associational

Growing as a Leader: Look Outside and Inside

As a teenager in a small Baptist church, I was often given opportunities to grow as a leader. I may not have had the deepest understanding of preschool development, but the church was desperate for someone to “teach the Beginners” in Church Training. I was willing. Advice from a wise longtime teacher encouraged me: “Joyce, act like you know what you’re doing with the children.” So I did. Both the Beginners and I survived.

“Act like” in this context means to assume the role. Call to mind a vision of a more experienced leader, and put yourself in her shoes. Do what you imagine Mrs. B would do.   

Since those early days of trying on various leadership roles, I’ve discovered that leadership can often be reduced—and more easily understood—in terms of a balance between inner and outer.

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In the Midst of Busyness, Stop, Drop, and Roll

Since my retirement, I have come to understand how easy it is to slip into a cycle of busy activity. Much of this activity stems from the creativity and needs of others. Suddenly, I do not have the constraint of Monday through Friday employment to prevent my “yes” response. So, when I’m invited to participate—from luncheons to a ministry opportunity—I have no reason to decline. My calendar can quickly fill up!

Not everyone is retired. In fact, many women leaders strive to balance work outside the home and their family obligations. But I believe the principle of making choices about involvement holds true for the unemployed (or retired) as well as the working woman with or without family responsibilities.

How to choose? Perhaps there’s some guidance in an unlikely place. The fire safety technique taught to children—stop, drop, and roll—may help direct our decision-making.

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It’s Christmas . . . in August!

Christmas in August—yes, that’s right! No need to wait until December to celebrate. You can get in the spirit of giving right in the middle of summer.

Christmas in August allows members of all age-level WMU organizations, entire churches, and even associations the opportunity to be involved in mission support through providing needed items for North American missionaries.

Cindy Skelton, Girls in Action leader at St. Andrews Baptist Church, Columbia, South Carolina, shared that her GAs choose a missionary for whom they will bring gifts. In September, they have a meeting where they sing Christmas carols, make an ornament to remind them to pray for the missionary, and enjoy Christmas cookies. If possible, they invite the missionary to come to receive the gifts and share about his or her ministry during the meeting.

Missions Growth

Connect the Dots

For more than 125 years WMU has focused on leading individuals to be intricately involved in missions. After more than a century countless individuals have learned and practiced a life of missions by giving to missions, praying for missions, supporting missions, and being involved in hands-on missions experiences.

Why is WMU important in the life of a church? WMU has many benefits for the church. Below are several key ingredients WMU can bring to a church. As you visit with and serve alongside churches in your community and association be sure to help them know and understand the benefits of having WMU organizations for all ages.

 

Free Downloads for Leaders

Downloads for Leaders

Missions discipleship for all ages happens in the church through WMU organizations which encourage participants to:

  • Pray for missions.
  • Engage in mission action and witnessing.
  • Learn about missions.
  • Support missions.
  • Develop spiritually toward a missions lifestyle.
  • Participate in the work of the church and the denomination.

These are the six key objectives of WMU in the church. To help you keep these in the forefront, download these free Church WMU Objectives posters (Note: posters are designed to be 18” x 23” but will reduce to letter-size when printed on a home printer):

Associational Objectives and FAQs

Local Baptist churches voluntarily partner together in groups called associations. These associations can be small or large, with as few as a handful of churches partnering together or as many as a few hundred working together. WMU plays a role in the local association, as it does in the local church.

At the associational level, there are four objectives which guide WMU in the association. These objectives are interrelated and complement one another. Taken together, they provide a comprehensive approach to helping the association achieve its missions vision and purpose.

Associational WMU objectives apply in every size and type of association. Vibrant and effective associational WMU teams use these objectives as a guide in planning and a standard for evaluation.

 

Experiencing the Ripple Effect

Have you noticed that when God is at work, there is a ripple effect? Not only does He change the life of an individual, but often He also affects the individual’s friends and acquaintances.

I love seeing this happen in Luke 5:17–26. A man is lowered by his friends to Jesus. He is healed. Not only is the man healed but his friends’ faith is also strengthened and the crowd is amazed. I saw the same ripple effect course through the Familyfest held in our city of Indianapolis in 2015. 

Here’s a glimpse into what took place to plan our Crossroads Baptist Association Familyfest:

The Association: More than Marketing

We support lots of organizations throughout our lifetime: parent/teacher groups at our children’s schools, local and national charities that touch our lives, neighborhood supper clubs, professional organizations related to our employment. All these groups are excellent and meet a relevant need, but what about your local Baptist association? When was the last time you celebrated what God was doing in and through your association’s churches?

People are starved for meaningful community, and they want more than just being a target of marketing and consumerism. Associational missions can be the connector for people to experience a holy more as you partner with others of like mind. Heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul encounters through associational missions are a beautiful thing that changes you and your community.

Many church members have forgotten or never learned how Baptists partner through the association. An Associational Missions Emphasis event is a fun way to educate them. The payback is huge. God is glorified and people are loved and helped in the name of Christ.

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Celebrating WMU Missions

Nothing is more inspiring and encouraging than a room full of like-minded women who are passionate and excited to serve God. It gets your heart pumping! That is how I felt attending the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in Saint Louis, Missouri, in June 2016.

As a state WMU leader, I am always looking for workshops, ideas, and content that can be recreated in our churches, associations, and state WMU annual meeting. National WMU is always there with an encouraging word and prayer support. The national staff encourages us to realize the goals of informing churches of the necessity of missions education. As state WMU executive directors, state WMU presidents, and church and associational WMU leaders gather from across the country, we are reminded of social issues that are affecting our society today, such as human trafficking, pornography, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Annual Planning and a Movie

When you think of a WMU annual planning retreat, I surmise you do not think one of the activities would be to sit and watch a Disney/Pixar movie, right? When was the last time you watched a children’s movie and gathered leadership lessons from it?

Several years ago, my team and I had the most fun doing just that at our annual planning retreat. After an afternoon of discussion and thoughtful planning, the highlight was watching Toy Story 3.

We got our popcorn, turned down the lights, and started to watch the hilarious antics of Woody and the gang. We laughed so hard that night!

The movie’s premise is this: Andy (Woody and the other toys’ owner) is leaving for college. While cleaning his room, he places his favorite toys in a box to be stored, but through a series of mishaps, the toys end up at a children’s day care. The toys’ mission/vision was to get back to Andy.

We learned the following lessons:

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