Texas WMU Executive Director Sandra Wisdom-Martin has been named the successor to Wanda Lee as the executive director of the national Woman’s Missionary Union. Wisdom-Martin was unanimously elected following a nationwide search to replace Lee who announced her retirement in January.
Wisdom-Martin was considered by many as the frontrunner for the post when the position vacancy was announced. She is seen as one of the most capable state WMU execs in the SBC. Her hiring, however, does not diminish the task she and national WMU face.
National WMU finds itself at a pivotal point in its history. From an all-time high of $14.8M in 1999, revenues were just $7.2M in 2015. Periodicals and subscriptions revenue—the core of WMU’s sales—has declined from a high of $9.4M in 1999 to just $4.6M last year. And in 2015, subscription circulation fell below 200,000 for the first time since 1943. But hope should not be lost for WMU just yet. Potential exists for revenue stabilization and growth through New Hope Publishers and WorldCrafts as well as through new revenue sources.
For many, Wisdom-Martin is the right leader at the right time for WMU—and that’s undoubtedly what the search committee felt as well. Martin’s extensive ministry experience is but one reason why. From the release:
In addition to more than 25 years of experience in state WMU and church and community ministry, including children’s missions education camps, Wisdom-Martin has served with more than 50 missions groups in nine different countries; served as national coordinator for Mississippi River Ministry; and writes extensively for WMU publications and others. In WMU, she has served as an associational GA director, associational Acteens director, Campus Baptist Young Women (BYU) president, Mission Friends leader, GA leader, and Acteens co-leader.
Wisdom-Martin served as Cooperative Program missionary for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention from 1991 to 2001. She then served as Illinois WMU director from 2001 to 2010. She assumed her current leadership role with the Texas WMU in late 2010.
Wisdom-Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in social work from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Frank Martin, have one daughter, Hannah.