By Joy Bolton, former Executive Director of Kentucky WMU.
When I saw the Baptist Press headline “WMU Foundation: $512,354 to support national WMU work,” I knew what I needed to write about next on my blog, DiscoverJoy.org. There has been stirring in my heart a message about supporting WMU. I believe it is vital for us to intentionally support National WMU.
I grew up in WMU and have been influenced by WMU’s determination to make disciples of Jesus who live on mission. As I became aware of how the work of WMU was funded, I knew that National WMU received no Cooperative Program funding or dollars from the missions offerings, but instead funded their work through the sales of missions literature and giving through the WMU Foundation. But there is more to the story.
Past “Recall” Funding
A quick look at A Century to Celebrate by Catherine Allen reminded me that from the time WMU incorporated, they knew they would need funds for literature and communications. “They agreed on three principles: they would receive no missions money, but have the women send it directly to the mission boards for expenditure; the officers would receive no pay; and its expenses would be paid by the mission boards.”
“For more than 66 years the process of WMU funding was commonly known as ‘recalling.’ WMU officers would incur or estimate expenses, then ‘recall’ from the mission boards the amount they wished. Always this was done with reluctance and self-sacrifice, for the women wanted as much money as possible to go to the missions fields” said Allen.
The “recall” system was changed as WMU increasingly supported her work through literature sales and earnings from reserves.
WMU Foundation Established
In 1995, the WMU Foundation was established and has become a significant partner in channeling financial support to WMU. This is more important than ever before.
In an era when publishing has experienced radical change, WMU has struggled at times to sell enough literature to fully fund the national office. This is both a symptom of changing times in our churches and in the distribution of information. People today want to find information and resources at little to no cost on the internet. However, even to give away information on the web, there are production costs which must be funded.
When I have attended meetings with other WMU leaders, we have discussed these challenges. We understand that putting “free” information on the web has costs, and that WMU would love to provide some missions resources to churches on the web while continuing to support those who create and develop the content. This is where you and I come in and can help provide the support needed to produce these resources.
We need to step up and fund National WMU work. There are several ways to do this through the WMU Foundation and WMU:
Funding National WMU
Support WMU and WMU Ministries: Purchase WMU literature, WorldCrafts, and other products produced by WMU. Keep your subscriptions current. Don’t be among those who say, “I used to subscribe.” You may be too busy to read every word of Missions Mosaic, but subscribe anyway. This is our flagship magazine and your subscription matters. Give gifts from WorldCrafts that are not only beautiful but provide hope for a better life and share Jesus who gives us hope for eternity.
Giving Regularly: Give to support WMU ministries through the WMU Foundation. Give automatically through selecting recurring monthly or quarterly giving. Gifts for various ministries of WMU were among the $512,234 given recently. You can support an hour of ministry by giving $34 to the Vision Fund. You can support missions education for preschoolers by giving to the Dixon Endowment for Mission Friends. You can support leadership development through gifts to a number of endowments. See the Funds and Endowments List and pick one! You can also choose a Touch Tomorrow Today endowment which divides distributions between National WMU and WMU in your state.
Estate Gifts: Plan a gift to WMU from your estate. All of us will die. We must decide now, however, where our assets will go if we want to have a say in the distribution. Much of the $512,234 came from earnings on endowments. You may want to establish an endowment with WMU, but you can also specify a dollar amount or percentage to go to an existing endowment. Your wishes must be in writing through a will. Do not assume that your family knows you would want this. Put it in writing. The WMU Foundation can assist you with Planned Giving.
Memorial Gifts: Memorial gifts are a great way to honor people who love WMU and missions. Give to a WMU endowment at their passing. Or purchase a brick for the Walk of Faith. 100% of your Walk of Faith gift goes to operational needs of WMU. And let your family know where you would like memorial gifts sent when you die. Again, don’t assume they know. Put it in writing and let them know your wishes. Gifts to support WMU are a great way to honor and be honored.
The National WMU Office is important to all of us. It guides our work together and is the hub for WMU work across the country. WMU has a mandate to fulfill and keeping our home office strong and able to provide the resources we need is vital.
Join me today in supporting WMU!
This article first appeared on DiscoverJoy.org.