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Women’s institute prepared her for witness opportunity

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Kim Humphrey is not in a habit of eavesdropping, but on one recent occasion, the Atlanta resident is glad she did.

Humphrey, a Women’s Ministry Institute student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was visiting a mega-church in Louisville in January while taking a week-long WMI class on evangelism.

The conversation unfolded behind her between a 12-year-old girl named Lilly and her mother. Lilly was wrangling with a difficult biblical passage in Exodus and her mother did not have an answer. Humphrey decided to help.

“I usually don’t get involved in other people’s conversations,” said Humphrey, who serves as a minister to women at Peachtree Community Church in Douglasville, Ga.

“But I love to help people understand the Bible, especially how the Old Testament and New Testament fit together.”

As Humphrey chatted with the young girl, she discovered that Lilly had a far deeper need: the girl was not a Christian. Humphrey got permission from Lilly’s mother to spend more time with the young girl. Eventually, the talk turned to eternal matters and Lilly surprised Humphrey with the depth of her questions.

“She told me that she had looked into several religions and asked a lot of deep questions,” Humphrey said.

“She was very mature. But eventually she said, ‘God is really pursuing me isn’t He? Because you are from Georgia and had never been to this church until today and I had never been to this church until today. I didn’t even want to come to church but my mom made me come. I realize that God is pursuing me.’”

Humphrey has extensive training in personal evangelism but decided to use a tract from her WMI class: HeartCall, an evangelism presentation tailored for women. The encounter culminated when Lilly trusted Christ as Lord and Savior, Humphrey said.

“It was amazing,” she said. “Obviously it was completely a work of God. It was encouraging to see God use what I had learned in the [WMI] class in such a powerful way. Lilly’s mother was overjoyed as well. She had been praying for her daughter’s salvation.”

Humphrey gave her contact information to the girl and hopes to hear of Lilly’s growth as a follower of Christ. Humphrey said her week in Louisville was a fruitful one both because of the class and her opportunity to minister to Lilly.

“I am glad to have had the opportunity to participate in the WMI class,” she said. “I have a great passion for ministering to women and I think programs like the one at Southern are of great benefit in equipping women to do just that. It was a great week.”

Heather King, director of women’s programs at Southern Seminary, said Humphrey’s testimony is an encouraging sign for WMI, a program that is less than six months old.

“It is an awesome confirmation that WMI is fulfilling its purpose,” King said. “WMI equips women to minister within the context of the local church and unapologetically trains women to minister, to nurture and encourage other women.

“It is exciting to see women’s ministry leaders eager to learn and implement their new knowledge into their personal lives and ministry. This is a direct reflection on the caliber of women in this program and their intense desire to be used by God.”

WMI began in August of last year with 18 participants in the first conference. The conferences are called “units of study” and are offered three times a year: in January, in the spring and in the fall. Humphrey participated in the first January session. The first class last fall included women from across the country.

“This points to the fact that lay women, while not called to seminary fulltime, want to be as effective as they can be for God’s glory and His Kingdom,” King said.

While WMI is not a degree program, it does allow students to work toward a certificate in ministry studies. It enables women to sharpen their ministry skills, to network with other women’s ministry leaders and to grow in their understanding of the biblical mandate for women ministering to women in the local church, King said.

Upcoming units include leadership skill development for women to be held March 29-31 and women mentoring women March 29-April 2. For more information on WMI, call admissions at 1-800-626-5525, ext. 4617. Callers may request a WMI brochure along with an admissions application.

“The program is designed with flexibility because it caters to women who are busy as homemakers, lay leaders in the local church, while some work in the marketplace as well,” King said.

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  • Jeff Robinson

    Jeff Robinson is director of news and information at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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