Leaders

Catching Up with Donna Shelenhamer

WMU is honored to interview Donna Shelenhamer, a longtime Girls in Action leader. Donna has taught Girls in Action for 52 years and counting. She felt a calling to missions when she was young and wanted to share her passion, so she began teaching first- and second-grade GA groups and fifth-grade boys in Sunday School. Her most vivid memory from teaching GA is something that occurs at every recognition service: she always says, “This is the best group I’ve ever had!” and genuinely means it every year.

6 Things to Celebrate on Orphan Sunday

Orphan—it’s a word with a decidedly sad connotation. The United Nations Children’s Fund and its global partners define an orphan as a child under 18 years of age who has lost 1 or both parents to any cause of death. Nearly 140 million children around the world meet that definition. So what is there to celebrate on Orphan Sunday, November 12? Plenty.

1. Celebrate adoptive families in your church and community. Enlist 1 or 2 adoptive parents to share their story of how God used adoption to grow their family and their faith. Ask them to speak during a morning worship service or another churchwide event for this special emphasis, or record their stories and show the video during the service or post it, along with prayer requests, on the church’s Facebook page or website. Pray for these families as they seek to train up their children. Pray for those going through the adoption process as they wait to bring their children home. Ask about other ways your church can support these adoptive families financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Pray for the World

You only need to glance at a newspaper or listen to the news to become aware of the urgent need for prayer. No longer can we be concerned with praying only for our family, community, church, and state. As leaders, we need to engage our members in sincere prayer for the entire world.

Why not start with the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer on November 6? Consider implementing one of the strategies Gwen Moor, former president of Northwest WMU and member of Dayspring Baptist Church in Chehalis, Washington, used to involve her church in the Day of Prayer:

• Involve all the Baptist churches in your area. Make phone calls and send invitations. Enlist a contact person from each church and ask her to personally invite women to attend.

• Plan to alternate which church hosts the prayer event each year. Or host the event at a Christian Women’s Job Corps site to highlight the ministry hosting the prayer event.

Time for Appreciation

October is recognized as Pastor Appreciation Month in many churches.

It’s not too late to recognize your pastor and church staff, whether you choose to do it corporately as a church or as an individual. Here are some quick thoughts on how to recognize the leaders God has placed in your church.

Christmas in August Update

As a kid, Christmas Eve was a day I looked forward to all year long! Christmas Eve was when Santa would stop by our house and bring us presents. Every year, I was so excited about what was to come that I’d voluntarily put myself to bed extra early with hopes that the morning would come sooner. I would not sleep under the covers on Christmas Eve. You see, my mother had a rule that we could not leave our rooms each morning (including Christmas morning) until our beds were made. So, on Christmas Eve I would sleep (if I slept at all) on top of the covers so that I could prevent the 2–3-minute delay of getting to my presents!

I often wonder if that’s how Christmas in August missionaries feel as they approach WMU’s focus on their ministries. Are they excited? Curious about what to expect? A little concerned about how many RAs, GAs, or CAs might give in support of their work? More than likely, there’s a mix of emotions going through their minds as they wait for Christmas in August to roll around.

Are you familiar with Christmas in August? A little history might be good at this point.

Change the World with WorldCrafts

Want to change the lives of poverty-stricken and exploited men and women around the world? There’s no better time to start than October, which is Fair Trade Month. And there’s no better way to start than by supporting WorldCrafts, a division of WMU.

WorldCrafts develops sustainable, fair-trade businesses among impoverished people worldwide. Its vision is to offer an income with dignity and the hope of everlasting life to every person on earth.

WorldCrafts is committed to its in-country partners and artisan groups. It develops viable employment for poverty-stricken and exploited women and men.

WorldCrafts is holistic. Its artisan groups meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their workers. Men and women receive job training, comfort, camaraderie, and the promise of eternal hope.

Looking for Pen Pals?

Here’s a plan: Help another church start missions education, and you’ll always have a group to send letters to!

To find a church interested in starting a missions education class, inquire to see if your church, association, or state WMU office has a partnership with another state. Once you’ve found a partnership, contact that convention office and let them know that you’d like to find a church in their area that might be interested in starting a missions education organization. Ask them to help provide a church name and contact person for you to talk to about starting missions discipleship.

What’s next?

Soup’s On! Time to Collect the Global Hunger Offering

The large soup kettle is in place. The congregation waits expectantly until the pastor invites everyone to come forward and place his or her global hunger offering into the kettle. Before long, several thousand dollars have been given. This scene occurs every year at Dorrisville Baptist Church. One might ask why this church, which is by no means the largest church in Illinois, gives so generously to global hunger. The answer is simple: church members’ eyes are opened regularly to the needs of people who are hungry (physically and spiritually) and they are encouraged to make a difference.

Tips for Enlisting Additional Co-leaders

We hear you. You have tried everything! You have prayed faithfully! Yet, again, you are in the midst of the year with too few co-leaders for children’s missions organizations.

In today’s postmodern culture, the quest for adequate leaders is more challenging than ever. It seems every moment of every day of church members’ lives are already filled with responsibilities for family, career, and church.

These 5 “Be” tips will help you develop an effective enlistment strategy.

Be always vocally positive about serving in missions education.

  • Tell stories of what kids are achieving in missions.
  • Emphasize the joy of serving, not the challenges.

Be on the co-leader lookout. Identify people who . . .

  • Assist with events for kids at church or missions events.
  • Have abilities that complement current leaders’ skills or fill a need.

Begin to plant seeds for co-leadership. Ask those identified to . . .

Being a Cool Adult

Last week, my wife, son, and I were driving down the road. My son said to his mother, “Mom, you are cool.” She thanked him for his kind words. For a moment, there was silence in our car. Finally, I said, “Son, what about me? Am I cool?” Evan paused longer than I wish he had, but he finally said, “Yeah, I guess you are cool, too.”

You guess? I’m cool “too?” Seriously? Was that the best he could do?

Well, truth be told, I never really thought of my parents as being cool either. You know how it is. Parents and adults are just old and out-of-touch. Kids think that adults don’t understand what it’s like being a kid these days. Adults don’t dress the right way, don’t talk the right way, and certainly don’t understand kids at all.

Over the years, I have noticed that some kids are drawn to certain adults and see those adults as “cool.” I’ve watched those kids hang out with the “cool” adults, spend time at their homes, and go places with them.

Have you ever wondered why some adults are like magnets to kids and some simply aren’t? Have you ever wondered why some adults are “cool” and some aren’t?

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