associational

Annual Planning and a Movie

When you think of a WMU annual planning retreat, I surmise you do not think one of the activities would be to sit and watch a Disney/Pixar movie, right? When was the last time you watched a children’s movie and gathered leadership lessons from it?

Several years ago, my team and I had the most fun doing just that at our annual planning retreat. After an afternoon of discussion and thoughtful planning, the highlight was watching Toy Story 3.

We got our popcorn, turned down the lights, and started to watch the hilarious antics of Woody and the gang. We laughed so hard that night!

The movie’s premise is this: Andy (Woody and the other toys’ owner) is leaving for college. While cleaning his room, he places his favorite toys in a box to be stored, but through a series of mishaps, the toys end up at a children’s day care. The toys’ mission/vision was to get back to Andy.

We learned the following lessons:

The Association: More than Marketing

We support lots of organizations throughout our lifetime: parent/teacher groups at our children’s schools, local and national charities that touch our lives, neighborhood supper clubs, professional organizations related to our employment. All these groups are excellent and meet a relevant need, but what about your local Baptist association? When was the last time you celebrated what God was doing in and through your association’s churches?

People are starved for meaningful community, and they want more than just being a target of marketing and consumerism. Associational missions can be the connector for people to experience a holy more as you partner with others of like mind. Heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul encounters through associational missions are a beautiful thing that changes you and your community.

Many church members have forgotten or never learned how Baptists partner through the association. An Associational Missions Emphasis event is a fun way to educate them. The payback is huge. God is glorified and people are loved and helped in the name of Christ.

Plan

World Water Day: Pure Water, Pure Love

How many times have you used water today? Did you stop and wonder if the water was clean? Most likely you use water more times in a day than you realize and you are blessed with not having to wonder whether the water you are drinking is safe and clean. However, this is not the case in many places around the world. Did you know that more than 663 million people lack access to clean water? The need for clean water access is great as the lack of clean water leads to numerous water-related diseases. Consider the following:

Free Downloads for Leaders

Downloads for Leaders

Missions discipleship for all ages happens in the church through WMU organizations which encourage participants to:

  • Pray for missions.
  • Engage in mission action and witnessing.
  • Learn about missions.
  • Support missions.
  • Develop spiritually toward a missions lifestyle.
  • Participate in the work of the church and the denomination.

These are the six key objectives of WMU in the church. To help you keep these in the forefront, download these free Church WMU Objectives posters (Note: posters are designed to be 18” x 23” but will reduce to letter-size when printed on a home printer):

Focus on Generations

Imagine a gym full of preschoolers through women in their 80s. Imagine fun and games mixed with ministry. Imagine a multigenerational morning celebrating Focus on WMU association-wide. 

While it might sound unwieldy to have all age levels together for 1 large event, everyone in our association enjoyed eating a potluck brunch before the children led in prayer for those on the missionary prayer calendar. Soon everyone split into groups to work on ministry projects specifically designed for his or her age level.

Moms who were not members of Women on Mission participated with other women and learned more about missions. In a role reversal, the children worked on projects while the adults played games designed to help them learn more about missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® using ideas that could be duplicated in their churches. Laughter swirled around the gym.

Pray for Missions

Prayer is vital to all we do in WMU. We can’t all go, but we can all pray.

Hold a special prayertime focusing on those serving globally and in the United States. Pray also for those without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel.

Recently I had the privilege of meeting a missionary family who served in Brazil for many years through the International Mission Board (IMB) and learning the story of their miracle daughter, Priscila: 

In 1996, we were pregnant with baby number 4. We were just out of language school and living in Niterói, a city of around 500,000. We had planned on having this baby like the previous 3 and doing natural childbirth. We had finally found a doctor who would agree to not do a C-section and had just begun practicing our Lamaze breathing methods. However, God had other plans. Our youngest daughter, Priscila, was not going to come into this world on time but would instead arrive 2 months premature.

Experiencing the Ripple Effect

Have you noticed that when God is at work, there is a ripple effect? Not only does He change the life of an individual, but often He also affects the individual’s friends and acquaintances.

I love seeing this happen in Luke 5:17–26. A man is lowered by his friends to Jesus. He is healed. Not only is the man healed but his friends’ faith is also strengthened and the crowd is amazed. I saw the same ripple effect course through the Familyfest held in our city of Indianapolis in 2015. 

Here’s a glimpse into what took place to plan our Crossroads Baptist Association Familyfest:

State Missions Coffeehouse

One of our church’s most successful state missions events was the Applause! Coffeehouse. To celebrate what God is doing in our state and promote the state missions offering, the fellowship hall was transformed into a coffeehouse, complete with casual seating and subdued lighting. Specially designed placemats featured facts about the state missions offering, a brief story about one of the ministries the offering supports, and a state missions word search puzzle.

Adorning one wall was an art display featuring the state missions artwork the children had created during their regular Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors meetings.

Specialty coffees were served, as well as tea, hot chocolate, and an assortment of bakery items. A tip jar was available for people to give to the state missions offering.

While there was ample time for those attending to converse with their friends, there was also entertainment, which included stories about missions work in our state, a comedy routine about church planting, and special music with a missions theme.

By All Means

 What does "By All Means" mean? How can you explain the 2016–2018 WMU emphasis theme clearly to church members of all ages? Instead of telling them, why don't you show them? Use the following 5 scenarios to paint a picture of what serving "By All Means" looks like in everyday life. 

Each of the 5 scenarios can be expanded as time allows. The performers remain in place at the end of each scenario. The skit concludes with a responsive reading.

Scenario 1

A man with cancer asks his doctor if they can pray together before his risky surgery. The doctor replies, “By all means, yes,” and the 2 bow their heads to pray.

Scenario 2

A teenage boy asks his dad if he can borrow the car to take his unchurched friend to the evangelistic youth meeting at church. The father says, “By all means, son,” and hands his son the car keys.

Scenario 3

A visitor at church asks to sit next to a church member. The church member says, “By all means,” and the visitor sits down beside him.

Wherever He Leads I’ll Go

For many of us, the title of this blog brings to mind the title of one of the wonderful hymns of our faith. It is one of my favorites.

I must confess that as much as I love singing this beautiful hymn, I have to be very aware of the words—“Wherever He leads I’ll go.” You see, I’m a planner and an administrator. While these can be great traits, they can also be stumbling blocks. I have to ask, “Are these your plans, Lord, or mine?” Ouch!

As I reflect on the emphasis, All for You, I’m continually challenged to surrender, sacrifice, and serve:

• surrender completely by denying self;

• sacrifice willingly by taking up my cross;

• serve intentionally by following Christ into my community, state, and world.

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’” (Mark 8:34 NIV).

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