Intimacy with God yields influence, Vonette Bright tells ministers' wives
ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)--Intimacy with God will allow you to be women of influence," Vonette Bright, wife of Bill Bright and cofounder of Campus Crusade for Christ, told nearly 1,200 Southern Baptist ministers' wives at a June 13 luncheon on the first day of the SBC annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
Speaking on the 45th annual Southern Baptist Ministers' Wives Conference theme, "Women of Influence," Bright said joy in intimacy with God and in walking in God's Spirit leads to godly influence.
"Experiencing God's presence is the greatest privilege of the believer. It comes from time spent in his Word and in daily prayer," she said.
An internationally known speaker and author, Bright currently directs Women Today, a radio and resource ministry that encourages women to take the next step of faith as they seek to influence their world.
"I've learned from experience that God's presence can be lost by a lack of prayer and lack of spending time with him," Bright said. "Many people in leadership, even pastors and pastors' wives, are trying to live in their own strength, trying to maintain this Christian life without really giving priority to the Lord and priority to prayer.
"When I let the pressure of work rob me of time with God, I am revealing my lack of dependence on him," she said.
"Defeat and failure are due to the loss of God's presence," Bright cautioned. "Ask God to reveal if there is sin your life preventing that presence; then confess it and return to your first love. Joy in the Holy Spirit is preserved only by our daily fellowship with God.
"When we have fellowship with Jesus Christ, we receive heavenly grace every day," she continued. "We receive inspiration, energy, motivation, strength, endurance, confidence, peace and joy in being God's instrument. There isn't anything that can stop you from what God wants you to do.
"I am not trying to overwork you or send you on a guilt trip, but to inspire you and encourage you that you can make a difference," Bright said.
"You, by your calling, have tremendous influence," she said. "You don't need great talent or personality. You just need to walk with God -- trust him, love him and obey him."
"The ministers' wives luncheon is not only a place where wives can receive messages of encouragement, but they also learn other women are going through many of the same challenges," said Carol Ann Clark, a minister's wife from Indianola, Miss. "In our churches, we often do not have personal friends with whom we can share."
Outgoing recording secretary/treasurer Leigh Lowery added: "For many of the ministers' wives, this is an event that they look forward to all year."
The ticket price for this year's luncheon and future luncheons was significantly reduced due to the Ministers' Wives Endowment Fund, coordinated by Nancy Sullivan, wife of John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention. Funding opportunities remain open to defray costs. For more information, contact Sullivan at the Florida Baptist Convention, 1230 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32207.
The conference's outgoing president, Joyce Rogers, wife of Adrian Rogers, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tenn., introduced the 2000-2001 ministers' wives officers:\
President, Teresa Brown, wife of Joe Brown, senior pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church, Charlotte, N.C.; vice president, Elizabeth Luter, wife of Fred Luter Jr., pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, New Orleans; recording secretary/treasurer, Kay Moore, wife of Lewis Moore, special assistant to the president, International Mission Board, Richmond, Va.; corresponding secretary, Karyn Wilton, wife of Donald Wilton, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C.
Also, it was announced that the organization's J.M. Dawson Award, recognizing ministers' wives with "distinct denominational contribution beyond the local church," will be presented again at the 2001 ministers' wives luncheon in New Orleans. Beginning in 2001, the award will be presented annually.
Anyone wishing to submit a nomination may send a written request to Lynda Estep, wife of Wendell Estep, pastor of First Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C., at P.O. Box 1000, Columbia, SC 29202. Include the nominee's name, address and phone number, along with your name, address and phone number and an explanation of the nomination.
Next year's ministers' wives luncheon in New Orleans will feature Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries in Chattanooga, Tenn. The luncheon, always held at noon on Tuesday during the SBC annual meeting, is open to all wives of ministers -- pastors, staff members, chaplains, missionaries and denominational workers.