Launching a new era of leadership while celebrating 35 years of ministry, Baptist Nursing Fellowship elected Lori Spikes as the organization’s new executive director during BNF’s annual meeting Sept. 7-9 at Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center.
Spikes, a longtime Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionary to Chile, is a registered nurse with 40 years of experience in various settings. She currently serves as a volunteer triage nurse at Mission First, a primary care clinic for low-income, uninsured individuals and families in Jackson, Miss.
Baptist Nursing Fellowship, a ministry partner with National Woman’s Missionary Union, was established in 1983. It provides continuing education, missions opportunities and fellowship for Baptist nurses serving in the U.S. and on mission fields around the world. This year’s annual meeting, which highlighted the theme, “Glorifying God with Mind and Voice,” involved more than 50 participants from 16 states.
Announcing Spikes’ nomination as executive director, BNF President Kaye Miller told the group, “After much prayer individually and collectively, the Lord led the Executive Committee to a unanimous vote on the candidate.” Noting that the committee compiled a needs list, a want list and a dream list for determining the new leader, Miller added, “On that dream list, there was one item and it was ‘missionary.’ It’s my great privilege to introduce to you today the woman that the Lord has put on the committee’s heart.”
Spikes, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Samford University, served as an IMB Journeyman nurse in Honduras from 1980 to 1982. She and her husband, Dr. Jim Spikes, served in Chile for 20 years where her work included serving as a parish nursing volunteer, coordinator of volunteer medical teams and administrative assistant. They also served with the American Peoples Diaspora in Europe and Canada for five years before returning to the States in 2015. She most recently served as chair of BNF’s resource development committee.
Describing Spikes’ skill set as “team leadership, budgeting and finance, strong verbal communications and experienced in global strategy,” Miller said, “She’s bilingual in Spanish and English and boy can she plan an event. Isn’t it amazing when God provides? I think BNF is in wonderful, wonderful hands.”
“It’s been rather daunting to see what the task is ahead,” Spikes acknowledged, “but also knowing it is a God thing, God is going to provide what is necessary in all areas.”
She said her new leadership role “is a way I can continue my missionary desire and experience to reach out to those in need and to encourage and help this group go forward.”
Noting that “our core values are fellowship and missions and supporting missionary nurses,” Spikes said goals for BNF include organizing and hosting annual international and stateside medical mission trips as well as “reaching out to nursing students to give them that desire and dream that God has given them this gift of nursing to help their fellow man and to share the love of Jesus Christ.”
Citing the need to make more nurses and other healthcare professionals aware of the resources and benefits available through BNF, Spikes emphasized, “There are a lot of Christian nurses who could benefit from the fellowship and who could change their world where they live.”
As BNF celebrated 35 years of ministry, the three-day meeting included a BNF birthday party as well as worship and Bible study sessions, missionary field reports, continuing education sessions and hands-on missions projects such as writing notes of encouragement to student nurses, prayer walking and assembling activity books for chemotherapy patients.
Wanda Lee, former president and retired executive director of National WMU, led Bible studies highlighting the meeting theme of glorifying God.
“Your life is a reflection of your thoughts,” Lee reminded her fellow nurses. “What consumes your mind controls your life.”
Affirming that “our minds are wonderful gifts from God,” she added, “They can be used for much good. … We’re commanded to love God with all of our selves, including our minds. You make up your mind about what you believe and then you have to allow it to impact your life.”
Citing Philippians 4:7-8, she said, “The peace of God will guard our hearts and minds when we fill them with the things of Christ.”
Concerning glorifying God with one’s voice, Lee said, “What we allow our minds to dwell on ultimately comes out of our mouths. We are called to glorify God with one voice.”
Emphasizing the need for believers to seek common ground and glorify God in one accord, she said Ephesians 4:5 declares that “the one thing that can bring us together is when we acknowledge this one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
Dr. Ellen Tabor, the founding president of BNF, was among participants who gathered to mark the organization’s 35-year ministry milestone. She and her husband, Dr. Charles Tabor, served for 20 years as Southern Baptist missionaries to Korea and Macau.
Dr. Tabor, who will celebrate her 90th birthday in October, noted that her initial dream for BNF, “which we have kept the whole time, was that we would invite nurses who have a calling from God to use their nursing skills to advance His work whether in America or on the mission field.”
“My approach is see wherever you’re working with your health skills, see where you can help that person’s life be better in managing their health and being able to live healthy lives,” she explained. “Also, if they do not have the dimension of spiritual health, that they will want to be connected to the salvation experience of knowing Christ.”
Future BNF ministry projects include a medical missions trip to “God’s Love from a Diaper Bag” ministry to single mothers and families in Jenkins, Ky., in May 2019 and an international missions trip to Thailand in October 2019.
By Trennis Henderson, WMU National Correspondent