ROGERS – Ministers’ wives from across Arkansas gathered at the Ministers’ Wives Conference held Oct. 28 at Cross Church Pinnacle Hills in Rogers prior to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Annual Meeting Oct. 29-30.
The annual event is a time for women to join together over a common bond – their lives as wives of those in the ministry.
Speakers included Kathy Litton, the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) national consultant for ministry to pastors’ wives. Litton is a pastor’s wife herself, married to Ed Litton, pastor of First Baptist North Mobile in Saraland, Ala. She addressed the topic of influence, sharing ways to influence positively, as well as the topic of criticism, giving suggestions on how to respond to criticism and sharing how God has used criticism in her life.
Litton also leads, Flourish, an online community introduced by NAMB for ministers’ wives. The Flourish website can be found at www.flourish.me.
In addition to Litton, mother-daughter speakers Judy Martin and Kelly Stamps addressed the topic of family life in ministry.
Martin – whose husband, Steve, serves as pastor of First Baptist Church, Flippin – spoke about how God had a plan for her life and prepared her for it from an early age, and she spoke about what it was like to raise a family as a pastor’s wife.
Her adult daughter, Stamps, shared from a daughter’s perspective what it was like to grow up as a pastor’s child. She shared her love for church and encouraged attendees that “preachers’ kids can turn out all right.” Stamps is author of the blog Kelly’s Korner and is involved in her own church, First Baptist Church, Bentonville.
In addition, women enjoyed games and door prizes and worship led by Mary Claire Maier – wife of Mark Maier, associate pastor of worship/music at First Baptist Church, Rogers – and her friends, Jan Kimball and Lenore Henderson.
Julie Beavers, whose husband, Stephen, is church planter/pastor at Delta Baptist Church, Pine Bluff, said the goal of the conference was for the women “to know how special they are.”
“We want them to know that God has done great things for them; their position as minister's wife is one of honor,” said Beavers, who serves on the Ministers’ Wives Network leadership team.
“Our goal for the Ministers’ Wives Network is to remind the wives they aren't alone,” she said. “Stephen and I went through a difficult time in our church in 2011. Had it not been for the women I met and the friends I made at the luncheons, I wouldn't have made it through that time as well as I did. I was able to call on people that could relate to my problem. They could offer advice; they didn't have to be ‘churchy’ with me. They were ‘real’ with me. They loved and prayed me through a couple of really rough months. I am forever grateful for them.”
Beavers shared her gratitude for the women that work with her on the network’s leadership team. In addition to Beavers, leadership team members are Michelle Conner, wife of Garrick Conner, discipleship pastor at Park Hill Baptist Church, North Little Rock; Ann Hibbard, wife of Doug Hibbard, pastor of First Baptist Church, Almyra; Vickie Lee, wife of Ricky Lee, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Sherwood; Sherrill Moffett, wife of Eric Moffett, pastor of First Baptist Church, Pocahontas, and Sheila Stadler, wife of Ken Stadler, pastor of Fianna Hills Baptist Church, Fort Smith.
“They are wonderful to work with and share my vision and desire to see ministers’ wives make connections, feel special and know that they are loved,” Beavers said.
Ministers’ wives are welcome to access the group’s blog, www.arminwives.com, or private Facebook page.
In addition to their annual conference, the group also meets during the annual State Conference on Evangelism and Church Growth. There will also be a session for ministers' wives at a women’s conference to be held March 8 at Central Baptist Church, North Little Rock.