WMU Blog

Missions Matters!

Sometimes it “pays” to look down. This is one way our family finds extra funds for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

When our children were young, we began the tradition of depositing any money found throughout the year into our Mission Jar. This included money discovered in the pockets of clothing to be washed, in vehicle seats, between couch cushions, and especially lying on sidewalks—I once stumbled across $7 this way! In December, we would take our money to a coin changer and include the total in our missions offering.

While our Mission Jar was a family project, it is always interesting to discover the creative ways churches publicize the international missions emphasis. My friend Sue’s church makes Lottie Moon come alive for young children by displaying a life-size cutout of Ms. Lottie and allowing the youngsters to compare their own size to this diminutive missionary to China.

Growing Missions in Your Church

While we know bigger isn’t always better, we all want our WMU to grow. Spiritually, of course, as well as physically. So what steps can you take to engage more preschoolers, children, students, and adults in missions education and involvement in your church?

Truly Humble

T. W. Hunt’s discipleship class changed my life. He told the class about a growing awareness that he spent more time reading about God than he did reading God’s Word. Hunt explained that this conviction led him to read only the Bible for the next 5 years. Amazing! Not 1 newspaper, magazine, or book, only the Bible. His face was lit from within as he taught, and I sensed the powerful presence of God in him. Oh, how I wanted to experience God like that.

Hunt taught us with humility and gentleness, and he made me realize that what you feed grows. I left that conference knowing that I had to narrow what I allowed into my life through media.

Philippians 4:8 became the test. Is it true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, or morally excellent? Is it worthy of praise? These questions became my guide.

It’s been 20 years since that conference. I’m still narrowing and learning from great spiritual teachers.

Lucretia Mobbs loves quiet time in the Psalms.

Dealing with Leadership Surprises

Being a leader is hard. But you never know just how hard until you’re the leader.

Here are the things that surprised me the most about leadership:

1. Delegating is hard. I admit it—I have a type A personality and maybe control issues and OK, maybe trust issues, but sometimes it just seems easier to do everything myself. Wrong attitude! I can’t do it all; I don’t have the skills, time, or patience to do everything with excellence. I am robbing someone else of a blessing and the opportunity to use his or her talents for the kingdom. How will anyone else learn to serve or lead if I do everything? Delegating is hard, but it is the right thing to do. Even Jesus delegated the feeding of the 5,000 to the disciples and His mission here on earth to us. 

Our Proactive Response Matters

The first week in December is a special time with the International Mission Study, prayer experiences during the Week of Prayer for International Missions, and giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering as highlights of the Christmas season for many of us.

This year, however, comes with a note of sadness. For the first time in many years, missionaries over the age of 50 with five years’ experience are being asked to consider voluntary retirement due to a financial shortage at the International Mission Board. This situation did not happen overnight. I’ve read many explanations and possible solutions such as a special offering or increased Cooperative Program giving so we can avoid bringing missionaries home. While both suggestions are good, it’s too late; retirement offers have been made and missionaries are making their decisions. The problem has existed for too long to find a quick solution. Ironically, the conclusion of the missionaries’ service will happen during December, the time we are all praying in earnest for them and the people they serve. It certainly adds a new dimension to our praying this year.

Heather's Holiday To-Do List

It’s so easy for me to overlook something during this time of the year . . . a gift for someone that slipped my mind, a special dessert, or even a tradition that means something to our family. I just get too busy!

This year is no different. I overlooked our family Christmas card.

I’ve sent a picture Christmas card to friends and family since the Christmas I was pregnant with our first son. It’s become a tradition for our little family. I kept putting it off this year because I didn’t have just the right picture for the card. And then, I looked at the calendar and realized that it was the week before Christmas, and I hadn’t ordered a card, much less mailed it.

Sigh.

So, I went to Facebook and posted this picture and explained it this way, “This is the first year in a very long time that I won’t be sending Christmas cards. Considering this is the best Christmas-type picture I have of the boys, maybe you’ll understand why I didn’t create a card to share with friends and family this year.”

Some friends laughed with me while others declared that I should have used the picture for our card. Maybe next year . . .

Impact

What do you truly value? Today’s culture applauds success, beauty, power, wealth, and status. Being considered “humble” is certainly not a label to be envied. Yet a large group of Christian writers can point to the encouragement and mentoring of a couple greatly characterized by their humility.

David and Joanne Sloan, both respected and successful writers, responded more than 20 years ago to God’s call to equip Christian writers for fruitful ministry. They founded the Southern Christian Writers Conference, which convenes annually in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

As conference directors, their organizational work and personal contributions were never referenced nor were their own impressive credentials. Even serious health issues were hidden. Their goal was to teach writers to pursue their dreams of writing to honor God. Additionally, twice a year, the Sloans opened their home to provide small groups a day of more intense training.

Christmas Traditions

Growing up in Mission Friends, Girls in Action, and Acteens, I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know about Lottie Moon or the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Giving to this special offering each year is just as much a part of my Christmas traditions as decorating my house, baking holiday treats, and caroling with family and friends!

While Lottie Moon will forever be my “missions hero,” she was very much like the missionaries serving around the world today. She heard God’s call to go to China, and she obeyed. For 39 years, Lottie faithfully lived among the Chinese people and shared the love of Jesus with them.

While there, she wrote numerous letters home asking Southern Baptists for their support through prayer, financial gifts, and missions involvement. As a result, Southern Baptists gave enough money to send three more missionaries to China.

To honor Lottie Moon and her missions efforts, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions is collected each year at Christmastime. The entire offering—100 %— directly helps missionaries around the world tell all God’s children about Jesus!

Learning from a Preschooler

Preschoolers always teach me a lot, but this was particularly true last week as a preschooler taught me about Indonesia. Each year during the first week of December, national WMU has a program and open house to observe the Week of Prayer for International Missions. People from many surrounding churches come to sing Christmas carols together, meet retired and stateside missionaries, pray for missions, and sip a cup of hot apple cider. Sometimes we might Skype a missionary or show a video of a missionary, but this year we were blessed to have special workers who serve in Indonesia as speakers at our Week of Prayer program. They are on stateside assignment and will return to Indonesia soon.

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The Man I Admire

Unlocking the door, I walk into my home after a long day at the office. The floors are swept, the house dusted, the dishes are clean and there he is—smiling, welcoming me home.

His acts are never done in order to be praised, he sees a need and he will work as long as it takes to complete it. Staying late at church he makes sure all the trash is picked up from the youth group. He is always the first to volunteer to carry in boxes, set something up, or volunteer for an event.

If I’m being honest, humility is not something I have consistently prayed after in my life. I’ve struggled with how it is embodied and wanted to learn how it plays out in day-to-day life—then I met my husband.

It is so not about him.

He will serve until everything is done. He doesn’t desire to be praised, it is simple for him; his desire is to live a life of excellence before the Lord, honoring Him in everything he does.

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