“I want you to have the time to invest in the lives of all your women,” said Dorothy Patterson, referring to church members. “They need your influence. They need your encouragement. They need your love.”
BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Dorothy Patterson, professor of theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, shares with the North Carolina Minister’s Wives Nov. 14. The annual event focused on encouraging wives of ministers, providing a place of worship and prayer. She encouraged women, whether married or single, to make their home a “welcoming, comforting place for your family.”
Patterson was addressing the North Carolina Baptist Minister’s Wives Nov. 14 at “Woman2Woman: The Importance of Spiritual Mentoring” prior to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina annual meeting in Greensboro.
Patterson is a professor of theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas, and wife of the school’s president, Paige Patterson. The couple served at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary at Wake Forest for 11 years during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Based on Titus 2:3-5, Dorothy Patterson said there was much “meat [that] Paul has for us in this passage.”
She stressed the importance of sound doctrine.
“We’ve got so much floating around here with the dress of doctrine on it that is absolutely devastating, not only to individuals, but to the church of the living God,” she said. “You must study it, not just to teach it, but it’s also important for you to study for your own personal enrichment.”
She also encouraged ladies to have a personal library, building resources to help them further study the Bible.
When the verses refer to older women, Patterson said the original Greek points to a more spiritually mature person, not necessarily an old woman.
“If you’re young, don’t think you have to wait until you reach a certain age to mentor or to teach,” she said.
God wants a high level of character among His followers, Patterson said, maintaining reverence in behavior. “If you’re going to be training these young women, you must have a lifestyle that is fit for church living,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that you have to be in your Sunday best. It doesn’t mean that you have to be completely unfrazzled. It means you are acting in a Christ-like way in every response.”
She urged them to stay away from alcohol.
“God is working among the women of this great state,” said Patterson. That means “loving our husband [and children] even when it is difficult to love them.”
BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Some of the North Carolina Minister’s Wives officers include, from left: Sandy Cooper, Western 1 representative; Megan Knight, president elect for 2017-2018; Betty Smith, publicity; Diane Smith, Central 1 representative; Dakota Spurling, 2017 retreat vice chair; Amy Harmon, 2016-2017 president; Cindy Johnson, 2017 retreat chair; Harriet Lovett, secretary/treasurer; and Candy McAnnelly, Eastern representative.
She talked about the importance of maintaining a sense of humor through all life has to offer.
One of the ministries at SWBTS is to give 75 women each semester a complete outfit along with accessories from a local department store. Each woman is paired with a mentor to help them pick something appropriate.
She encouraged women, married and single, to have a “welcoming, comforting place for your family” and friends.
She discouraged working outside the home when possible, but if it is necessary, she asked that women try to find something with a flexible schedule so she would be free to assist her family.
Titus 2 contains a word that many women balk at: submission. Patterson said this word does not mean an action that is forced, but instead it is that the wife chooses to be obedient.
“God chose the relationships in the home as the prototype of [His] relationship to us,” she said. “We have to choose to be obedient to the Lord.”
A wife and husband are meant to be a unit, working together, Patterson said.
Guarding the sanctity of homes remains a priority.
“We have no churches if we don’t have homes,” she said. “We don’t have community if we don’t have homes.”
God has placed each woman in a strategic place, Patterson said. “We see what women want,” she said. “We work with them where they are.”
Harriett Lovett, secretary/treasurer and member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, said the organization was just under the budget allotted for the summer retreat and were “right on track to be on budget for this event.”
“Apart from the Bible, I’ve read her A Handbook for Minister’s Wives more than any other book that I own,” said Ginnie Varnam, the group’s outgoing president and member of Tar Heel Baptist Church in Tar Heel, of Patterson’s book that was included in each of the bags given to participants.
Representatives from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Embrace Women’s Ministry, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Women’s Life, Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina and the Biblical Recorder shared about their respective ministries.
Varnam served as 2015-2016 president, and Peggy Mooney of Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Supply served as the 2015-2016 vice president. These were approved Nov. 14:
• 2016-2017 president: Amy Harmon, Pittsboro Baptist Church, Pittsboro.
• 2016-2017 vice president: Beverly Williams, Pine Branch Baptist Church, Spruce Pine
• 2017-2018 president elect: Megan Knight, Dublin First Baptist Church
• Secretary/treasurer: Harriet Lovett, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Mount Pleasant
• Publicity: Betty Smith, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Fayetteville
• 2017 retreat chair: Cindy Johnson, Old Town Baptist Church, Winston-Salem
• 2017 retreat vice chair: Dakota Spurling, Freedom Biker Church, Conover
• 2018 retreat chair: Dottie Earwood, Journey Community Church, Eastover
• Central 1: Diane Smith, Jonesboro Heights Baptist Church, Sanford
• Central 2: Barbara Murdock, Clear Creek Baptist Church, Charlotte
• Eastern: Candy McAnelly, Spring Garden Baptist Church, New Bern
• Western 1: Sandy Cooper, South Fork Baptist Church, Todd
• Western 2: vacant