ST. CHARLES — From the chicken pesto, chocolate cake and take-home goody bag to the theme scripture passage found in Psalm 63:1-5, Missouri Baptist women left the 2016 Ministry Wives Luncheon completely satisfied.
“As ministry wives we are often judged, or at least we feel judged, and we just can’t live up to it all,” said Juli Perstrope, president of this year’s group of luncheon officers and wife of Dr. Buddy Perstrope, pastor at First Baptist Church, St. Charles. “That’s why we chose ‘Satisfied’ as our theme. We wanted women to come in and hear an encouraging word that would equip them as ministry wives and we knew Kathy and her amazing testimony was the best person to give that message.”
Guest speaker for this year’s luncheon was Kathy Ferguson Litton, National Consultant for the North American Mission Board (NAMB) for Ministry to Pastor’s Wives. She leads Flourish, an online equipping community for ministry wives created by NAMB. She is a native of Missouri but now lives in Mobile, Ala., with her husband Dr. Ed Litton, pastor of Redemption Church. Her testimony includes her 26-year marriage to pastor Rick Ferguson, who died in a car accident in 2002.
“What makes a ministry wife healthy and effective?” Litton asked the room of 100 women as she began to describe what David meant in Psalm 63. “To be healthy and effective is to have soul satisfaction. I think it’s a discipleship issue. As we go deeper in relationship and soul satisfaction we begin to walk in true freedom.”
Litton said all humans are designed with a longing for affection, affirmation and a craving for significance and purpose. God fashioned everyone’s hearts with a dissatisfied soul, what Litton called “a cavernous need.”
“Don’t you get it? It’s so gloriously rigged,” she said. “We have an empty cup and we go around begging to get it filled—maybe with success, love, approval, beauty, brains; our souls thirst and our flesh longs. But there is only one way we can be satisfied and it is by a relationship with God through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Nothing else will do.”
Litton explained how God has continually pointed out her “broken cisterns” that, though perhaps worked for a while, were incapable of keeping her satisfied.
“While I can’t lay down rules and principles and formulas, I can tell you how God has created a pattern in my life to pursue the love of God above all else,” she said. “Disappointment plus a pivot equals discovery. It always goes this way. Something I was counting on failed me, so I had to pivot away from that thing and turn to Jesus like I never had before.”
The women in attendance not only gained encouragement and spiritual insight from Litton’s words, but they also gained wisdom from each other. As they shared lunch together they also shared in conversation about marriage, family and ministry.
“It’s nice to be with other women who know what you’re going through,” said Maggie Coppenbarger, one of the assigned table hosts for the event. Her husband is Craig Coppenbarger, pastor of Valor Church near Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster. “I truly appreciate how much thought and effort is put into this event.”
For more information on Flourish and to subscribe to the Flourish blog visit namb.net. Also, be sure to save the date for next year’s Ministry Wives Luncheon to be held during the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention at First Baptist Church, Raytown, on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017.