Renfroe brings laughter, encouragement to ministers' wives
ST. LOUIS (BP) -- Christian humorist Anita Renfroe brought laughter and encouragement to a sold-out crowd of 1,200 ministers' wives at the 2016 Ministers' Wives Luncheon held June 14 during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Throughout the program, held in the Marriott's Majestic Ballroom in St. Louis, she sang humorous parodies of modern-day pop songs, switching out words to reflect many of the challenges women face today.
These include hairstyles ("Let it Grow" adapted from Idina Menzel's "Let it Go"), hot flashes ("This Girl is on Fire" adapted from Alicia Keyes' "Girl on Fire"), and sleep patterns ("Snore" modified from Katy Perry's "Roar").
Recently at a doctor's office, she said she noticed an inspirational poster, which read, "For every mile you run, you add five minutes to your life." Doing the math, admittedly hard because she has "fibro-myalgebra," Renfroe laughed, "If it takes me 12 minutes to save five minutes, maybe I should stay on the couch another seven minutes and call it even!"
A former Southern Baptist pastor's wife, Renfroe said she was thankful that Scripture says that "laughter does good like a medicine" (Proverbs 17:22) and "the joy of the Lord is our strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).
"The fact that we are able to laugh, we are saying, 'We release control of our lives. God, You are in control," she said.
Renfroe encouraged the ministers' wives, "God knew who He needed in the community where He placed you before you were even there. He gifted you with the gifts that they need in that body, and you'll need to continue offering them as a sacrifice to the Lord, even if you don't get it."
She also noted God is not just "almost" always sovereign. "He is sovereign always. He sees you. He knows you. He loves you. And the only way ... you can get it right is to love God supremely and love people devotedly," she said.
At the close of Renfroe's presentation, luncheon president Vickie Munton of O'Fallon, Ill., said she felt her chosen theme of "Be Encouraged" had come to fruition as she heard the loud laughter across the room.
She also pointed to the hand-written prayer cards given to luncheon attendees. "My heart is to encourage you ... [like a] female Barnabas," she said.
In other business, ministers' wives awarded Kathy Ferguson Litton the 2016 Willie Turner Dawson Award, which recognizes a minister's wife for making a distinct denominational contribution beyond the local church and for her Christian character and service to others. She is married to Ed Litton, senior pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Ala., and serves on the staff of the North American Mission Board as national consultant for ministry to pastors' wives.
Also, Susie Hawkins, wife of O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources, reported that Nancy Sullivan is retiring this year as chairman of the Ministers' Wives Endowment for the Ministers' Wives Luncheon. Sullivan established the fund in 1993 and has raised more than $400,000 to offset the cost of the luncheon tickets.
Hawkins, Floyd and Ginny Whitten, wife of Ken Whitten of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., who will replace Sullivan, said, "On behalf of all [Southern Baptist] ministry wives we want to express our deep appreciation for all her hard work."
Hawkins also shared remarks from Sullivan's husband John, former executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention: "No one has ever cared for or loved ministers' wives more than Nancy. We have been in ministry over 60 years and this has always been her heart. She raised the endowment funds among folks who shared her vision and love for pastors' wives."
Officers for the 2017 luncheon in Phoenix, with the theme "Brave," are Lori Frank of Arden, N.C., president; and Mindy Green of Surprise, Ariz., Cheri Jimenez of Taylors, S.C. and Louise Stenner of Fayetteville, Ga., as vice presidents.
Next year's featured speaker for the June 13 luncheon will be worship leader, author and Bible teacher Kelly Minter.