WMU executive director, during the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting Monday, June 13, in St. Louis. Jamison was the recipient of the 2016 Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development for her work.

ST. LOUIS — Mindy Jamison, co-director of Friendship Baptist Center in Des Moines, Iowa, for the past 17 years along with her husband Jon, is this year’s recipient of the Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development.

“Mindy pours her life into people living in the inner city of Des Moines, and at the same time invites and encourages others to minister alongside her,” said Joni Wilkinson, executive director of Iowa Woman’s Missionary Union and volunteer at the Friendship Center, who recommended Jamison for the award. “She is a mentor to women of all ages and backgrounds and continues to teach about her passion — living out her faith in her community and seeing people living in poverty come to know Christ.”

The Jamisons are well known to many Tennessee Baptists who traveled to Des Moines and worked at the Friendship Center during the decade or so that the Tennessee Baptist Convention partnered with the Baptist Convention of Iowa. [Read more…]

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BELLEVUE’S STEVE GAINES ELECTED TO LEAD SBC

Tennessee Baptists second in number of Southern Baptist Convention messengers with 824

By David Roach
Baptist Press

Editor’s Note: Due to the publication schedule of the Baptist and Reflector, this issue contains a condensed wrap-up of the SBC annual meeting held June 14-15 in St. Louis. Extensive stories were posted on the B&R web site last week.

 

Outgoing Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd, left, together with presidential nominee J.D. Greear, center, congratulate Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova after he is elected president of the SBC. Greear withdrew from the race and moved that the convention elect Gaines by acclamation during the SBC’s annual meeting at America’s Center in St. Louis on June 15. — Photo by Bill Bangham

Outgoing Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd, left, together with presidential nominee J.D. Greear, center, congratulate Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova after he is elected president of the SBC. Greear withdrew from the race and moved that the convention elect Gaines by acclamation during the SBC’s annual meeting at America’s Center in St. Louis on June 15. — Photo by Bill Bangham

ST. LOUIS — The election of Tennessee pastor Steve Gaines as president on the third ballot and a historic repudiation of the Confederate battle flag were among the highlights of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 14-15 in St. Louis.

The convention’s resolution on the Confederate battle flag capped an emphasis on racial reconciliation throughout the meeting that included the election of a 2017 Committee on Nominations with 25 percent of its members drawn from ethnic minority groups and a panel discussion on “racial unity in America” featuring Jerry Young, president of the historically African American National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

The unofficial total of 7,321 registered messengers — up from 5,407 last year — also devoted an entire session to praying for awakening in America, listened to a panel discussion on “pastors and the church in American politics today,” and addressed on multiple occasions whether Baptists should support Muslims’ right to build mosques in the United States.

When registered guests, exhibitors, and others are included, the count of those at the annual meeting was tallied, as of June 15, at 11,581. Tennessee ranked second in number of messengers to the annual meeting with 824, trailing only host state Missouri’s 877 messengers. [Read more…]

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LEE HONORED FOR 20 YEARS LEADING NATIONAL WMU

Baptist Press

(Right to left) Carol Causey, director for the Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) missions resource center, and Andrea Mullins, retired publisher for New Hope Publishers, unveil a photo of retiring WMU executive director Wanda Lee at her retirement celebration prior to the WMU missions celebration and annual meeting Saturday, June 11, in St. Louis. -Photo by Jenna Wachsmuth

(Right to left) Carol Causey, director for the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) missions resource center, and Andrea Mullins, retired publisher for New Hope Publishers, unveil a photo of retiring WMU executive director Wanda Lee at her retirement celebration prior to the WMU missions celebration and annual meeting Saturday, June 11, in St. Louis. -Photo by Jenna Wachsmuth

ST. LOUIS (BP) — Approximately 150 Southern Baptist leaders, family members and friends from across the country gathered in St. Louis on June 11 to honor Wanda Lee and her leadership of national WMU over the past 20 years — 16 as executive director and four as president.

Frank S. Page said he got to know Lee in 2010 when he assumed his current role as president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. Page recited Micah 6:8, “What does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

“I believe Wanda Lee has exhibited that great trio of imperatives from our Lord,” Page said. “I believe she has done what is right, what is just. She is merciful, and many of you are the recipients of her mercy and ministry in your own life. She is a strategist, an organizational genius, yet is always humble and gives credit to those around her. I am honored to call her my friend, and I thank God for her.” [Read more…]

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MARTHA PITTS ELECTED WMU PRESIDENT

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Martha Pitts of Germantown is congratulated by Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union members after her election as president.

Martha Pitts of Germantown is congratulated by Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union members after her election as president.

GATLINBURG — Martha Pitts, a member of Germantown Baptist Church, Germantown, was elected the 30th president of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union on April 9.

Her election took place during the Tennessee WMU annual meeting held in conjunction with the annual Missions Get-Together and Connection held each year at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. The Get-Together is traditionally the largest gathering of adults in the state.

Pitts follows Bobby Turner of Knoxville who completed her fourth and final year as president.

Approximately 1,710 women and teenagers gathered for the April 8-10 event built on the theme of “Ready. Set. Go!” [Read more…]

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