WMU restructures to support RA, Challengers


WMU announced staffing changes on April 25, 2011, as we continue plans with the North American Mission Board to assume responsibility for resourcing Royal Ambassadors (RA) and Challengers with missions education for boys in grades 1-6 and young men in grades 7-12 respectively.

Steve Heartsill, a former pastor, has been named managing editor for RA and Challenger resources. Heartsill was an RA as a child and has served at WMU the past 10 years as design editor of the missions leader resource team. In this role, he also serves as WMU’s liaison to NAMB and IMB, a responsibility he will keep in his new role.

“Over the years, Steve had built many relationships with state RA leaders and RA leaders in local churches,” said Wanda S. Lee, executive director of national WMU. “I am confident that his experience and leadership will facilitate a smooth and seamless transition of these missions organizations to WMU.”

Working alongside Heartsill with marketing initiatives will be Dick Bodenhamer, marketing strategist for WMU’s children and student resource teams.

Lee said she is excited about what these changes mean for the local church.

“With WMU producing these materials, it will be so much easier for churches to order all their missions education resources from just one place—WMU,” she said. “It will also provide us the opportunity to coordinate the girls’ and boys’ curriculum more closely, which is something I’ve heard requested by many children’s missions leaders.” 

With many details to tend to, a transition team is in place at WMU and continues to work closely with NAMB’s communications team. Together, WMU and NAMB have created frequently asked questions to help communicate the transition.

Beginning April 2012, churches can order curriculum and supplemental resources for RA and Challengers from WMU. In May 2012, WMU will send renewal notices for these curriculum pieces to current subscribers, and will assume delivery of all RA subscriptions with the September 2012 issues.

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“Why I Am a Baptist” was the title of a great sermon I heard years ago. In addition to a clear presentation on Baptist beliefs, the minister articulated an additional reason I have come to appreciate more with every passing year. The way we cooperate to accomplish missions efforts around our nation and world is distinctive of what it means to be Southern Baptist. From how we appoint and support missionaries to the plan for shared giving through the Cooperative Program, what we do together through our churches extends our reach further than if we tried to do it alone.

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