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Ministers’ wives honor Mary Mohler’s service

Author and speaker Whitney Capps addressed ministers' wives on the theme "Jesus Above All" June 13 in New Orleans. Photo by Robin Cornetet

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – Mary Mohler, wife of Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was honored with the Willie Turner Dawson award at the Ministers’ Wives Luncheon Tuesday, June 13, at the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

The annual award recognizes a minister’s wife for making a distinct denominational contribution beyond the local church and for modeling Christian character and service to others.

Mary Mohler (at podium) accepts the Willie Turner Dawson Award at the 2023 SBC Ministers’ Wives Luncheon June 13 in New Orleans. Photo by Robin Cornetet

Mohler accepted the award “believing fully that there are hundreds of Southern Baptist ministry wives in this room and thousands outside of this room who are more deserving than I am,” she said.

Such women, Mohler said, “are serving in difficult places amongst difficult people who get very little affirmation and yet are persevering day after day.”

“We know Scripture teaches us that God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the labor you do and the love you show in His name in serving the saints,” Mohler said.

Among the ways Mohler has contributed to Southern Baptist life is her founding of the Seminary Wives Institute, an academic program for student wives at Southern Seminary which has trained thousands of women since 1997.

Whitney Capps of Proverbs 31 Ministries spoke on the theme “Jesus Over All,” greeting the sold-out luncheon of 2,000 women with tears. “I don’t know you, but I love you because of what you offer for the body of Christ.”

Capps, a pastor’s daughter, quickly identified the reality of many women in the room.

“I suspect that the tension for you is not that Jesus is not over all. It’s that people get in the way of you seeing Jesus,” she said. “It’s difficult for us to keep our eyes on Jesus and also simultaneously serve people who, if we’re honest, don’t often look exactly like Jesus.

“It’s easy for us to become so focused on the people that we serve that we lose sight of the Jesus that is over all of that.”

Capps shared that she battled cancer for the past two years and now is in remission.

“I have cried more tears over being in ministry than I did because I had cancer,” she said. “Here’s what I want to say to you: I know that the thing that you are called to is wonderful and holy and sublime and wicked hard. It is so hard to love people the way Jesus wants us to when we’re broken and they’re broken.”

Capps read from Colossians 1 and said the church at Colossae was a church under pressure, much like American churches today. The Colossians struggled with polytheism, which is a subtle temptation in the lives of ministers’ wives.

“I suspect that you affirm that Jesus is the one and only, but practically, when church gets hard, I just want to tell you – [I’m the] chief of sinners – it’s because I’ve tried to set Jesus among other idols,” she said. “The idol of fame, the idol of security, the idol of comfort, the idol of convenience, the idol of safety, the idol of social media, the idol of gluttony, the idol of pride, the idol of short-temperedness.”

When believers place Jesus beside other gods, they diminish who He is, Capps said.

“So if you’re struggling to find the joy in ministry, the satisfaction in ministry, the call to persevere in ministry, is it possible that we are worshiping a Jesus who is diminished, that we aren’t honest about the other gods that we have set Him beside?”

The antidote, she said, is to place Jesus above all else where He belongs and where He can be seen clearly for who He is.

Officers for the 2024 luncheon in Indianapolis are Autumn Wall of Living Faith Church in Indianapolis, president; Tami Hubler of New Day Baptist Church in Alexandria, Ind., vice president; Holly Cossiboom of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., corresponding secretary; and Becky Graves of First Baptist Church in Ada, Okla., recording secretary/treasurer.

Next year’s luncheon speaker will be Jacki King, an author and pastor’s wife from Second Baptist Church in Conway, Ark. The theme for the June 11 luncheon is “Spiritual Resilience.”


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  • Erin Roach