WMU report to SBC highlights gospel conversations
WMU President Connie Dixon and Executive Director-Treasurer Sandy Wisdom-Martin urged gospel conversations during their report to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting on June 14.
“Our prayer is that every touchpoint of WMU – every ministry – will lead to conversations that transform lives,” Dixon asserted. “We teach the missional disciplines of prayer, giving sacrificially, learning about God’s work in the world, doing missions, but we want everything to lead to opportunities to tell others about Jesus.”
A video illustrated four personal accounts of gospel conversations.
Serena Butler recounted sharing Jesus with a bus driver, who she learned was a practicing Muslim, on an international mission trip. She followed the Lord’s leading and witnessed the bus driver come to faith in Christ. Butler said the experience was “a reminder to me that we need to be obedient when the Lord prompts us because we just never know when a miracle is going to take place.”
Travis McCormick shared how his love and passion for Royal Ambassadors started more than 40 years ago when he was saved and first felt called to ministry at RA camp at the age of 9. Decades later, his oldest son, James, also became a Christ follower at RA Camp.
McCormick said, “The ministries of WMU have played an important part and an important role in my life. They’ve given me direction, they’ve given me purpose, and they’ve given me a passion. And I want to share that passion with others and let them know that they too can learn how to be on mission every single day of their lives.”
Jess Archer recalled being on vacation in New York when a woman asked her if she could share her faith. Archer agreed so she could in turn ask permission to share her faith. After an extended conversation, Archer said, “She didn’t trust Christ as her Lord and Savior that day, but she walked away happy that we were able to have friendly discourse, and I walked away knowing that I was obedient in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Jon Jeffries, who served with his family through the International Mission Board, voiced appreciation for support provided by WMU while they were on the field and prayers that continue to be answered. He told of a “seemingly random” phone call that led to the beginning of a friendship that continues to this day, over one year later, and an ongoing gospel conversation.
“I honestly don’t know where exactly he is in his faith,” Jeffries said, “but the Lord does and God is faithful. I continue to talk with my friend and pray for him. It reminds me that some gospel conversations happen in one sitting and some over a period of time.”
Wisdom-Martin then related a personal account of why she “believes so passionately about what we do together as Southern Baptists.”
She told of a phone call in which her mother asked her to make a trip to her home state of Illinois for a baptism at Lake Sallateeska of a female college student and a 60-year-old man.
The testimony of the man was he had “walked the aisle” when he was a child, but he recognized that for him, it had not been a real profession of faith. A few years ago, a family tragedy caused him to consider his life, and his public baptism would be his testimony to follow Christ relentlessly. The man attends a rural church plant of a rural church plant that has received funds from the North American Mission Board. Additionally, the pastor of both church plants was mentored by Kevin Ezell years prior when he served as an intern at a church where Ezell was pastor at the time.
“As I was watching these two candidates of a church plant get baptized in a lake last fall,” Wisdom-Martin reflected, “I’m thinking, ‘How did we get here? How did we get to this moment in time?’” She said it was the work of a local church; the work of a church planter; the work of her home association, Nine Mile; the work of her home convention, Illinois Baptist State Association; and the work of the North American Mission Board and the influence of their president, Kevin Ezell.
“Now I have always – always – been a strong advocate of what we do together,” Wisdom-Martin asserted. “But today it is more personal to me than ever, because the 60-year-old man that was baptized at Lake Sallateeska last fall by the church planter is my brother, Doug. How many conversations and touchpoints did it take to reach my brother among Southern Baptists to come faith in Christ?
“What we do together as Southern Baptists matters,” she continued. “Today I want to say thank you for what you are doing for the kingdom. It’s our honor – our privilege – to co-labor with you.”
Julie Walters serves as corporate communications manager for national WMU.