ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Vivian McCaughan, a missionary who left a vast footprint on Missouri Baptist life, died April 18 at her home after a long battle with cancer. She was 62.
McCaughan, a North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionary serving in Missouri was featured during this year’s Week of Prayer for North American Missions and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® emphasis.
As a NAMB missionary, McCaughan dedicated her life to sharing the gospel with those who’d not yet heard of God’s love for them.
“Vivian had a missionary heart from an early age and lived that out every day in the lives of those she encountered,” said Richard Harris, NAMB’s interim president. “Our hearts are heavy when we think of the ministry and encouragement that will no longer take place now that Vivian is absent from this world.
“We also share in the grief her husband, Jim, is walking through right now as his companion and best friend is no longer by his side. But we also celebrate with Vivian as she now knows the physical embrace of the Lord and Savior she so loved. The one to whom she dedicated her life’s work so that others could one day know that embrace as well.”
After previously serving as an international missionary with the Foreign Mission Board, McCaughan began her state missionary work in 1988. She used to joke about how hard it was to keep up with the numerous titles she held in her 22-year tenure, but Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director David Tolliver said she managed to do it all with diligence, wisdom, and passion.
Leader of the MBC Missions & Evangelism team, McCaughan’s assignments included ministering to women, the hungry, and those living in multihousing. She followed in the footsteps of her father, former MBC staffer Billy Hargrove, and stayed true to her call to missions at the age of 13.
Among her many accomplishments was her effort with Missouri Woman’s Missionary Union (MWMU) and the MBC’s Women’s Ministry which helped produce the last four unified “M-Counter” events.
“It is taking five people to replace her,” Tolliver said. “We will go forward, but we will sorely miss one of the most effective members of our team.” “We will greatly miss Vivian McCaughan,” Tolliver wrote in a recent issue of The Pathway, a publication of MBC.
“But it was God at work in His servant who made those ministries effective. Now God has called His servant to her reward. And, even as He rewards Vivian, our Lord will complete the work He began in her.”
McCaughan served as a journeyman in Ghana from 1969-1970. She then attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, where she graduated before returning to Ghana as a career missionary, where she served until the end of 1977.
Sent by First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, she was hired by the former Home Mission Board as a missionary in January 1988 when she began her multi-housing ministry in partnership with the MBC.
She then worked as a church planting strategist, a weekday ministries director and as state ministry evangelism director for the MBC from 1990 until May 2003. She served as a multi-housing church planting missionary and as a church multiplication specialist for the MBC from May 2003 until her death.
“She is irreplaceable,” said Lorraine Powers, former president of Missouri’s WMU, noting that McCaughan, as a former elementary school teacher, chose to emphasize children’s missions education as a key part of the whole.
McCaughan’s burden for multihousing ministry started when she was teaching at Calloway Hills Elementary. She started backyard Bible clubs in Holts Summit Mobile Home Trailer Park where several of her students lived and continued to lead the clubs for the 12 years she taught elementary school.
With 37 percent of the state’s population living in multihousing, she carried a burden for reaching people where they were.
In 2007, McCaughan was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and kept on going with her work, which involved serving as treasurer and Sunday School teacher at Parker Road Baptist Church, Florissant.
In 2010, she was one of eight NAMB missionaries featured in the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering prayer guide. A final tribute to her while she was battling cancer came April 15 at the Baptist Building when staffers viewed a 4-minute video of her life before MBC Associate Executive Director Jerry Field led in prayer.
She is survived by her husband, Jim, three stepchildren, her mother, Imogene Hargrove of Jefferson City and two sisters, Theresa Blanchard of Atlanta, Ga., and Karen Smith of Rolla.