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OPINION

Ministers' wives to view inward beauty

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NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Ministers' wives will view inward beauty at their annual luncheon in New Orleans as they study "The Hidden Person of the Heart," drawn from 1 Peter 3:3-4.
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In the passage, Peter tells wives that their beauty should come not from outward adornment but from a "gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

The Ministers' Wives' Luncheon will begin at noon Tuesday, June 19, in Hall B-1 of the Morial Convention Center.

Janet Wicker, president of this year's luncheon, said it's countercultural for women to follow the leadership of their husbands, but the concept is paramount for pastors' wives.

"It's one of the things that I learned early on as a pastor's wife -- to trust my husband as God spoke to him," said Wicker, whose husband Hayes Wicker is pastor of First Baptist Church in Naples, Fla.

"Cultural messages are coming to us about what a woman is and what she can do, but we need to hear what God's perspective is," Wicker said.

Mary Kassian, an author and professor, will be the luncheon's guest speaker. A New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary jazz band and Kristin Wicker Yeldell will provide music.

As Wicker prayed over the theme, she said she knew immediately she would ask Kassian to speak because of her skillful teaching of biblical womanhood.

"She's outstanding and so balanced. She's intelligent, she's witty, she's cute," Wicker told Baptist Press. "My daughters, who are 33 and 22, absolutely love her, so she has the ear of women of all ages.

"Her husband is a chaplain, so she understands what it's like to be married to someone who is called to ministry," Wicker said of Kassian. "I'm confident in her handling of the Scriptures and know that our women will leave the luncheon not just with inspiration but with wonderful teaching from the Word of God, so I could not be more thrilled."

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Kassian, a women's studies professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, most recently wrote an eight-week study on biblical womanhood with Nancy Leigh DeMoss titled "True Woman 101: Divine Design."

"Having Mary to interpret that theme I think will be so incredibly encouraging because our culture has objectified women and has put so much emphasis on external appearances, and we need to remember that the greater beauty is an attitude of humility before the Lord, even in response to our husbands," Wicker said.

Also at the luncheon, women will receive gift bags filled with books and with items unique to New Orleans. The bags this year are made by women in India through Freeset Global who were caught up in prostitution but then came to faith in Christ. About 120 bags made by Women of Hope in Nigeria will be available for purchase at the event.

During the luncheon, ministers' wives will have an opportunity to submit personal prayer requests that prayer warriors at First Baptist Naples will respond to over the next year.

"I believe pastors' wives will be very much refreshed and challenged by coming to this particular meeting. We're trying to foster wonderful relationships with everyone around the table," Wicker said.

"I also believe that they will hear from Mary a message that will be such a great exhortation to us that it could impact their ministries when they go home," she added. "It will encourage them, I think, to be courageous in their stand for biblical womanhood and their modeling of this as wives of ministers."

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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 Muhlback 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).

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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