Young women should let their light SHINE
    August 25 2010 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

    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 Experiencing Christ.

    “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.”

    BR file photo by Dianna L. Cagle

    Club SHINE, held during the Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina’s annual Missions Extravaganza, was meant for women ages 18-35 to network. During the weekend event SHINE volunteers, sporting pink T-shirts, helped with set up/take down, music and logistics.

    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 organization. The group encourages missional living.

    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 think.”

    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 mentoring purposes.

    “I hope that we can be the catalyst for that,” she said. “If people are passionate about it they’ll find a way.”

    Contact WMU-NC at (919) 882-2344 or Also visit the SHINE Facebook page.  

    Upcoming event
    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.

    Dorothy Barham, 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; 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.

    Related story
    Taking the lead: WMU-NC at top of missions game
    8/25/2010 5:24:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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