Editor’s Note: Pamela Graham is a pastor’s wife from South Carolina. I recently wrote about the need for more ladies and laypeople to write here at SBC Voices. Pamela answered that call, and provides an important perspective with this article on the WMU and its impact in her life.
I am a millennial who believes that WMU is still relevant in the 21st century. WMU was founded in 1888 with the purpose of financially supporting missions and educating Southern Baptists about the need for missions. Both of these are still important today.
As a child I was involved in both GAs and Acteens. By being involved with these organizations I was introduced at an early age to missions. We were taught that we needed to support missionaries with our financial resources, and we needed to encourage missionaries by sending letters and cards of appreciation. One of my most vivid memories from childhood is looking at a map that was provided by the national WMU to be posted in classrooms. The map was a world map, and it showed all of the countries that Southern Baptists had missionaries in. I would study the map, and think about what these people were sacrificing so they could do what they were called to do. Also, I would think about the few countries that had no Southern Baptist Missionaries, and wonder who was going to tell those people about Jesus.
Missions education is just as important today as it was when I was a child. If we are not teaching about missionaries, children are not going to understand why we even need missionaries. The curriculum used in WMU age groups, is designed to also get children involved in missions. Children are taught at a young age how they can be involved in missions at a local level, and they are taught that if they put their resources together with many other people they can reach many people groups all over the world.
Another reason why WMU is still relevant is to promoting missions giving. A large part of the financial resources for the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board come from the Annie Armstrone Easter Offering and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Both of these offerings are heavily promoted by both the national and state WMU offices. Many Southern Baptist Churches rely on their WMU groups to promote and organize these offerings. Also, in South Carolina where I live, the state WMU office promotes an additional offering for state missions. Because many Southern Baptist leaders want CP giving to be split 50/50 between state and national, offerings like these can help make up the difference.
Until Jesus returns, we will have a need for missionaries. And if we have a need for missionaries, we need a way to teach about missionaries. We also need a way to fund missionaries. This is why WMU is still relevant today.