|BLUE SPRINGS – Lorraine Powers is president of the Missouri Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). She also plays the synthesizer on the worship team of First Baptist Church, Blue Springs. Pathway Photo By Allen Palmeri|
Powers: Keep WMU focused on missions
By Allen Palmeri
August 3, 2004
BLUE SPRINGS – Three months into her new role as president of the Missouri Women’s Missionary Union (WMU), Lorraine Powers is focusing on the five strategic principles of the organization to guide her.
The WMU aims to pray for — and give to — missions, do missions, learn about missions, develop spiritually toward a missions lifestyle and participate in the work of the church and denomination.
Powers, a 25-year member of First Baptist Church, Blue Springs, said her vision is essentially the organization’s vision in that it is narrowly defined by one very important word: missions.
“The WMU is a missions organization,” Powers said. “It’s not a social group or a political group.”
When asked what WMU does best, Powers explained that the strategic principles are what best define the strength of WMU, which has been on mission with God since 1888.
“We pray for missions and missionaries,” she said. “We give to missions. We teach missions. The age-level organizations in WMU are just superb. We have the co-ed organizations, the children’s organizations and the adult organizations. That helps to develop the missions lifestyle. And then we do support the work of the church.”
Powers is working closely with Vivian McCaughan, WMU / Women’s Missions and Ministry Specialist with the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), as Missouri WMU continues its service within various aspects of Baptist life in Missouri. At the end of an interview with The Pathway July 21 at her home church, Powers said that the function of WMU is “to be able to work freely and cooperatively with the various entities in the state of Missouri, and certainly with the churches and the associations.” A big part of that would be working with and through the MBC, she said.
“WMU is the only church program that is involved with missions,” Powers said. “Sunday School does its thing. Music does its thing. The only missions arm for teaching and training is through WMU, so if a church feels like they don’t need WMU I would like to know where they are in developing missions lifestyle and training people for missions activity.
“We are not enemies of the Missouri Baptist Convention. If the WMU is not there, what’s taking its place? There isn’t anything, so why reinvent the wheel? People, I do believe, have a misunderstanding that WMU is just for old women, and it’s just a program once a month. It’s so much more that that.
“It involves everyone from birth until death, men and women, teen-agers, with as much or as little activity as you want. We do encourage daily prayer. We do encourage developing a lifestyle that brings you into the position of being a better Christ follower. We do support the missionaries – we don’t take away from music, Sunday School or any of the other programs of the church. We do activities, we do ministry, we do evangelism, we do projects, we do prayer – and we even quilt.”
While Powers prefers not to talk about “her vision,” deferring instead to WMU’s strategic principles and core values, she does place a high priority on prayer.
“I wouldn’t take a step without it, and I think WMU women, children and men would also tell you that,” she said. “Prayer is communication with God. You don’t hear from Him unless you pray. Yes, He can speak to you through the Scriptures, but the heart has to be prepared through prayer. The Holy Spirit just gets in there and does things we don’t even understand, and takes us right to the throne of God. I don’t think anything can be done without prayer.”
Powers and McCaughan will be going to Romania in October as part of an MBC delegation led by Partnership Missions Specialist Norm Howell. Exploring opportunities for missions work in Romania is consistent with what Missouri WMU stands for, Powers said. It also will enhance the organization’s active partnership with Puerto Rico, where a prayer walk is being planned for February.
“My vision is the vision of the Woman’s Missionary Union, that we promote the core values and strategic principles and just make that as strong and as useful of service to God’s glory as we can,” Powers said.