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Helping people cross bridge to missions lifestyle is WMU’s goal

PHOENIX (BP)–Wanda S. Lee, executive director/treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union, said missions leaders are responsible for helping people move from a faint flirtation with missions to a committed, sold-out love affair with God’s plan for reaching those who do not know Him.

“All of us build missions bridges. We have to go to the river — to where the people are — and do whatever it takes to help them cross over the bridge to a missions lifestyle,” Lee said during her address to the WMU executive board June 14 in Phoenix.

Lee identified three distinct bridges to focus on strengthening for the cause of missions. First, she called for a stronger partnership, or bridge, between national WMU and the state WMU executive directors, WMU presidents and staff.

“I believe God is about to do something significant with WMU in our churches and associations as national WMU and our state WMUs build an even stronger bridge of missions partnership,” Lee said.

Secondly, national WMU endeavors to build strong bridges with directors of missions and state convention executive directors. This audience is crucial to missions growth and involvement in the local church.

“We greatly value the role these leaders have in missions growth and are committed to seeking ways to build stronger bridges and partnerships with state and associational leaders,” she said.

Through several initiatives, such as the launch of a new WMU website, directorofmissions.com, communication and relationships with these leaders continues to grow stronger.

The third bridge Lee identified is to the future of missions and WMU.

“By doing what God has called each of us to do, we will be able to discover His direction for how to build these missions bridges,” Lee said. Referring to the recent 12.3 percent growth in WMU involvement according to the recent ACP (Annual Church Profile) results, Lee said WMU should “look expectantly to an exciting future of missions as Christians find a renewed interest in looking outward and serving others.”

In closing, Lee said, “If the desire of our hearts is to love God with all that we have — heart, soul, mind and strength — then He will take the overflow of our hearts and use it to build bridges that will accomplish His purpose. He will grant each of us the wisdom to know where to build the bridge and then give us the strength and determination to go and do it. These are exciting days as we work together for the cause of missions.”

In other business, the executive board:

— Set the 2005 goal for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering at $55 million.

— Set the 2004 goal for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering at $150 million.

— Approved Charles Rumbley as the new Director of Operations for WMU.

— Approved Nashville, Tenn., as the location for the 2005 WMU annual meeting.

— Voted to change the name of Dimension magazine, a WMU publication for WMU directors, pastors, directors of missions and other missions leaders to Missions LeaderSM, effective with the fall 2004 issue.

— Voted to hold a WMU national missions event at LifeWay Conference Center at Ridgecrest Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2005 to provide inspiration, spiritual renewal and training.

During a dessert fellowship jointly hosted by WMU and the WMU Foundation June 15, the Dellanna West O’Brien Award for women’s leadership development was presented to Kay Bennett, a NAMB field representative who serves as director at the Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans, La.

Rev. Steve Reed, pastor of First Baptist Church of Erwin, N.C., was named the recipient of the Lillian Isaacs Literacy Missions Endowment. The award is named after Lillian Isaacs, a missionary who inspired hundreds of Christians to follow her footsteps in literacy missions ministries.

For more information about Woman’s Missionary Union, visit www.wmu.com, or call (205) 991-8100.