By Marilyn Stewart, Regional Reporter
MANDEVILLE – A “Grounded, Growing, and Bearing Fruit” theme called women to live on mission at the Women’s Missionary Union Missions Celebration and 117th annual meeting, March 31-April 1, at First Baptist, Mandeville.
Cindy Townsend, former LBC women’s missions and ministry director now serving as executive-treasurer of the Mississippi Baptist Convention’s WMU and women’s ministries, challenged attendees to shine the light on Jesus.
“We are to go to our corner of Louisiana and we are to put the spotlight on Jesus,” Townsend said. “If we put the spotlight on him, he will draw them unto himself.”
More than 150 guests attended the event led by speakers Gibbie McMillan, Louisiana Baptists men’s ministry and disaster relief strategist; Gina Roberts, International Mission Board; and, Lena Plunk, WMU ministry consultant for mobilization, Birmingham, Alabama.
A special collection benefitting the Mississippi River Christmas Ministry, an evangelistic effort serving families along the river, filled 38 backpacks with toys, schools supplies, hygiene items, and Bibles to be given away.
Other activities included a missions fair highlighting ministries around the world, a Louisiana Baptist Nursing Fellowship prayer breakfast, and a focused prayer time for missions.
Officers were elected in a brief business session during the event: Cameron Mullins, First Lafayette, president; Dot Chappelle, Pleasant Grove, Jonesville, vice-president; Carolyn Fountain, Franklin Ave., New Orleans, recording secretary; Susan Cheatwood, Magnolia Baptist, Saline, assistant recording secretary; and Brenda Blackman, First Lafayette, scholarship committee chair.
Janie Wise, Louisiana Baptists women’s missions and ministry strategist, pointed to the importance of every believer making missions a priority.
“We live in a state where one out of every two persons is lost,” Wise said. “If we’re going to reach the world, we have to reach the states.”
EQUIPPED FOR THE TASK
At the missions brunch, concluding the weekend event, Townsend told listeners that to be equipped for missional living they must remain: “In His Word, on His mission, by His grace, and for His glory.”
Townsend recounted her visit to “Speaker’s Corner” in Hyde Park, London, where large crowds gathered in the open-air, free speech venue to direct hate speech toward America and toward biblical, traditional marriage. Nearby, a man with a sign reading “Jesus is Lord” sat quietly talking to individuals and leading them to faith in Christ, Townsend said.
Like the man in the park, every woman who serves God faithfully can make an impact, Townsend said, adding that when the task seems overwhelming, remember “who you are.”
“Who are we?” Townsend asked. “We are women in His word. We are women on His mission. We are women who can only do it by His grace. And why do we do it? For His glory.”
A LIFESTYLE OF MINSTRY
“If you are a follower of Christ, you’re called to live a lifestyle of ministry,” Plunk told listeners in the Saturday morning session. She then asked, “What does that look like on a daily basis?”
Start with a broken heart for others, Plunk said, adding that a missional lifestyle is centered on true compassion, true humility and true meekness.
Take note of people encountered daily whether it’s at the coffee shop, the grocery store, or nail salon, Plunk said.
“The most important encounter in ministry is not the encounter with you, but their encounter with Jesus,” Plunk said. “And you’re simply called to set up that encounter. Prepare yourself to set up that encounter by clothing yourself in Christ and arming yourself with the truth of the Scripture. And in doing these things, you will be prepared to live a missional lifestyle.”