The 2014 SBC Ministers' Wives Luncheon, to begin at noon Tuesday, June 10, in the Key Ballroom at the Hilton Baltimore, will feature Priscilla Shirer, author of several books, including "One in a Million," "The Resolution for Women" and most recently "God is Able."
Shirer, of Going Beyond Ministries, is the daughter of Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church in Dallas.
Donna Avant, president of this year's luncheon and wife of John Avant, senior pastor of First Baptist Concord in Knoxville, Tenn., said she had picked the theme long before she learned the name of Shirer's latest book.
"As we were praying through the theme, Priscilla's book was already at the printers!" she said. Each attendee at the conference will receive a copy of the book.
But Avant wants them to receive much more. "When the women walk away from this luncheon, I hope they have experienced fellowship with one another, teaching of God's Word -- which I know we will receive from Priscilla Shirer -- and I desperately want these women to truly worship and have a personal encounter with Christ," she said.
"We will get all the business done first, so women can really focus on worship," she said, noting the luncheon will include a 50-member choir of women from across Maryland and Delaware. "Only once a year do so many ministers' wives get to gather together like this. I hope they walk away, saying, 'I worshipped.'"
The luncheon's vice president, Sherry Lee, wife of David Lee, retired executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware in Columbia, Md., is excited that ministers' wives in Maryland and Delaware will be able to attend this year's luncheon. For many, it will be their first, because Southern Baptist Convention annual meetings generally do not meet in the Northeast.
"It is a magnificent opportunity for a Northeast convention to host this and for our ladies to be ministered to and refreshed," Lee said, adding, "There is a difference in the way you have to do ministry in the Northeast. It is not the Bible Belt."
Pointing to the ever-changing cultural landscape, Lee said, "We are on the front end of the curve because challenges often come to us first. We have to learn quickly how to minister to a culture that is not embracing Christianity."
At this year's luncheon, table hostesses will be ministers' wives from the Northeast, who will share their story about what it is like to minister in the region, and all wives will be given the opportunity to share with one another how God has been faithful in their lives and ministries.
Shirer, who has been married to Jerry for 13 years, is the mother of three boys. With God's Word and a message in her heart, thousands have either heard her speak or been a part of one of her Bible studies.
At only 18 Shirer began to share the simple truths of Scripture that she was studying in her own personal time with the Lord, and she has been in fulltime ministry ever since. Her ministry to women across the country and around the world is focused on expository teaching of the Word of God. Her desire is to see women come to a full understanding of who they are in Christ by hearing the uncompromising truth of Scripture.
This year's officers also include vice presidents Donna Conrad, wife of John Conrad, worship/missions pastor at New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ga., and Jackie Anderson, wife of Robert Anderson, senior pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, Md., and current president of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.
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 Muehlebach 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.
Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.
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