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Ministers’ Wives luncheon launches new website for registration, nominations

INDIANAPOLIS (BP) – Resilience is central to the ministry of Yale and Autumn Wall in inner-city Indianapolis, serving college students and a zip code whose residents have a per capita income roughly half the U.S. average.

“We’ve seen so many church plants come into downtown and just fail, in a year or under,” Autumn Wall, whose husband is an Indianapolis church planter, told Baptist Press. “It’s just a very hard area, a very unchurched area. You’ll drive around downtown, you won’t see churches.”

As president of the 2024 Southern Baptist Convention Ministers’ Wives Luncheon, Wall speaks of a resilience she believes is key for ministers’ wives in living out their calling.

“Ministry’s hard, there’s no getting around that,” Wall said. “But the attitude in which we come at it, and the attitude in which we handle the hard can either make us successful or not.

“We’re hoping that this event will be a time where we can come together and say, ‘Hey this is hard, but it’s worth it.’”

The luncheon leadership team has launched a new website as a central portal for all aspects of the event. Here, attendees may register, purchase tickets at $25 and nominate women to receive the Willie Turner Dawson Award.

Advance ticket purchases are encouraged, and those purchasing tables must do so by March 31, Wall said. The website will continue for future luncheons, replacing registration previously conducted through Lifeway Christian Resources.

“Spiritual Resilience” is the theme of the luncheon to be held noon-1:30 p.m. June 11 in the Sagamore Ballroom of the Indianapolis Convention Center. The keynote speaker is Jacki King, an author and wife of Josh King, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lewisville, Texas.

“We really wanted someone who was living in the trenches doing ministry,” Wall said, “to come and speak to the women who are living in the trenches doing ministry.”

Wall coordinates worship at Living Faith Church in Indianapolis, where her husband is pastor. A team of 25 from the church of about 100 worshipers planted a second location east of downtown in 2023, also serving an economically challenged community. The eastside location is supported by the North American Mission Board as a Send City work.

“The vast majority of the people that we reach, they don’t even have a desire for God or church or religion whatsoever at all,” Wall said, “because they’re just in survival mode 24/7. They’re just hoping they can make it ‘til the next week or the next day. When presented with Jesus, it’s, ‘Well how is that going to help me live?’”

Wall counts 146 salvations at the downtown location since its 2015 launch, but the community the church serves is not able to financially keep the church afloat. Instead, the church benefits from partnerships with other area Southern Baptist churches who appreciate the inner-city outreach.

“We have very, very giving people,” Wall said of the church’s membership, “but when you make $50 a week, your tithe is $5. We have people that are sacrificially giving, but because of the nature of where they are, it’s not enough to fully cover things.”

Wall has learned to celebrate the small things in ministry.

“No matter how small it is, we celebrate big,” she said, referencing Richard Foster’s book “Celebration of Discipline” and the discipline of celebration.

“This is a discipline of every Sunday, every time we get a life group,” she said, “we’re celebrating what God’s doing through us, no matter how big or small it is.”