Ministers’ wives urged to see their homes evangelistically
GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)--With all 1,500 tickets sold out weeks before the event, it was no surprise that a capacity crowd was on hand for the 2006 Ministers’ Wives’ Luncheon June 13 in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C.
Two events highlighted the luncheon, whose theme was “Filling Your Home with God’s Beauty,” based on Proverbs 24:3.
One highlight was the presentation of the Mrs. J.M. Dawson Award to a minister’s wife who, according to the program, “has made a distinct denominational contribution.” The other was the keynote speech brought by Georg Andersen, an award-winning interior designer with a clear Christian focus.
The Mrs. J.M. Dawson Award was presented this year to Carol Ann Draper, wife of James T. Draper Jr., retired president of LifeWay Christian Resources. Draper was accompanied on the platform by her husband and children and was introduced by Terri Wilkinson, one of her daughters.
“It’s largely because of my mother embracing the call on her life to be my dad’s helpmate, and by putting us kids next in line, that all of us children are faithfully serving the Lord today,” Wilkinson said. “She never got wrapped up in thinking she had to be busy at church serving every available open spot. She realized the greatest gift she could give my dad and her children was a peaceful, loving home where she was available to talk, laugh and bake cookies. ... She was the glue that held us together.”
As Dorothy Patterson, president of the luncheon and wife of Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, presented Draper with the award, luncheon guests gave Draper a sustained, standing ovation.
“I am overwhelmed, and words cannot express what a joy it is to be a child of the King,” she said through tears. “All I ever wanted to be was more like Jesus.... I know who I am, and I know that without Jesus I am a zero.
“I am so grateful that God can use ordinary people, even one who has one small talent: twirling a baton,” Draper added. “I never got to share that in any church Jimmy ever pastored.”
Interior designer Georg Andersen delivered the luncheon’s keynote speech. Andersen has more than 40 years of experience in architecture, interior design and construction. One of his earliest assignments was working for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the White House.
According to his book titled “Silent Witness: The Language of Your Home,” he has been involved in interior designs gracing the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and the Carlyle Hotel in New York City, the Churchill Hotel in London and the Loew’s Hotel in Monte Carlo. He is a five-time ASID Gold Award recipient.
From the beginning of his career, Andersen said he has kept his focus on Jesus Christ and remembered to use his talents for His glory. From very early in their lives, he and his wife, Annabelle, have been active members of Baptist churches wherever they lived in New York or, currently, in Conway, Ark.
“We don’t realize whom we are affecting and how we are affecting them,” Andersen said, referring to the impressions made on different kinds of people who come in contact with Christians in their homes. “I don’t urge you to hang Scripture verses or religious art on the walls in order that you might demonstrate your Christianity. Instead, [my book] makes an intimate revelation of how Annabelle and I live, and want our home to comfort our immediate family, friends and visitors.”
Andersen said the importance of Christian homes was recognized by the earliest Christians whose churches met in homes. He said that evidence that these early Christians used their homes as “silent witnesses” has been found in mosaics and other decorative artifacts recovered by archeologists. He said that even the fabric pattern known as herringbone came from this period and was inspired by fish, an early symbol by which Christians identified themselves.
Andersen warned against thinking that “more” is better or thinking that a home cannot be used for God’s glory if it is small, humble or plain. He said he hopes the pastors’ wives will give their homes over to be used for God’s glory and not to be embarrassed about having too little or too much. He said God gives Christians homes in order that they be used for evangelistic purposes.
In other business, luncheon attendees elected a slate of officers for the 2008 event scheduled to be held in Indianapolis. They are Liz Traylor of Pensacola, Fla., president; Diana Davis of Indianapolis, vice president; Beth Robertson of Valdosta, Ga., correspondence secretary; and Eileen Sheets of Rifle, Colo., secretary/treasure.
Music was provided by the student music group Southwestern Sound from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Huntley Brown, a pianist/evangelist based in Aurora, Ill.
Plans for next year’s Ministers’ Wives’ Conference and Luncheon were previewed by the 2007 Ministers’ Wives’ Conference President Debbie Brunson. She said a fiesta-style event is being planned to compliment the 2007 Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The theme, she said, will be "Revive, Renew, Rejoice" and the speaker Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Dennis Swanberg will provide the entertainment, she said.