By Sarah Sutton, Message Summer Staff Writer
MONROE – For the past year and a half the women of First Baptist Monroe have been working to promote something in their church they felt was seriously lacking– connection.
The Women’s Missions Ministry began in mid 2008, thanks to Sandy Miller, coordinator.
In January 2008 Sandy Miller and her husband Pastor Alan had been at FBC for a little over a year and a half. It was then, she said, that God gave her a vision for a women’s ministry.
After discussing her desire for a new ministry with her husband and other members of the church, Miller decided on “connection” for the ministry’s theme.
As the world becomes more technologically advanced, with text messaging and email, people need personal connections, Miller said. This Women’s Missions Ministry connects women with each other, and with Jesus.
In May 2008, the ministry held its first event, “Friendships in Bloom.” Around 20 women were involved designing graphics, helping with publicity and decorating for the event. A few even made goody bags for the Friday night fellowship.
The preparation paid off, Miller said. Over 130 women, young and old, attended to mingle and get to know each other. It was the start of many events to come.
“I thought, God’s really doing something,” Miller said. “Through “Friendships in Bloom” the seed was planted. Women became connected.”
From then on the Women’s Missions Ministry had an event every month, when possible, holding Bible studies and fellowships.
Miller said an important part of the ministry is incorporating missions education. At each event they have a “missions moment,” teaching the attendees new facts about missions and the missionaries serving around the world.
A large part of the ministry’s success, she continued, is due to the WMU. With the WMU working in tandem with the Women’s Missions Ministry, they have made a greater impact in the church.
The ministry is now up to two big events per year, Miller said. One takes place in the spring, the other in the fall. Last fall’s event was “Baskets of Blessings,” developing an attitude of gratitude.
“We had women give their testimonies,” Miller said. “We wanted to show all the different walks of life, and the blessings God gives.”
The next event in April 2009 returned the focus to missions. “Hats Off,” short for “hats off to missions,” encouraged the attending ladies to pray for the mission teams in service. Each table of women wrote down a prayer request for missionaries.
Young ladies and women from G.A.s, Acteens, the WMU and various other mission organizations gave their testimonies in support of the missions incorporation.
Miller said it has been a joy for her to watch the women grow. Women who attend a meeting for the first time may end up leading at an event soon after.
The women of the ministry, and in the church, have ministered to Miller herself, she said. In early July Miller underwent hip surgery in Fort Worth, Texas.
“The ladies have really helped,” Miller said. “They have ministered to me, and they have continually prayed for me.”
Miller said they are planning for the year ahead, and she hopes to see the ministry, and the women, continue to spiritually grow.