When ladies involved in
Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina started asking how to reach and keep
women ages 18-35, they talked and prayed a lot.
What emerged is SHINE, a new
group within Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC).
The acronym represents
Serving God, Helping others, Inspiring believers, Networking community and
“We just talked a lot about
how we can challenge inspire and teach young women to fulfill the Great
Commission and just to be a light in places of darkness,” said Diane McClary, a
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary student involved in SHINE.
SHINE was originally just an
event last year in Charlotte — based on Matthew 5:16 — “let your light
shine before men.”
It was a retreat for young
women but the idea took on a life of its own and now local WMU leaders want to
start SHINE groups in their areas.
SHINE: myMISSION NC is a
cross between a small group Bible study, prayer group, and missions
The group encourages
SHINE builds on a national
WMU effort called my MISSION fulfilled. It emphasizes
reaching women where they are and offers Bible studies and articles for women
at various life stages.
Ruby Fulbright, WMU-NC
executive director-treasurer, said the key to growth has been giving the women
“permission to try to chart their course rather than fit them into our WMU mold
… giving them permission to rise to the top.”
“It’s not your grandmother’s
WMU,” said Deanna Deaton, South Carolina WMU associate, who is a former North
Carolina resident and a facilitator of the SHINE Facebook fan page.
Deaton knows there is an
awareness gap for young women about WMU missions and education opportunities.
A key rallying point is to
form a ministry partnership with a local non-profit. WMU-NC is encouraging
churches or associations or even women in that age range from various
denominations to start these groups to encourage community missions.
“When you start all this
it’s just messy,” said WMU associate Julie Keith. “It’s so much harder than you
That’s why SHINE leaders put together a packet of information to help.
Because ages 18-35 covers
“just about every stage of life,” Keith said, reaching all these women where
they are can be challenging.
“It’s been such a
blessing,” to be involved in developing SHINE, McClary said.
“This is sort of the next
generation of WMU. We really want young women to be on board with the greater
movement of WMU.”
Keith hopes SHINE develops
into a diverse group linked with the older professional women network for
“I hope that we can be the
catalyst for that,” she said. “If people are passionate about it they’ll find a
Contact WMU-NC at (919)
Little River Baptist
Association’s WMU has organized SHINE: refuel, a two-day retreat Sept. 24-25 in
Harnett County with breakout sessions and hands-on mission projects.
associational WMU director, points out that the event at Antioch Baptist Church
has been planned by younger women with some guidance from WMU leaders.
“Missions is what WMU
is all about,” Barham said. It’s “not necessarily doing exactly as we’ve always
done” in order to reach a younger generation.
Visit lrba.net; click on WMU
for registration form. Register by Sept. 1 for $25.
They will be offering child
care if it’s needed. Barham said they were still looking for volunteers —
kitchen, registration, etc. — to make the event happen.
Taking the lead: WMU-NC at top of missions game