Woman’s Missionary Union Challenges Christian Believers to Understand and be Radically Involved in the Mission of God.
In 1888, a handful of women dedicated to the cause of missions founded Woman’s Missionary Union. Since that time, WMU has become the largest Protestant organization for women in the world, with a membership of approximately 1 million. WMU also was the first and remains the largest body of organized laity in the Southern Baptist Convention.
From the beginning, WMU’s main purpose has been to educate and involve women, girls, and preschoolers in the cause of Christian missions. It accomplishes these purposes primarily through age-level organizations.
Financial support of missionaries has always been a priority for women involved in WMU. When the women founded the national organization in 1888, one of their first items of business was to accept the request to raise money for the two mission boards. Within the first year, the women contributed over $30,700 to the two entities.
The women’s efforts to raise money for the two mission boards are known today as the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. The Christmas offering originated in 1888 and was named for Lottie Moon in 1918. The Easter offering originated in 1895 and was named for Annie Armstrong in 1934. The two offerings remained women’s offerings until 1956, when WMU agreed to promote the offerings churchwide. By the end of 1998, WMU had helped lead Southern Baptists to contribute nearly $2.5 billion to the two offerings.