By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN — Missions has been an integral part of Martha Pitts’ life since she was a GA (Girls in Action) at Whitehaven Baptist Church in Memphis and was asked to pray at an associational event.
“I was nurtured through GAs,” said Pitts, who will be concluding her four-year term as president of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union during the annual WMU Get-Together scheduled for March 20-22 in Gatlinburg.
And, Pitts never forgot what GAs meant in her life. She served as a GA camp counselor during her teenage years and taught GAs as an adult. “I still love teaching kids about missionaries and the places they serve.”
As an adult at Germantown Baptist Church in Germantown (where she has been a member for 44 years), Pitts has been involved in Women on Mission and has helped promote all the missions offerings there, including the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions.
She was recognized March 5 as the recipient of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board’s “Light Award,” given monthly to a volunteer who is making a difference in Tennessee. The award is based on Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven.”
Pitts has been involved in missions efforts in Shelby County, throughout Tennessee and around the nation and world.
Pitts has been involved on mission trips to the Dominican Republic, West Virginia, China, Gatlinburg and, more recently, prayerwalking trips to Denver, where Tennessee Baptists are involved in the Send Denver partnership.
“I loved the trips to Denver where we met the church planters,” she said. “Prayers are much more personal when you have been one on one with those missionaries on the front lines,” Pitts affirmed.
In her role as Tennessee WMU president, Pitts has met many women across the state who share her passion for prayer and missions. Spending time with them on mission trips and the Get-Together in Gatlinburg “energizes you to make a difference,” she said.
Though she will be stepping down from her official role, there is no such thing as “retirement” with WMU.
“A missional lifestyle is forever,” Pitts affirmed.
She has no plans to stop ministering and volunteering her time to help others.
“It is something that gets me up in the morning — knowing that God has given me a particular talent that can be of use to someone else.”
And, if it is a task she does not have expertise in, Pitts “finds myself connecting the dots from someone who needs a resource to someone who has the resource.”
The Tennessee WMU leader is thankful that her family recognizes and accepts that volunteering “is a way of life,” although she laughs that her husband, Ned, sometimes jokes that his wife “has more nonpaying jobs than the law allows.”
Longtime friend Julia Binford noted that Pitts “always comes up with great ideas and asks others to join in. I think of her as a true example of a servant leader and mentor.”
Vickie Anderson, executive director of Tennessee WMU, said she is amazed at all the different things Pitts does “to serve her Lord by serving others.
“She is faithful, generous and humble — never looking to shine the light on herself but on Jesus and those around her.”