Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who's Reaching College Women?

Today I'm at Northeastern University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I've never been to this university, but I'm excited to meet some of the young women who attend. Tonight our office is hosting a special Girls Night Out event with speaker and author Marian Jordan.

I was first introduced to Marian two years ago when a friend called me from Houston and encouraged me to hear a young woman from his church who was beginning her writing and speaking ministry. When I hear the words, "Seriously, she's the next Beth Moore", I just chuckle. For now, at least, Beth, seems to be the "standard" by which other women speakers compare themselves.

What I have discovered is that Marian is not another Beth Moore. Which is really good thing. Because Marian is herself. She has an incredible testimony of God's grace and redemption on her life. She shares passionately from God's word and she has a calling on her life to reach college-young women with the Gospel.

Tonight college women will have the opportunity to hear Marian speak from her first book, "Sex and the City Uncovered." She reveals the lies that our culture has fed to women and presents the truth of God's word with conviction. Please pray for girl's hearts to be touched and tender towards the Holy Spirit.

Also pray for mid-October when we're bringing Marian back to the University of Oklahoma for two Girls Night Out events. One will be focused on sororities and the other will be geared towards the non-Greek crowd.

Who else is reaching college students? Look no further than Baptist Collegiate Ministries that are on every campus in our state. These ministries provide a vital outreach and discipleship for students. We're excited to be partnering with our BCMs to bring these events to college campuses.

For more information about Marian, go to her website at or visit our website at

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Praying for Students and Schools

There's been a positive and negative to not having a teenage driver at our house. The negative is that Courtney needs me to make sure she gets to and from school every day. The positive is that Courtney needs me to make sure she gets to and from school every day.

Each morning on our way to Putnam City North High School, we get about five minutes to just make sure we're on the same page with our schedules. I really do love time in the car when there are no distractions. I also love that I get a visual every morning of the students that walk the same halls with my daughter. If you haven't been to a high school in a long time, it's worth a trip just to see what students wear--including piercings and hair colors!

This morning as we approached the drop off area, I couldn't help but notice a young man who was talking with two women. He was weeping into the shoulder of one of them. I have no idea what was going on in this young man's life, but the mom in me just wanted to make sure he was going to be o.k. Think about it. It's not often you see high school boys sobbing and no less in front of hundreds of other students who were walking past him on their way to class.

So what can we do? We can pray. I prayed all the way to work this morning and just asked the Father to comfort this young man in whatever is going on in his life. I may never know his name or his circumstance, but I have the great honor to bring him before my Heavenly Father who knows it all.

Our children and our schools need our prayers. I think one of the greatest prayer organizations in the world is Moms In Touch. They are incredible pray warriors and they are holding the ropes for our schools. If you've never participated or you'd like to find out how to start one for your school, visit their website at

Our children also need to pray for their schools and for each other. One of the greatest prayer events of the year is coming in two weeks. Encourage your student to participate in See You At the Pole. Students will gather at their flag poles on Wednesday, September 23. They will pray for lost students, for teachers, administrators and more.

Let's do more than just think about praying today. Let's make it an integral part of our daily life.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Eph. 6:18

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Carry Your Love

I have a particular affinity towards the apostle John. Who can't help but love the apostle who's main theme was the topic of love? Even Jesus called him the disciple He loved.

Church history records that even in the last days of John's life on earth, he encouraged believers to "love one another." For someone who saw God's love demonstrated on the cross and witnessed every other disciple martyred for their faith, John knew the cost of love. He also knew that true love was only an overflow of what God had done in the hearts of those who followed Him.

When our office talks about "echoing His heart", we are saying that love cannot be contained. It must be displayed in our actions. Whether its serving in our local church, giving to missions, or being light in our world, we must carry our love to those who do not have a relationship with Christ.

I have the privilege of helping our state learn how to carry the love of Christ through the Edna McMillan State Missions Offering. Each year, our office begins in January and we think about how we are going to encourage Oklahoma Baptists to give to state mission causes. This year, more than a million dollars will be given to share the love of Christ through 25 various ministries.

I'd like to give you a quick picture of some of the ways your dollars are at work in our state and why it is important to give.

1. We are a state that is seeing tremendous growth in our Hispanic population. Many of the Hispanics are first generation immigrants, which means their English is poor and their work ethic is high. But many of them do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. State Mission offering dollars provide several opportunities to strengthen this work. Ethnic evangelism events are an entry level opportunity for Hispanics to invite their lost friends and families. Church planting is the next step as there is a continuing need for more Hispanic congregations around the state. Finally, there is a need to equip Hispanic leaders for these new churches. The Robert Haskins School of Leadership offers tremendous educational opportunities for these new pastors and leaders.

2. Evangelism is at the forefront of everything our convention is about. The phrase "impacting lostness" is not just a cliche, but a strategic effort to help churches reach their community. In the coming year, the BGCO will be concentrating on a major evangelistic effort called "My 3:16". Part of your mission offering dollars will provide materials and media to spread the Gospel around the state of Oklahoma.

3. Did you know that some of your state mission offering dollars goes to encourage international missionaries with Oklahoma ties? Each year our office has the privilege of sending Christmas gifts to missionaries who are from our home state. While the amount is not much, it is one way to show them how much we appreciate their commitment to reach the nations for Christ.

That's just a few ways your state mission offering dollars are making a difference. Will you help Carry the Love of Christ to Oklahomans?

For more information, please visit the BGCO website at

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Week of Dealing With Loss

Last Sunday morning I had the privilege of teaching the large group lesson to our high school students at church. We are teaching through the book, "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. The chapter we discussed was based on James 4 and how our life is like a vapor. While we boast and brag about our plans and what we will do, James reminds us that we never know what each day will bring. Those verses became more than just a teaching lesson this week. They became my life.

Tuesday morning our office had volunteers at the BGCO helping us stuff 600 packets for our upcoming SWEET Saturday event. (We are thrilled that so many women will be coming for this day of leadership development) In the midst of finding boxes, my assistant received a call from one of our state leadership team members. Another team member who lives in Woodward unexpectedly lost her husband the night before. Our hearts sank as we grieved for Judy. Little did she know that she would say goodbye to Brad that morning and not see him again. We are mourning today with Judy and her sons as they say goodbye to their Godly husband and dad. Yes, our life is like a vapor.

On Wednesday, I experienced another loss. I woke up that morning to turn on my computer and it wasn't starting. After taking it to the local Apple store, I was told that my hard drive had crashed and would need to be replaced. While it can be fixed, my stomach turned when I realized that I have the last three years of family photos on that hard drive that are not backed up. While I did not lose a family member, I feel like I've lost some precious family moments. I'm praying that I won't have to mortgage my home to retrieve some of the data. The verdict is still out on that one.

Thursday, I experienced another loss. Maybe "loss" isn't the right word--but a life transition. My husband and I took our first born to Norman and moved him into the dorm. While I know every mom does make it through this ordeal, I can't help by consider the loss of not having Conner in his bed every night and not seeing him at the dinner table. While he is doing cartwheels at the University of Oklahoma and enjoying his new freedom, there is a twinge of loss we are feeling in our family. I can't imagine what you moms go through that send your children overseas. I'll just take one step at a time!

So, what have I learned this week? First, in the midst of any loss, we must trust God. If we live our lives in fear and worry, then we are basically living in disobedience. I will remember Philippians 4:4,6 daily.

Second, our lives have one focus and that is to bring glory to God. While we are only here on earth for a short time, let's make our lives point to Him.

Finally, we do need to live as if we might meet Jesus today. The reality is that some day all of us will face God and give an account for our life. Do we play it safe and not live fully for God? What have we risked today so that others would hear the Gospel. Are you ready?

James 4:14 "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

An Issue We Don't Want to Talk About

God's timing has always been an amazing mystery to me. Whether it has been the timing of a job, the gift of finding a husband, or preparing my heart for ministry, I love the way He goes before me and puts things in motion.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I had read the book "Starving Jesus" this summer and wondered how God was going to use that in my life and in my ministry. After today, I think I'm beginning to get a glimpse of where God is taking not only me, but Christian women in Oklahoma and in our nation.

Two weeks ago I sat with Diane Daniels from national WMU and we talked about the national emphasis that will begin in 2010. It's not an easy subject, but it's very real. The subject is human trafficking and human exploitation. Last week I met Debra Epps, the Site Coordinator for a new Christian Women's Job Corp in Muskogee. They will be mentoring women who are struggling for hope in the midst of many issues. Today I was privileged to sit among a group of women who make my ministry look wimpy. It was an FBI task force that is working in conjunction with Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans (OATH). Many of these women work with the justice system, the Salvation Army, United Way and the YWCA. There was one church represented and I was the only representative from a faith based organization.

I don't think it's a coincidence that all three of these conversations happened within two weeks. I believe God is orchestrating something much bigger.

The reality of domestic human trafficking is shocking. Let me share a few statistics with you:

1. Oklahoma is number one in the nation of women per capita who are in prison.
2. Seventy five percent of the women in our prisons have experienced abuse.
3. Oklahoma is number four in the nation of women being murdered by men.
4. Oklahoma is number one in child abuse. This leads to teenage pregnancies, teen prostitution and a myriad of other issues.
5. Currently the FBI has 100 open cases of child abuse in the Oklahoma City area.
6. Eighty (80) percent of human trafficking cases involve teenage girls.
7. It is estimated that there are at least 100,000 children in the United States who are being trafficked. (some estimates put this number at 300,000)
8. The average age for a girl to be involved in teen prostitution is between 12-14 years of age.

Mark Elam, the Director for OATH, shared a national video with all of us that gave us a short picture of what is happening. Can I tell you how my heart sank when the first image was shot at a truck stop right here in Oklahoma City? That's right--Oklahoma City! Because of our interstate crossroads of I-40 and I-35, our metro area is ripe for human trafficking and teen prostitution.

While this is a difficult subject and it is so complex, I have to tell you that I literally felt ill at my stomach during this meeting. What I heard was that there are no easy answers and there is little education. People just don't know what is happening.

So what are we supposed to do? What am I supposed to do? How do I encourage women to embrace and echo God's heart for the world and challenge them to get their feet dirty?

First, we need to educate women in our state about this issue. You can bet that you are going to hear much more from me on this subject and enlightening women to what is happening in our state. I plan to invite Mark to our next state leadership team and begin the process of helping women understand this issue. We must not be silent any more!

Second, as women of faith, we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we must look for practical ways to meet the needs. Whether it's housing for victims, Celebrate Recovery programs, life skills education or even self defense classes, women in the church must pray about how they can be the hands and feet of Christ.

Third, I'm grateful for what is already happening in our state. Dayspring Villa in Tulsa, House of Healing in Oklahoma City, Christian Women's Job Corps, Free at Last ministries, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Hope Pregnancy Centers and many others are already in the fight. Will you support them with your prayers? Will you financially support these ministries? Will you be a volunteer? If you need help connecting, contact our office. There's opportunities for you and your women's group to get involved.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities

I get to spend quite a bit of time traveling Oklahoma highways and turnpikes. It's all part of the job and I actually enjoy meeting new people and seeing how churches are impacting their communities for the Kingdom of God. Today I got to see two very different examples.

I left Oklahoma City among thunder and rain around 8 a.m. and headed towards Tulsa with Paula Adams. Paula is on my state leadership team and just happens to be the wife of my team leader. While most of my trips are made Lone Ranger, Paula got to be Tonto today and I was grateful!

First stop--Old Time Pottery in Broken Arrow. I know that doesn't sound like a place for ministry, but it was a necessary stop to purchase 220 ceramic plates for our upcoming Ministry Wives Weekend October 2-3. All of the participants are going to have time to make a special plate for their family during the weekend. Paula and I just looked a little crazy with four shopping carts of white plates!

After making our purchase, we headed towards FBC, Broken Arrow, to meet other women's ministry leaders who are partners in bringing the You and Your Girl event to the Tulsa area on Saturday, September 12. LifeWay Christian Resources sponsors the event which features author and speaker Vicki Courtney. If you are the mom of a tween or teen, this is a great opportunity for you to spend a quality day with your daughter and have solid teaching spoken to you and to her. I was especially encouraged to watch a music video by the worship leaders for this event. The duo is called Sonflowers and I really like their song "Legacy" (not the one you are probably familiar with) Congrats to Kelly Boudreau who is also on my leadership team for organizing the luncheon and being the city coordinator for this event.

Following the luncheon, Paula and I made our way to Muskogee where we meet Debra, the site coordinator for Oklahoma's first Christian Women's Job Corps site. They have spent two years in preparation and are about to "take off" and receive participants in this program. CWJC sites help women in mentoring situations that offer hope and a future through Biblical instruction and practical job preparation. They are going to meet at Central Baptist, an older church who has graciously opened their doors and given them space to meet and office. I can't tell you how pumped I am about this new missional opportunity for women. Please pray for them and find out how you can volunteer or support their work.

Two cities. Two churches. Two very different methods. One crucial mission. While looking at each from the outside, you would think they are night and day. But each has a heart for reaching women with the Gospel of Christ and providing eternal hope. It was a good day on the road.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A SWEET Time for Women's Leaders

Are you a women's leader in your church? Do you sense God calling you to be a leader in your women's ministry and just don't know where to begin? Whether you have been in leadership for a short time or you are seasoned veteran, our S.W.E.E.T. Saturday event is just for you!

For years I've searched to find quality leadership training. While there are a lot of great opportunities, there are very few conferences which specialize in reaching the women in your church and in your community. That's why our office is sponsoring S.W.E.E.T. Saturday. S.W.E.E.T. stands for Statewide Women's Enrichment and Education Training and is coming Saturday, August 29 at Del City, First Southern Baptist Church.

The registration cost is only $35 (if registered by August 10) and includes the following: general worship sessions featuring Dr. Rhonda Kelley and Paula Hemphill, 20 seminars and forums with specific missions and ministries training, lunch and breaks, and two great resources: a customized flash drive which will contain the handouts from most seminars and the Bible study, A Woman's Guide to Servant Leadership, by Dr. Rhonda Kelley.

Because this is a power-packed day of learning, we suggest you bring an entire ministry team to attend. This gives you the opportunity to scatter for various seminars and then sit down and collectively share what you've learned.

Want to hear more? Go to our website at and click on the SWEET Saturday button. You'll see a detailed schedule, descriptions for seminars and an online registration form.

We hope to see you and your friends there! Look for more blogs this week which will give you a preview of what to expect at SWEET.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Happy Anniversary Baby: Got You On My Mind

It's hard to believe that today I have the privilege of being married to probably the nicest guy in the world for 21 years. I'm not sure why I get to be so lucky, but God gave me a great gift when Vic King entered my life. So, here's the top 10 reasons why I'm glad I'm married to Vic.

10. Without Vic, I would have no Conner and Courtney. And I honestly can't imagine life and love without these two precious gifts.

9. Vic can grill the best onion burgers around. He is the master of the onion burger, which is probably why I don't weigh the same as I did when we got married!

8. If you look on Google images of a golden retriever, I think there's a photo of Vic. He is truly one of the most loyal men I know. He's loyal to his job, his family and most importantly, to God.

7. I've never heard him say a bad word about a person. Seriously. He always see the good in people and he is a true friend.

6. He is generous. I've seen him give money to a homeless man, pledge way more than I thought we could afford in a church capital campaign, and always be the last in our family to buy for himself. If you look in his closet, he has one suit. Seriously, the man probably needs to shop a little more.

5. He gives me many illustrations for speaking topics. Vic has given our whole family many stories that keep people laughing for a long time. My mom says I should write a book about "Vic antics." Latest this summer: shaving his chest in the ocean right next to the yacht club where we were staying.

4. He's content to be the husband of a woman in ministry. That may seem weird, but how many men do you know who have a wife in full time ministry? I truly could not do my job if it weren't for the support of Vic.

3. He loves children and youth. For the past 21 years, I have seen Vic be a volunteer church youth worker for 20 years and a children's Bible Study Fellowship leader for more than 10. Not many men will get up on Friday mornings and be at a BSF training meeting at 5:15 a.m. for more than 10 years!

2. He lives on Frederick time. Frederick is a small town in Oklahoma where Vic served as a youth pastor before we were married. You can get anywhere in town in 5 minutes. We have lived in Oklahoma City all 21 years and Vic still thinks you can get anywhere in 5 minutes. That's why we're always late. But, he definitely doesn't get stressed out about time.

1. The top reason I'm glad I'm married to Vic is because he is a man after God's own heart. For all my weaknesses and faults, he still loves me with the love of Christ and I believe he would do anything for me. That's a love worth finding.

Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wild At Heart

I'm just returning from two weeks of vacation. Ah, but it's good to be back.

Each summer, my family has the privilege of traveling to Westcliffe, Colorado, where my husband's family owns a cabin in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. It is always a refreshing time and one we anticipate each year. The past few years we've only been able to squeeze in about 10 days at the cabin, but this year we had two full weeks. And by full, I mean "full."

The first week we hosted 13 graduating seniors from our church. We kepts six boys, our high school minister and his wife in our cabin. Seven girls slept in a cabin across the street. But, Vic and I were entertainment directors and cooks for all of them for four days. Let's just say I made a lot of trips to the grocery store.

The second week we enjoyed with just our immediate family. I now have a better understanding of why I work with women though. I just don't have the "Wild At Heart" spirit that men possess. My husband had decided we needed to take the old 1970 something Jeep up to the top of the mountain one day. While we had very beautiful views, it was a several hour bumpy ride to the top. My daughter and I kept saying, "Really. You can stop now. We've gone far enough." But, ladies, you know that's never enough for men. We only stopped when the road was too narrow to drive and snow was blocking us.

While we looked below at where we had come, my 18-year-old son, Conner, saw a frozen lake. He made the comment, "I'm going to go hike over there." Yeah, right. There was no way he was going to hike to that mountain lake.

As we ventured back down the mountain (bumping all the way), we decided to stop and fish at one of the mountain lakes. I could tell Conner had something else planned though. He told Vic and I he was headed to the frozen lake that was over a ridge where we had stopped. So, off he went before we really had the opporturntiy to say "no."

An hour later, I was beginning to get that mother worry. I had not seen Conner and had no idea where he was (by HIMSELF!! Yes, you too, can panic) I was trying to tell myself that he was a big boy and knew what he was doing. I was close to Vic when we heard it. Rocks falling. Yes, a rock slide. We looked at each other and simultaneously said, "That's Conner!" (panic again)

I ran to the other side of the lake trying to see if I could see any glimpse of him. No Conner. Nothing. For 30 minutes I looked up at the mountain praying that either he was fine or that I would have the opportunity to kill him when he returned. After 30 minutes, a miracle happened. In an area where there is no cell phone service, I heard my iPhone go off alerting me to a text message. It was from Conner. He had made it to the top and was fine. He just needed to find a different route down because of the danger. Really? Now he decides there's danger.

After 30 more minutes, we were finally within eye sight. Let's just say I was pretty quiet on the trip home. There was a lecture given about never going off alone in the mountains. He should have known this from getting separated on a mission trip in the mountains of Jordan. But, boys are wired differently. They really do long for adventure, even to the point of danger. They are truly wild at heart and we should be glad.

So, today, I'm thankful I get to work with women. I'm thankful for the two non-scheduled appointments with women. I'm thankful that I'm getting to spend next weekend with 115 moms and daughters at CrossTimbers Camp. In fact, there's still room for you and your daughter! Go to while you have time. It will be a weekend with adventure--but probably no rock slides.

Psalm 121:1 "I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from?"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Getting Into the Heads of Young Adult Women

I'm really looking forward to working tonight. Yes, I'll be working. But it's going to be so much fun. 

First, my work time will not be in my office or at the BGCO. It will be at Cuppies and Joe, a cute cupcake and coffee joint near the Paseo area of Oklahoma City. The dessert place is owned by some wonderful friends we attend church with--the Diefenderfers. If you like desserts and a good cup of coffee, you must check out their place. How can it be work when you get to eat cupcakes?

Plus, our office has invited about a dozen young adult women to share with us their insights into reaching young women in our churches and how to best serve their needs through Women's Missions and Ministries. We're going to dialogue about the types of Bible studies they like, why the church is relevant or not relevant to today's culture, etc. I honestly can't wait to hear their answers.

Our research is actually part of a national research effort between several states and LifeWay Christian Resources. Several state leaders are also conducting focus groups. We'll use the information for insight into how Oklahoma can better meet the needs of young adult women, but it will also benefit the national perceptions of women's ministry.

Even if you're not going to be involved in this group, would you like to give us your opinions? If you are between the ages of 18-34, contact our office and we'll e-mail you a list of questions you can answer. The more responses we have, the better we can serve you!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why I don't like Norman Flowers (not)

About a month ago, I was getting ready to go on vacation with my family. I mentioned to one of my co-workers, Norman Flowers, that I needed some good books for summer reading. 

Norman is fairly new to our convention and serving as our campus evangelism specialist. He has a great passion for students to reach lost youth in their schools. He is in charge of our Youth Evangelism Conference that will take place in August. (for more information, you can go to

Before I knew it, Norman was back in my office with a stack of books. They all seemed like a good read to me, so I gladly accepted his offer for me to borrow them. 

The first on the list was one I read on the plane to Miami. It's called "The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family" by Patrick Lencioni. I've read a few of his other books that deal with leadership and team building. I squirmed in my seat the whole time because I think Lencioni has been in my house and listening to our conversations. If your family seems out of control, then it's a good read.

The second book just about did me in though. While it's been popular for awhile, if you haven't read "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan, run to the nearest bookstore and grab a copy. I read it every morning when I went down to the beach for my quiet time. I honestly did not have a morning that I did not weep as I read through the chapters. If you need to fall in love with Jesus all over again, I can't say enough about "Crazy Love." In fact, even though I read Norman's copy, I went ahead and bought a copy for myself because it's just that good.

I'm on the fourth book now and it is "Starving Jesus." I'll be honest. Some of it may seem harsh and crude. But it is a good kick in the pants for those of us who have grown comfortable in the pew and soft in our faith. It's by Craig Gross and J.R. Mahon who are both leaders of the XXX Church. I'm not finished with the book, because I'm trying to really let God speak to me through some of the concepts. Last night I was ready to quit my job and figure out a way to minister to low income women. Seriously, it's that convicting.

So, Norm...I'm not sure I like you very much right now. You've cause me to think way too much this summer and clean out some cobwebs in my heart. I'm being challenged to re-prioritize and consider how we are going to reach others with the Gospel. But while I can tease and say I don't like you, I really want to say "thank you."

I hope your summer reading is just as challenging! What are some of your best reads this summer?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jon and Kate: What went wrong?

I can't even believe that I'm succumbing to the Jon and Kate debate. But it seems to be a topic that everyone is interested in and talking about. So why decide to blog about it? 

First, my ministry for several years has been and continues to be in the area of women's ministry. It concerns me that women flock and follow celebrities such as Oprah and Kate Gosselin, while taking their daughters to Miley Cyrus concerts. Kate may be a professing Christian, but there's some definite tendencies in her life that women should be fleeing from.

I think I can speak pretty candidly about Kate's tendency to "rule the roost" and dominate Jon's authority. I know we only see what the camera is allowing us to see, but wouldn't you think that we are probably seeing the better and not the worse? (I know, it makes for good television drama). 

I am concerned about Jon and Kate. But I also have to look in my own mirror and wonder what the camera would reveal about my own marriage. Why is it so easy to be critical of my husband? Why do I want to win the power struggles? Why do I want to always be right and get my way?

Answer: Sin and Self. Honestly, I'm no better than Kate. I think it's a struggle many women have. Submission to our husbands and to their authority is an age old issue. We fight the "s" word and yet it's God's plan for our protection. We wonder why men aren't the leaders we want them to be and yet we continue to fight for the reigns of authority. 

Today--will you pray for your marriage? Will you pray for the men in your life? And it sure wouldn't hurt to pray for Jon and Kate. 

1 Timothy 2:11: "Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Does History Repeat Itself?

Dr. Robert Haskins recently called my office inquiring information on Sue Howell, Oklahoma's first WMU Corresponding Secretary. She has been considered as an inductee into Oklahoma Baptist's Hall of Fame and Dr. Haskins was trying to find some historial research on this pioneer.

What began as a search for basic information regarding this woman's life, turned into several weeks of a fascinating study on the history of the women's work in Oklahoma. As I looked through the fragile pages of history dating back to the beginning of our convention, I was struck by the questions and issues women were asking 100 years ago. How can we gain the support of a younger generation? How can we keep the spirit of missions alive? How can we better support missions?

Interestingly, our churches are still asking these same questions today. We are dedicating more money and energy investigating our emerging generation. We continue to try to be relevent in our culture. And we must continue to ask the question, "How do we keep the spirit of missions alive?"

It saddens me that as Southern Baptists we have fallen short in reaching our goal for the annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering that supports our international missionaries. While God continues to call out people to reach the nations, we have failed to sacrifice our own selfish materialism. And I'm not just talking about individuals (although it always comes down to the individual). Many churches continue to decline in their Cooperative Program giving (although Oklahoma is doing better than most). I recently heard a church staff member make the comment, "We've been saying we have 5,000 missionaries since I can remember. Why aren't we sending more?"

While some are speculating that the convention structure needs to be re-appropriated, I contend that it's not the structure of Southern Baptists. It's our general commitment to supporting the structure. If every Southern Baptist tithed on a regular basis and every church committed 10 percent to the Cooperative Program, we could easily send twice as many international missionaries and our local churches would have enough to expand their own local missions and ministries.

May I also remind you that no other denomination has been as successful at international missions than Southern Baptists? For more than 100 years, because of the Cooperative Program and gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, our missionaries are able to perform the task God has called them to do and not come home to raise their support.

Do we do everything right? Nope. We're human and we all make mistakes. Is it time to re-evaluate? Possibly. Don't we all need to re-evaluate our priorities and commitment regarding giving? May the Great Commission Resurgence begin in our hearts and also in our sacrifice.