Ministers' wives to consider their calling
HOUSTON (BP) -- Ministers' wives will consider how they are uniquely called to the Gospel ministry at their annual luncheon in Houston under the theme "For the Sake of the Gospel" from 1 Corinthians 9:23.
"Our personal ministries may often be far from the crowd's eyes. At times our tasks may appear mundane," Kathy Ferguson Litton, president of this year's luncheon, said. "As busy ministry wives, we can easily become unconscious of the big picture of Gospel advancement
"Yet the moving, packing, getting children settled in new schools, serving a food pantry, volunteering in clinics, teaching VBS [Vacation Bible School], intentional hospitality, mentoring women or leading ministries is all Gospel ministry," said Litton, wife of Ed Litton, pastor of First Baptist Church North Mobile in Mobile, Ala.
The Ministers' Wives' Luncheon will begin at noon Tuesday, June 11, in the George Bush Grand Ballroom on Level 3 of the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Worship will be led by Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston.
Donna Gaines, wife of Steve Gaines, pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., will be the keynote speaker.
"I felt strongly that we should hear from one of our own," Litton said. "Southern Baptists have a rich resource of leadership and ministry in the thousands of ministry wives serving faithfully worldwide.
"Donna Gaines represents us. God is using her to not only write and speak but to be a catalyst alongside her husband Steve in loving and serving the city of Memphis, Tenn.," Litton said, adding that Gaines is "highly engaged on an international platform as she travels to teach and disciple women globally."
A graduate of Union University and Texas Woman's University, Gaines has reached out to her community through the ministries Bellevue Loves Memphis and Arise Memphis. She is a mother of four and grandmother of four.
"As a devoted student of God's Word, former educator, mother and grandmother, God has uniquely prepared her for this season of ministry," Litton said of Gaines.
In addition to ministry in the inner city, Gaines teaches Bible studies through women's ministry, disciples in her home and leads women's conferences through international missions, Litton said. She is the author of two books and the general editor of "A Daily Women's Devotional."
Litton, in explaining her vision for this year's luncheon, said the annual gathering was established nearly 60 years ago with several goals, and one stands out to her: "to help interpret the high significance of the unique role of the individual minister's wife."
"Perhaps never more than in our day has the 'high significance' of the ministry wife become so widely recognized," said Litton, the North American Mission Board's national consultant for ministry to pastors' wives. "The women that originated this luncheon knew that this event could be a place and a time that would help us interpret our roles as significant."
When ministers' wives support and cheer on their husbands, they help strengthen them for their roles in advancing the Gospel, Litton said.
"In the midst of an unexpected life journey, I have stood beside two pastor husbands: Rick Ferguson and Ed Litton. Both of them had a 'holy ambition to preach the Gospel' (Romans 15:20)," Litton said. Ferguson, a former pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Denver, was killed in a car accident in 2002.
"It is our privilege to be married to men of holy ambition. Our support and influence in their lives is essential to their pursuit of this call," she said.
A special emphasis on church planting wives also will be part of the luncheon. Litton mentioned her experience with such a wife in one of the hardest cities in America to reach with the Gospel. As 10 people were baptized, the wife wept uncontrollably.
"What did I see in the tears coming out of this young woman? Vision, sacrifice, courage, commitment, reckless obedience, faithfulness, hard work, hard work and more hard work," Litton said. "Yes, she had invested much into the Gospel ministry and never preached a sermon."
Advance tickets are $15 at LifeWay.com/sbcwives; $20 at the door.
The SBC Ministers' Wives Luncheon dates back to 1955 when two Georgia pastors' wives realized the importance of that state's ministers' wives' conference and decided that the national convention would benefit from such an organization. They made plans for a tea at the Muehlebach Hotel in Kansas City during the 1956 convention and were overwhelmed by the response.
Always held on Tuesday during the SBC annual meeting, the luncheon is open to wives of all ministers, including pastors, staff members, chaplains, missionaries and denominational workers.
Erin Roach is assistant editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).