BAPTISTS AND A STRANGE IGNORANCE ABOUT MISSIONS

By Johnnie Godwin
Contributing Columnist, B&R

Johnnie Godwin

Johnnie Godwin

I was born in 1937, which was just 12 years after the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention was born. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offerings for missions were already institutions. For 79 years I’ve known these three factors as the sources for financing SBC missions. I also got educated about Baptist history, the SBC’s birth in 1845, the various SBC agencies and entities, and the beloved Woman’s Missionary Union of 1888. Mother taught me tithing when I was 9. Royal Ambassadors, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, church, seminaries, etc., did the rest.

A strange ignorance among Baptists today. Most Southern Baptists today are ignorant of what you just read, or, at best, they have minimal knowledge. I’m not here to impress you with how much Baptist history I know or solutions to missionary downsizing in 2016. I am here to testify what I have experienced. [Read more…]

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LMCO ENGENDERS SACRIFICE, CREATIVITY

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Quilters of West Hills Baptist  Church, Lebanon, pause in front of the quilt they made to be auctioned for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. From left are, first row, Kaitlyn Rodriguez, April Everett, Olivia Kelly, and Kyra Guess; middle row, Linda Nixon, Carol Pharris, Donna Lowery, and Cindy Gibbs; and back row, Deanna Rogers and Jenifer Goode.

Quilters of West Hills Baptist Church, Lebanon, pause in front of the quilt they made to be auctioned for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. From left are, first row, Kaitlyn Rodriguez, April Everett, Olivia Kelly, and Kyra Guess; middle row, Linda Nixon, Carol Pharris, Donna Lowery, and Cindy Gibbs; and back row, Deanna Rogers and Jenifer Goode.

BRENTWOOD — Giving by Tennessee Baptists to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions is up from last year about 5 percent — from $6 million to about $6.3 million as of Jan. 31.

Early reports are that giving has been both sacrificial and creative.

Some Tennessee Baptists intentionally sought to increase LMCO gifts this year due to the financial situation of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention that receives the offering.

In August 2015, the IMB announced the need to reduce personnel and offered a voluntary retirement incentive to missionary and stateside workers. [Read more…]

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STATE WMU SUPPORTS SBC EFFORT

Compiled by B&R

Vickie Anderson

Vickie Anderson

BRENTWOOD — This Valentine’s Day, the Woman’s Missionary Union Foundation hopes to spread love and warmth to Syrian refugees living in Jordan. The Foundation is asking people to donate $25, which supplies a blanket to a refugee family. They are also encouraging people to donate blankets in their communities to help meet local needs.

“We want to do everything we can to meet the physical and spiritual needs of refugees in Jordan, but we also can’t forget about those in our backyard,” explains David George, president of the WMU Foundation, based in Birmingham, Ala.

“There have been many cold nights in Birmingham this winter and we want to make sure no family is without warmth.” [Read more…]

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WMU EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WANDA LEE ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

By Julie Walters
WMU News Office

Wanda Lee, executive director of national Woman’s Missionary Union since 2000, announced her plans to retire this year during WMU’s board meeting on Jan. 11 in Talladega, Ala.

Wanda Lee, executive director of national Woman’s Missionary Union since 2000, announced her plans to retire this year during WMU’s board meeting on Jan. 11 in Talladega, Ala.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. –– Wanda Lee announced a search committee will be appointed to seek her successor as executive director/treasurer of national Woman’s Missionary Union.

Though no date is set for her departure, Lee shared her intentions to retire during her report at national WMU’s board meeting on Jan. 11 at Shocco Springs Conference Center in Talladega, Ala.

Lee pledged to continue to lead WMU until a new executive director is named and help facilitate a smooth transition. [Read more…]

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GO ‘BOTH FEET IN’ FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL

Editor’s Note: The Week of Prayer for International Missions is currently underway. The goal of the 2015 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is $175 million. To learn more, visit imb.org/offering.

By Wanda S. Lee
Executive Director, National WMU

Wanda Lee

Wanda Lee

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In his book Both Feet In, retired missionary Bud Fray references an African proverb that says: “Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.” It’s like testing the temperature of the pool water before you jump in; we stick our toe in first and if it’s too cold we have the option of pulling back. Once we jump in with both feet we are committed … and we better know how to swim!

After serving 28 years among the people of Zimbabwe and South Africa, Bud and his wife, Jane, know firsthand what the Africans mean by this proverb. The Africans’ life experiences taught them to tread cautiously before committing to something. They worshiped many different gods, holding many beliefs that were contrary to the gospel. So when confronted with the truths of the Bible, they hesitated to commit to the One True God of Scripture. Carefully and wisely, missionaries like Bud taught them to weigh all the consequences and then, when they were ready, when they were totally committed to Jesus’ teaching, then put both feet in, knowing there is no turning back. [Read more…]

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WMU Dedicates Missionary House

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Leaders of the dedication program stand in front of the house. They included, from left, Gary Rickman, director of strategic relationships, Tennessee Baptist Convention; Tammy Saffel, former Tennessee WMU president of Ruston, La.; Candy Phillips, Tennessee WMU executive director; and Bobby Turner, Tennessee WMU president of Knoxville.

Leaders of the dedication program stand in front of the house. They included, from left, Gary Rickman, director of strategic relationships, Tennessee Baptist Convention; Tammy Saffel, former Tennessee WMU president of Ruston, La.; Candy Phillips, Tennessee WMU executive director; and Bobby Turner, Tennessee WMU president of Knoxville.

MOUNT JULIET — Despite “the rough spots” a dream became a reality for Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union on Nov. 1.

It was because of those rough spots that “we knew that God was in this,” said Bobby Turner, Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union president, at the dedication of the missionary house built by Tennessee WMU.

She quoted Hebrews 3:4 — “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.”

“This was a God-sized task,” said Turner of Knoxville. [Read more…]

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Tennessee WMU Elects Exec

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Vickie Anderson

Vickie Anderson

MOUNT JULIET — Vickie Lynn Anderson was unanimously elected executive director/treasurer of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union Nov. 1.

Anderson currently is associate director/ministry specialist for missions growth and leadership development for Tennessee WMU. She has been on the staff for 20 years.

She was elected to the role by the Executive Board of Tennessee WMU from about 50 candidates. Candy Phillips, current executive director, will retire Dec. 31 after serving for 12 years. Formerly Phillips was president for four years. [Read more…]

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