By Candace McIntosh
Executive director, Alabama WMU
One of the greatest challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic has been staying connected. Early on, I realized a need to keep our membership connected in new ways. God stretched us to reach beyond our normal way of doing missions discipleship, and several new Alabama WMU initiatives were born during the pandemic.
Our first new initiative was an online video conference gathering called Great Commission Conversations. Many of our International Mission Board personnel came home to weather the global pandemic in the United States, and GCC was a unique opportunity to connect those missionaries with our members through online “face-to-face” weekly gatherings in which the missionaries shared firsthand accounts of all God is doing in their countries.
These gatherings gave insight into the daily lives and missions efforts of our personnel, some of whom serve in difficult, high-security locales. GCC was quickly followed by the birth of GCC Kids, where missionary kids (MKs) shared with other children across the state about their lives abroad through foods, customs, games and songs, bringing missions to life for children in Alabama.
Then came the new Ministers’ Wives Connection initiative. Also an online gathering, MWC brought together ministers’ wives from around the state once a month for a brief time of fellowship and encouragement from other ministers’ wives as they walk alongside their husbands during this challenging time for our churches and their staffs. Additional online training webinars were also provided.
Not all ministry went online, however.
We are still hard at work on Christmas Backpacks for Children and Teens, the relaunch of Beautiful Feet Connections, Christian Women’s Job Corps efforts, our camping ministry at WorldSong Missions Place and Renew and Complete — our annual events for women and teen girls. The task is still great, and despite changing circumstances, Alabama WMU’s mission has not changed — to encourage missional living by challenging, equipping and empowering Alabama Baptists to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
Why Missions Discipleship?
By Brittney Gardner
Communications specialist, Alabama WMU
Simply put, missions discipleship is “Leading people to pray, give and go” — to pray for God’s work at home and around the world, to give to support missions efforts and to go share the gospel with a lost world. But why is missions discipleship important? Shouldn’t sharing the gospel just come naturally to all believers?
Here are some reasons missions discipleship is important:
- Because all followers of Jesus Christ are called to missions. Jesus clearly commanded us more than once to share the good news of salvation everywhere we go, in our own homes and to the farthest reaches of the planet. If it was important to Him, it should be important to us.
- Because we must be intentional. A desire to share the gospel with the lost is an overflow of a thriving relationship with Jesus, but for many of us, missions doesn’t always come naturally. Athletes who want to be at the top of their games train with great effort. Even though they want to win, being the best doesn’t come without intentional effort. Missions education intentionally puts sharing the gospel in the forefront of our minds and equips believers to fulfill their calling.
- Because our missionaries need our support. Our Southern Baptist missions personnel need our support through prayer, giving and joining their work now more than ever. The task is great, and missionaries can often feel alone and overwhelmed. Missions discipleship connects us on a personal level with our missionaries on the field and gives us a front-row seat to all God is doing around the world.
WMU offers gender-specific and co-ed missions discipleship groups for all ages. Each of these age-level groups has curriculum tailored to meet the unique needs of both small and large churches.
For more information about missions discipleship opportunities, call 334-613-2226 or visit AlabamaWMU.org.
Alabama WMU Ministries
At AlabamaWMU.org/leaderconnect, we have a “Getting Started” video for each age level missions discipleship group, as well as for women’s ministry. These videos are incredibly helpful to anyone who is just wants to know more about getting started or best practices for missions discipleship groups.
As part of our initiative with the Ministers’ Wives Connection, we have been working to be more intentional in communicating with the wives of pastors and other ministerial staff. We want to love on them and encourage them as they minister.
Each year, thousands of backpacks are collected and distributed throughout the Mississippi River Delta and parts of Appalachia to children in need. Collegiate and Student Ministries will be partnering with Alabama WMU to hand out backpacks
International Friends Bags
Alabama WMU is partnering with Collegiate and Student Ministries to hand out gift bags to international students on Alabama college campuses. We have had requests for more than 400 bags — quadrupling the number of students we normally reach through the annual International Friends Retreat.
For more than six years Alabama WMU has been engaged in praying for and reaching South Asian peoples with the gospel through our partnerships. We have watched as God has begun to move among the hearts of South Asians.