Sandy Wisdom-Martin, who has served since 2016 as executive director of national Woman’sMissionary Union, recently marked the milestone of 11,111 days involved in vocational ministry. (WMU photo)
By Trennis Henderson
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—As Sandy Wisdom-Martin approaches her fifth anniversary as executive director/treasurer of national Woman’s Missionary Union, she seldom experiences a “typical” day.
With extensive travel, speaking engagements, strategy meetings, writing projects and a host of other responsibilities, she frequently finds herself balancing big picture goals and day-to-day details.
Those who work closely with Wisdom-Martin know that she takes it all in stride. How does she pull that off amid competing projects, pressures and priorities?
“Who I am today is because of WMU women who’ve invested in me and poured their lives into mine,” she affirmed. “I think of my Acteens leader who taught me so much in my little country church in southern Illinois. I think of WMU mentors who spent years shaping me into the person that I am today. And I just feel such a responsibility to the heritage, to the legacy that I’ve been given to help nurture that in others.
“At WMU, our mandate is to make disciples of Jesus who live on mission. People did that for me, and I want to pass that along to others,” Wisdom-Martin explained. “I see my role as being the biggest cheerleader I can be to help raise up another generation of women who will be involved in the mission of God.”
Following God faithfully
Beyond that, she is deeply committed to her sense of call from God. “Why am I here today?” she reflected. “I’m the daughter of a foundry worker and a coal miner. I shouldn’t be in this place. And it’s not because of my skills or abilities. It’s because of what God did through others and what He asked me to do and it’s just following Him faithfully.”
In reality, she is uniquely qualified for the national ministry role God has entrusted to her. Prior to being elected national WMU executive director in 2016, she held similar WMU leadership positions on the state level in Texas and her home state of Illinois. She previously served several years in an associate role with Arkansas WMU.
And she hasn’t forgotten to focus on the basics. While “there really is no typical day in the life of an exec in WMU,” Wisdom-Martin said, “I like to come to the office and do my devotional time here before I start my work day. It usually involves multiple meetings with staff in various configurations. I do lots of emailing. I check the daily cash position because as treasurer, that’s one of my responsibilities.
“I love to do research in the library,” she added. “I have a staff member assigned to ask me, anytime I say I’m headed to the library, ‘Are you sure you have time for that now?’ because I just love to research in the library.”
Sharing ministry conversations
Wisdom-Martin noted that she also does “lots and lots and lots of writing” as well as “lots of interviews with people.”
“One of the most wonderful things that I get to do is hear the stories of others,” she shared, “so to write about their stories or to interview them in a podcast, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
In fact, her podcast, “On the Journey Conversations,” debuted as a positive ministry outlet amid the height of the COVID pandemic. Featuring informal conversations with WMU leaders, missionaries and other faith leaders, podcast topics range from “Build Each Other Up” and “Be a Visionary Leader” to “Finding Peace in the Midst of Chaos” and “A Christian Response to Racial Reconciliation.”
The podcast series, available at wmu.com/podcast, is a testament to Wisdom-Martin’s commitment to creative, cutting-edge missions endeavors.
“When we talk about making disciples of Jesus who live on mission, while that is our big mandate, we all have to find our place in that mandate,” she emphasized. “That’s what I want for every Christ follower – to be able to take their place in God’s plan. What God has for us is so much better than we can imagine on our own.”
Citing WMU’s team approach to pursuing God’s plan, Wisdom-Martin added, “By far, the favorite thing about serving in my role is the people that I get to work with – such a group of creative, committed Christ followers who show up every day and give it all they’ve got. We collaborate together and we look for solutions and together we will find the future that God has for us.
“Today, we’re looking at a day in my life, but we could be looking at a day in anyone’s life,” she concluded. “I think the goal is, no matter who you are, no matter what you do, to live surrendered wholeheartedly to the will of God.”
That’s typical in Sandy Wisdom-Martin’s life and leadership – every single day.
Trennis Henderson is national correspondent for WMU.