By Shannon Baker, Baptist Press
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–An overflow crowd of more than 1,600 women pondered the ways God could use the quiet influence of their lives during the 54th annual Ministers’ Wives Conference June 23 at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, Ky.
This year’s luncheon theme — “Quiet Influence: The Romans 12:1 Woman” — was based on a recently published Bible study of the same name focusing on a Bible passage urging believers “to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
Every attendee received a copy of the Bible study, which includes chapters by Debbie Brunson, Jeana Floyd, Donna Gaines, Susie Hawkins and Lisa Young, as well as Diane Strack, its general editor.
Strack, who with her husband Jay founded the Student Leadership University, served as president of this year’s luncheon. Drawing on her recent experience with heart disease and triple bypass surgery, Strack moderated a panel discussion with some of the authors of the Bible study, which portrays how great women of the Bible and church history have made an impact by exerting quiet influence.
Brunson, wife of Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., shared about Shirley Lindsay, who was the recipient of the 2009 Willie Turner Dawson Award. Brunson noted that personal evangelism and a commitment to visitation defined the life of Lindsay, a pastor’s wife for more than 40 years.
“Shirley made sharing Christ the priority of her life,” Brunson wrote as part of the Quiet Influence study. “She did not want to leave anyone without an opportunity to know His love, and she set about praying for, visiting and finding those she could tell the Gospel.”
Lindsay’s daughter, Peggy Lindsay Hyatt, accepted the award, which recognizes ministers’ wives who have made a distinct denominational contribution, on behalf of her mother, who died May 1, 2008.
Donna Gaines, wife of Steve Gaines, pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., shared her identification with Monica, the mother of the great theologian Augustine, who once was a wayward son.
Like Monica, Gaines prayed and enlisted other prayer warriors to plead with God for her son’s salvation. A year and a half later, God broke through and Gaines called all the prayer warriors together to pray over her son, who openly confessed and repented before the Lord. He now is working on a doctorate at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Generation after generation has benefited from Monica’s prayers,” Gaines said.
Jeana Floyd, who ministers alongside her husband Ronnie Floyd at First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., shared about her experience with breast cancer. The cancer became an opportunity to show the world that she could draw on God’s strength during the difficult time, much like the Old Testament judge Deborah did.
Deborah “rose to the challenge when God called her, and that decision led her to be victorious as she trusted God and inspired others within her sphere of influence with that same trust,” Floyd said.
Susie Hawkins, wife of O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources, highlighted the life of Lottie Moon, whose compassion for the Chinese people fueled a vigorous advocacy for missions funds.
Hawkins shared how Moon, “a regular person just like us,” silently starved to death, yet “her last meager meal, given in Jesus’ name, was multiplied as the loaves and fishes into a legacy of giving that has garnered more than $3 billion for missions in her name.”
In other business, Nancy Sullivan, wife of John Sullivan, executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention, reported that she has raised $331,379 of her $500,000 goal for the Ministers’ Wives Endowment Trust Fund, which enables the luncheon to be affordable for every minister’s wife.
Designated contributions to the SBC Ministers’ Wives Endowment may be sent to the Office of the Executive Director, Florida Baptist Convention, 1230 Hendricks Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32207.
For the first time, the luncheon was preceded by an expo featuring more than 40 ministries. Sponsors gave away three five-night “Sailabration” Bible cruises to the Bahamas, 25 “Galatians 6:6” weekend retreats and 1,047 inspirational door prizes.
Officers for the 2010 luncheon in Orlando, Fla., with the theme “Mentoring Ministry Marriages,” are Rhonda Kelley of New Orleans, president; Pam Mercer of Oviedo, Fla., vice president; Debra Shaddix of Denver, recording secretary-treasurer; and Beverly Fleming of Houston, correspondence secretary.
Next year’s featured speaker at the June 15 luncheon will be Jackie Kendall of Power to Grow Ministries. For more information about the luncheon, visit nobts.edu/mwlunch.