Nearly 200 people from across the nation — and a few from around the globe — made their way to the National Woman’s Missionary Union office in Birmingham for the annual January Board Meeting this weekend.
Activities kicked off the afternoon of Jan. 7 with a variety of breakout sessions, affinity group meetings and preliminary business meetings of the national WMU board, which is made up of state-level WMU presidents and executive directors.
Following the meeting theme of Regather, the breakout sessions all built off the ideas of reset, reimagine and reinvigorate.
Steps to ‘reignite your passion’
Leading the session on “Reignite your passion” was Willie McLaurin, interim president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. He shared seven steps:
- Deepen your intimacy with God.
“Healthy Christian leaders develop and maintain a close, vibrant relationship with God,” he said, pointing to Revelation 2:4. “Intimacy with the Lord is critical. … Intimacy in prayer, Bible study and worship. It is important to stay consistent.”
- Discover a vision of what could be.
“You need a clear vision of God’s plan for your ministry,” McLaurin noted, pointing to Ephesians 2:10. “When you understand God’s vision for your life, it gives you the strength to know what to say no to. We are saying yes to a lot of good stuff and leaving a lot of the God stuff on the table.
“Could it be that the reason our passion burns away is that we are trying to please man rather than trying to please the Lord?”
- Develop a passion for reaching people.
“God expects believers to care passionately about the lost,” he said, noting 2 Kings 7:9.
“We’ve got to be in the people business. We’ve got to slow down. … God has a passion for people,” he added, mentioning Romans 12:11.
“The needs are massive, and people are hurting and searching and looking. … There are so many opportunities to really advance the gospel.”
- Sacrifice for God’s Kingdom.
“Healthy believers are willing to make sacrifices for God’s kingdom,” McLaurin said, using the message from Luke 9:23.
“Sacrifice strengthens our resolve … builds our faith … requires trust and is contagious,” he added.
- Persevering through difficulties.
Pointing to the meeting’s theme Scripture, Romans 12:12, McLaurin said, “Believers stay on task even in difficult situations … but difficult situations have a way of taking our passions away.
“Our vision must be based in reality, which includes difficult times, and difficult times require perseverance.”
- Strengthen your people skills.
“Effective ministry is largely determined by one’s ability to work well with others … and the Great Commandment is about loving others.”
Along with Philippians 1:7 and Proverbs 27:17, McLaurin referenced the Golden Rule: “treat others as we wish to be treated.”
“Difficult people may be demanding … but pick your battles wisely,” he shared. “And listen to critics without being broken by them. They can sometimes be right even if abrasive or angry.
“We are called to be influencers and to influence the influencers. We are called to motivate people.”
- Enjoy the journey.
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, ‘Rejoice.’”
“Create a climate of contentment,” McLaurin noted. “Count your blessings … adapt to your circumstances … and take the journey with your family, friends and fellow ministry leaders.
“Stay fresh on the journey. Learn something new every day. Get some rest and relaxation. Finish strong.
“Follow the model of Jesus, who was engaged, then disengaged and then reengaged.”
Meeting continues through Jan. 9
More breakout sessions will be available Jan. 8, but the main items on the schedule are a morning and afternoon general session of the executive board as well as presentations by the North American Mission Board and International Mission Board.
Sandy Wisdom-Martin also will share her national WMU executive director’s challenge Jan. 8, and national WMU president Connie Dixon will share her challenge during the final general session Monday morning (Jan. 9).