Helping to Ensure a Future of Women Leaders

Candace McIntosh says she knows at least one young woman whose story was this: “I didn’t realize there were other girls like me.” That is, until the young woman came to the Emerging Leaders Forum.

“She met other girls who were committed to their faith, loved missions, and were passionate about the same things,” said McIntosh, executive director for Alabama WMU. After attending the forum, that young woman surrendered to a missions call and is now serving with the IMB. “That’s pretty incredible,” McIntosh said.

Each year, through the Emerging Leaders Forum, Alabama WMU invests directly in 15 to 20 teenage girls in hopes that they will be missions leaders and raise up a generation who will continue to be a part of WMU. The smaller group size allows for more one-on-one investment, McIntosh said.

Alabama WMU invests directly in 15 to 20 teenage girls each year at the Emerging Leaders Forum.

Alabama WMU invests directly in 15 to 20 teenage girls each year at the Emerging Leaders Forum.

Alabama WMU is able to keep the cost low for forum participants through a grant from the Second Century Fund, which has been helping to provide women’s leadership training domestically and internationally ever since the first four grants were given at WMU’s Centennial Celebration in Richmond, Virginia, in 1988.

“Leadership comes in a lot of forms,” McIntosh said. “This forum gives all types of leaders an opportunity to shine.”

Melody Knox, WMU executive director for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, said she believes this kind of investment is vital.

“I think we’re going to lose the next generation of people wanting to be missionaries if we don’t keep investing in them,” she said.

Each year, Knox uses part of her Second Century Fund grant to put on a conference for women with breakout sessions that teach different ways to be involved in missions.

“We need to keep this kind of training available to women so that they do missions with their children and missions will continue to go forward,” she said. “If we don’t, when this group retires, we won’t have anyone rising up to take their place.”

Cathy Meyer, women’s missions/ministry leader for the Baptist Convention of New York, said her annual WMU event wouldn’t be possible without the Second Century Fund.

“Our convention does not budget anything for women’s ministry or WMU, so every year the grant helps us have our annual meeting,” she said. And 2019 was a special one—it was the 50th anniversary of WMU in the state. They had speakers from WMU along with the IMB and NAMB. Around 120 people came to learn about how to fight human trafficking, get training in missions and evangelism, and learn about what WMU has to offer.

Sandy Wisdom-Martin celebrated New York WMU’s 50th anniversary with them at their 2019 annual meeting.

Sandy Wisdom-Martin celebrated New York WMU’s 50th anniversary with them at their 2019 annual meeting.

“Without the support of the WMU Foundation, New York would not be able to accomplish a missions program or emphasis in our state convention,” Meyer said. “It’s a gracious gift.”

If supporting women’s leadership is your passion, you can find out more about WMU Foundation’s Second Century Fund at wmufoundation.com/second-century-fund.

Zachariah Seanor

Director of Mission Advancement