EDITOR’S NOTE: Please see related story, “Jeana Floyd receives ministers’ wives award,” following this article.
COLUMBUS (BP) — Angie Smith told more than 1,000 ministers’ wives how much she had dreaded to speak at this year’s Ministers’ Wives Luncheon, held during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16.
To explain, she pointed to her first experience with Christians as a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University. Not yet a Christian, she had been invited to a Bible study — “whatever that was!” — by fellow students who instructed her to go to the LifeWay bookstore to buy her Bible study book.
In the store’s parking lot, the Beastie Boys blaring from her radio, Smith froze in fear. As she looked into the store, she felt she didn’t belong, a sentiment she carried throughout her early experiences as a new believer. She left the parking lot empty-handed, but still attended the study, where she later became a Christian.
“I felt really awkward when I became a Christian as an adult,” Smith confessed, sharing she would look up all the Bible passages in advance of each Bible study so that she wouldn’t look foolish in front of others. She also bought children’s Bibles at the LifeWay store so that she could better understand the Bible’s storylines.
Those “baby steps” eventually led to her becoming a LifeWay author of several books, including the recently released “Seamless,” a seven-session Bible study that helps explain the Bible as one complete story.
She is also the author of a blog entitled, “Bring the Rain” (now at angiesmithministries.com) and the books, “I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy,” and “Mended,” works born out of the loss of her and her husband Todd’s newborn daughter Audrey in 2008. Todd is lead singer of the Dove Award-winning group Selah.
“Isn’t it ironic that I have been publishing with LifeWay for seven years now? Next time I do this, I am going to stand outside a bank!” Smith joked.
“But here’s the point. In that [parking lot] moment, God saw me sitting there, in this mess, and because of women like you who are sitting in this room, who just reached out and made me feel welcome, I am where I am today … as one who’s eternity is secure.”
Acknowledging many ministers’ wives feel inadequate for their tasks, she told them, “You’ve been called to be exactly where you are. You’ve been equipped to be the wife to the man that you are married to, to be the mother of your children, to be in the specific role in ministry … none of these things are accidental.”
Her voice cracking with emotion, Smith said, “Yet I know sometimes you might feel, ‘God, did you pick the wrong girl?'”
Encouraging the ministers’ wives from Psalm 34:4 to stay focused on the Lord, Smith reminded them what was their responsibility — to “seek, look, cry, and fear Him” — and what was God’s — He “answered, delivered, heard, saved.”
“I want to focus the rest of my days … with a radiance,” she said.
This year’s luncheon president, Mary Cox of Lawrenceville, Ga., said this year’s luncheon theme, “Radiant,” was based on Moses in Exodus 34:29, whose face was radiant because he had been with the Lord. “There are times we struggle with the stress of ministry and we do not feel like being radiant,” Cox said, “but when we look to the Lord and spend time with Him, we will become radiant.”
Guest musician TaRanda Greene, who began her career with Southern Gospel group The Greenes also shared her struggles. In 2010, she found herself a widow and a single mother of two girls, a story she now shares through music and testimony. She led a powerful rendition of the hymn, “It is Well,” which culminated into a standing ovation.
Officers for the 2016 luncheon in St. Louis, Mo., with the theme “Be Encouraged,” are Vicki Munton, of O’Fallon, Ill., president; and Sheila Peters of Columbia, Ill., Wyvetta Granger of East St. Louis, Ill., and Donna Quails of Arnold, Mo., as vice presidents.
Next year’s featured speaker at the June 14 luncheon will be popular comedian Anita Renfroe, who is known for her “unique brand of estrogen flavored musical comedy.” She has been featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “Dr. Phil,” CBS’s “The Early Show,” Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” and many other media outlets.
Jeana Floyd receives ministers’ wives award
By Shannon Baker
COLUMBUS (BP) — Jeana Floyd, wife of Ronnie Floyd, current president of the Southern Baptist Convention, received the 2015 Willie Turner Dawson Award during the SBC Ministers’ Wives Luncheon at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Columbus on June 16.
Each year, the Dawson Award recognizes a minister’s wife for making a distinct denominational contribution beyond the local church and for her Christian character and service to others.
Floyd has been a pastor’s wife for more than 38 years, the last 28 years at Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. During that time, Floyd felt her greatest calling and responsibility in ministry, aside from her family, was to invest into the lives of the wives of her church’s staff.
Pointing toward the overflowing crowd of women at the luncheon, Floyd shared, “We make this ministers’ wives thing look easy. Everybody’s all cutesy-upped, lots of hugs and smiles … but in all reality, we know there are challenges and sometimes struggles being a ministers’ wife and in life in general.”
For example, she shared how last year’s award recipient, Jeannie Elliff, has just endured 24 consecutive weeks of chemotherapy.
“I honestly believe we are entering the days when we will need each other more than ever before,” said Floyd, who also is a breast cancer survivor, having been diagnosed in 1990.
Floyd founded the Cancer Network of Northwest Arkansas, a support group for cancer patients and their families, which she led for nine years. She also has been involved in teaching Bible studies in local women’s jail ministry. Currently, she leads a weekly Bible study in her neighborhood, ministering to women from different denominations.
On the denominational level, Floyd served as president for the Ministers’ Wives Luncheon in 2002, chairman for the Dawson Award Committee the last two years (2013-2014), and currently serves on the board of the Women’s Session for the SBC Pastors’ Conference. She is the author of two books, “An Uninvited Guest,” and “10 Things Every Minister’s Wife Needs to Know.”
In her introduction, Rhonda Kelley, wife of New Orleans Seminary President Chuck Kelley, congratulated Floyd for her “sweet, humble spirit … faithfulness to the Lord, and exceptional leadership.”
The Floyds, who married in 1976, have two sons, Josh and Nick, and six grandchildren. Her father was a Southern Baptist pastor who served for more than 50 years. Her mother, now 91, was to Floyd, her “very first example of a godly pastor’s wife.”
The Willie Turner Dawson Award was established in 1963 when the ministers’ wives group posthumously honored Willie Turner Dawson, wife of J.M. Dawson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. Willie Turner Dawson was a teacher and lecturer who in 1930 successfully challenged the Southern Baptist Convention to give more to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.