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Reflect, relax, refresh & reload, Burroughs urges ministers’ wives

SALT LAKE CITY (BP)–“God’s promises are what I stand on to allow me to take the next step,” Esther Burroughs told a capacity audience of 600 attending the 43rd annual Southern Baptist Ministers’ Wives Conference and Luncheon June 9 in Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace Convention Center, site of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Speaking on the theme, “A Woman’s Journey,” Burroughs urged the women to reflect, relax, refresh and reload, passing along advice a friend gave her upon her retirement from the SBC’s North American Mission Board as assistant director of field staff in the church growth and evangelism department. Burroughs is now a speaker and teacher through Esther Burroughs Ministries: Treasures of the Heart, which she began in 1997 from her new base in Jacksonville, Fla.
“Reflect on the things God has done in your life and reflect on his promises,” said the popular women’s author and speaker. Burroughs said she has been part of a ministry family all her life, as she who grew up as a twin and one of several children in the home of a Baptist minister in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and then married a minister, Bob Burroughs, well-known church musician.
Burroughs encouraged the women to read biographies of inspiring Christian women in ministry, such as Ruth Graham, Susanna Wesley, Sarah Edwards and Maria Taylor, wife of Hudson Taylor, of whom a biographer has written, “… she smoothed the edges of (her husband’s) life” and “her affection for (her husband) was so strong it splashed onto others.”
Also reminiscing about her own mother, “who exemplified a good definition of a submissive wife,” Burroughs said she watched her mother “willingly and gladly lay out her husband’s clothes so he had more time to spend on his knees before God.”
Burroughs charged the ministers’ wives to relax and to consider “what would your life be like if you weren’t concerned with winning?”
“I beg you to learn to relax,” she said. “Will your children be able to remember a time when you laughed with them until you cried or times when you dropped everything you thought was important to play with them?”
Also, “Learn to sit down with your husband with nothing in your hands,” she urged the women, after having it brought to her attention one evening by her husband that she never sat down without some type of craft or a book in her hands.
“You need time when your souls can mix together,” she said she has learned.
“Learn to play with your husband” was another message she said her husband has taught her, as well as that “the best gift you can give him is the knowledge that you are his number one fan.”
Burroughs also challenged the women, “Don’t wait as long as I did to learn to garden,” a hobby she said she now delights in and on which she based her most recent book, “A Garden Path to Mentoring: Planting Your Life in Another and Releasing the Fragrance of Christ,” published in 1998 by New Hope Publishers of Woman’s Missionary Union.
In parting, Burroughs told the women to “take time for tea,” for “when you have tea, you talk.” Tea time, she added, is an ideal situation for having teenage girls over to mentor them.
The annual Southern Baptist ministers’ wives luncheon, always held at noon on Tuesday during SBC week, is open to all wives of ministers — pastors, staff members, chaplains, missionaries and denominational workers.
Speaker for next year’s luncheon in Atlanta will be Jill Briscoe, executive editor of Just Between Us, a magazine with international circulation to ministry wives and women in ministry. She is the wife of Stuart Briscoe, widely read author and pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wis., since 1970. Through his leadership, Elmbrook has grown to more than 6,000 in attendance each week and branched off to include five sister churches.
Susie Hawkins, 1997-98 president of the Southern Baptist Ministers’ Wives Conference, and wife of O. S. Hawkins, president of the SBC Annuity Board in Dallas and former pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, introduced the 1998-99 officers: president, Lanese Dockery, Jackson, Tenn., wife of David Dockery, president of Union University; vice president, Mary Cox, Lawrenceville, Ga., wife of Frank Cox, president of the Georgia Baptist Convention and pastor of North Metro First Baptist Church; recording secretary/treasurer, Diane Newell, Jacksonville, Fla., wife of Altus Newell, pastor of Deer Meadows Baptist Church; and corresponding secretary, Shirley Lewis, Cumming, Ga., wife of Harry Lewis, lead strategy coordinator for the North American Mission Board.
Ticket price for this year’s luncheon and future luncheons was significantly reduced due to last year’s completion of the initial goal for the Ministers’ Wives Endowment Fund, coordinated by Nancy Sullivan of Jacksonville, Fla., wife of John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention.
Until the $100,000 goal for the endowment fund was successfully met and exceeded in 1997, tickets had been $18 before the SBC and $20 at the SBC for at least the past decade for a full-course dinner featuring a nationally recognized keynote speaker. This year’s ticket prices were $12 before the SBC and $14 at the SBC.
Any individual or church interested in contributing to the endowment fund to further reduce expenses related to the annual SBC Ministers’ Wives Conference and Luncheon may contact Nancy Sullivan at the Florida Baptist Convention, 1230 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32207.

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  • Debbie Moore