By Trennis Henderson
WMU National Correspondent
KNOXVILLE — How can your church start a missions group like Love World to help young women develop a heart for missions?
Kim Cruse, a former International Mission Board collegiate church planter in the Philippines, insists the need is urgent. “If you can put missions into the DNA of a new believer or of a young believer early on in their Christian life, they will always see missions as important,” she emphasized.
Cruse, who began serving last year as Tennessee WMU’s missions discipleship specialist, poses the tough, thought-provoking question: “Where are the future IMB missionaries going to come from and where are the future mission supporters going to come from if we’re not able to engage and connect and get these younger women involved in missions?
“This has been a burden of WMU for many years,” she said, “so I love what has happened at Wallace (Memorial Baptist Church in Knoxville).” Missions leaders there launched Love World in 2019 to reach and involve women from age 25 to 40 in missions discipleship and support.
The response has been noteworthy. In addition to listening to missionary guest speakers and praying for missionaries, Love World participants are involved in such hands-on missions projects as hosting a monthly fellowship brunch for international moms and partnering with Welcome House Knoxville to serve refugee families.
Those ministries are particularly fitting since Wallace Memorial is named in honor of Dr. Bill Wallace, a revered Southern Baptist medical missionary and martyr who served in China for 17 years until his death in a Chinese communist prison in 1951. Seven decades later, Wallace Memorial and Love World echo Wallace’s commitment to global missions service.
“God put missions on my heart many years ago,” noted Kimberly Poore, a Love World team member. “As a mother of young children, it’s not easy just to pick up and go somewhere, but there’s so many opportunities locally that we are able to reach internationals.
“God has opened that door for me to be able to do that even within our church,” she added. “He just opened the doors to the international moms group. Our kids are playing together and creating friendships and just loving on one another.”
Love World’s quarterly gatherings “have given us the opportunity to be educated and to share mission opportunities within our area and also within the world that we can be a part of,” Poore shared. “A wonderful aspect of our Love World is just gathering together, praying for missionaries together and bringing awareness to the different mission opportunities within our world,” she said.
Cruse said in her conversations with other WMU leaders, “I frequently refer them back to Wallace’s Love World group. This is a group that has found a way that’s working, that younger women are responding.
“Every time they gather, they have 20 to 30 young women that are getting more and more involved,” she pointed out. “They’re inviting their friends and some of them are really being engaged with missions for the first time.”
Love World’s ultimate goal, Cruse concluded, “is really to draw the hearts of these young women into God’s purpose of making His glory known around the earth and giving them opportunities to experience that firsthand.”
HOW TO GET INVOLVED: To learn more about engaging young women in missions, contact Kim Cruse at firstname.lastname@example.org.