NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Kay Warren, wife of the well-known author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” called the wives of preachers to be purpose-driven women at the 50th anniversary of the annual Southern Baptist Ministers’ Wives Conference.
More than 1,500 women attended the June 21 event in the Renaissance Nashville Hotel on the first day of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting
In addition to Warren, the program included singer Jaci Velasquez and the presentation of the Mrs. J.M. Dawson Award for service to the SBC and Christian character to Rhonda Kelley of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
“All of it is a real blessing,” said Susan Lee, a conference attendee from Tennessee for more than 20 years. “The camaraderie of being with other pastors’ wives and sharing common hurts with each other is a blessing.”
“God has created you for five purposes, talked about in The Purpose-Driven book,” Kay Warren, the mother of three children whose husband, Rick, pastors Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., said in her address to the conference.
But, she acknowledged, “We can live them [the five purposes] and still feel that flatness. The kind when a Coke has been opened and set on a shelf … [I]t is still sweet but flat.”
Warren, a survivor of breast cancer, noted, “Some of you here need rest; some are hanging on by your fingernails.” The five purposes “are not enough,” she said. “You must also have passion.”
To find their passion again, the women must “seek God first, then die to yourselves, read the Scriptures, care for others and share our faith,” Warren said.
Seeking God requires being in His presence, she said.
“If your life is barren, empty and dry … don’t start with the external, going for the easy fix. Start with the internal that leads to the eternal. We are doers. To recover our passion it will require being in His presence.”
She encouraged the women to not “push pain away.”
“When you see the commercials of children starving, don’t automatically reach for the remote control,” said Warren, whose burden for people affected by HIV/AIDS is reflected in her travels on behalf of Saddleback’s Global Peace Plan. “Don’t change the channel. Let your heart hurt like Jesus’ does every day. Pray. Then tell God, ‘Here I am.’ Take a short-term mission trip. Say, ‘Please use me to be about Your business.”
Women are marvelous at pushing away pain, Warren said.
But, she noted, “In God’s unfathomable way, pain pushes you to cry out to Him passionately…. [I]t drives us into passionate communion with Him, which He longs for. In that moment suddenly intimacy occurs.”
Warren urged the women and their husbands to attend the first Saddleback HIV/AIDS Conference to inform church leaders about the epidemic spreading across the world. Warren and her husband, along with Bill and Lynne Hybels, will host the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 sessions at Saddleback.
Ginny Whitten, the outgoing conference president, said after Warren’s address, “I hope these were not just words, but agents of change.”
Officers for 2006, introduced during the luncheon, will be Dorothy Patterson of Fort Worth, Texas, president; Karen Gilbert of Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., vice president; Dianne Wittman of Applewood Baptist Church, Arvada, Colo., recording secretary-treasurer; and Lauren Fletcher of Ridgewood Baptist Church, Orange Park, Fla., corresponding secretary.
The guest speaker for 2006 will be George Andersen, an internationally recognized interior designer whose clients include the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion and the White House. The conference theme will be “Filling Your Home With God’s Love.”