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.