This year's Woman's Missionary Union missions celebration will feature a unique opportunity for Southern Baptists to witness a joint commissioning service of up to one hundred new IMB and NAMB field personnel.
With the WMU annual meeting theme "Go Forward," the commissioning service highlights the 2014 WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting which will take place June 8–9, 2014, in Baltimore. The commissioning service will be at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, June 8, in the Baltimore Convention Center Ballroom.
"Commissioning missionaries for special service is a great privilege," said Wanda S. Lee, executive director of national WMU. "It is a time to celebrate their calling, voice our affirmation and prayers as we hear their testimonies, and commit ourselves to 'hold the ropes' prayerfully and financially as they go. We invite everyone to join us and be a part of the commitment, prayer, and excitement as these follow the Lord's call to their place of service."
Appointment of the IMB and NAMB field representatives highlight the reason Southern Baptists give through the Cooperative Program, according to Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee. "Ninety-five percent of all CP funds received and distributed by the SBC Executive Committee go to three ministry areas—international missions through IMB, North American evangelism and church planting and chaplaincy endorsement through NAMB, and ministerial training and theological education through our six seminaries," he said.
"These God-called men and women, many of whom were trained though our seminaries, are being appointed for Christian ministry by our two mission boards. What a beautiful display of SBC cooperation in action through the Cooperative Program!"
WMU, an auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention, partners with IMB and NAMB to raise additional funds through two annual missions offerings—the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering© for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering© for North American Missions.
Debby Akerman, president of national WMU, said, "What better place to wrap up a yearlong celebration of the 125th anniversary of WMU than the home of Annie Armstrong!" Armstrong, for whom the annual missions offering is named, is from Baltimore.
"As we gather in June, we will embrace Annie's challenge to 'go forward' with missions as we celebrate how God is working around the world and through WMU, and renew our commitment to advancing missions education and involvement," she said.
Speakers for the celebration include Page, NAMB President Kevin Ezell, IMB President Tom Elliff, and national WMU leaders.
On Monday at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel (soon to be Baltimore Harbor Hotel), attendees will hear from a variety of international and North American missions personnel, including Taylor Field, a NAMB LoveLoud missionary who serves at Graffiti Center in New York City. Field is also the author of Upside-Down Leadership: Rethinking Influence and Success and Upside-Down Freedom: Inverted Principles for Christian Living. His new book, Upside-Down Devotion: Extreme Action for a Remarkable God, will be available in spring 2014.
Also on Monday will be a special opportunity to see significant historical sites related to Annie Armstrong on a bus tour.
The event is free, but advance registration is required to participate in the tour of Annie Armstrong sites. To register for the tour, go to wmu.com/annietour; registration is open through May 15.
Visit wmu.com/baltimore for more information.