Valerie Wilson: Missionary Through Words

Valerie Wilson: Missionary Through Words

As a teacher and a writer, Valerie Wilson ('64) has been reaching people of all ages with the truth of Scripture for more than 55 years.

Valerie WilsonRecently, three new women's Bible studies by Valerie were published by Regular Baptist Press. The three-volume series on Acts is built from the women's study she taught at First Baptist Church of Arlington Heights, IL.

Valerie attended then Baptist Bible Seminary in Johnson City, NY, and graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor of Religious Education degree. In 1990, Valerie received the Outstanding Service Award and in 2002 was awarded an honorary doctorate by BBC&S, recognizing her faithful work in Christian Education.

Originally from Central Valley, NY, Valerie now lives in Schaumburg, IL, a suburb of Chicago. Although retired, she still teaches at her home church in Arlington Heights, and does freelance writing work.

I was four years old when I came to faith in Jesus Christ. My mother and I were listening to the "Young People's Church of the Air," a radio broadcast with Percy Crawford, as she was getting me ready for church one Sunday morning. I told her I wanted Jesus to be my Savior. She led me to the Lord, and then she had me tell my pastor-father about my decision.

I had my heart set on becoming a missionary nurse, but some things had happened that delayed that training. A pastor friend of my father's was holding special meetings at our church. He noticed how I worked with the children (I was a senior in high school), and he suggested I think about Bible college training. So after prayer and discussion with my godly parents, I applied to Baptist Bible Seminary in Johnson City, NY, and was accepted. I began my freshman year in September 1960.

I had a Bible/Christian Education major.I planned to attend only one year because I hung on to my own desire to be a missionary nurse. But returning to BBS each fall, God closed that door, and more and more I enjoyed Christian Education and turned my focus toward teaching.

Dr. Ruth Haycock fostered in me a love for Christian Education. Even though I did not have most of her classes until my senior year, those classes were significant in developing my desire to pursue further education. She encouraged me to get further training right away, suggesting Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Forth Worth, Texas. It had a strong Religious Education program, and Dr. Haycock felt it was the best choice for graduate school. I was accepted at SWBTS and graduated in 1966.

I knew I wanted to serve the Lord. As I think back, I am not sure what my career goals were when I graduated. It seemed that the door to foreign mission service was closed. But before I graduated from SWBTS, Dr. David Nettleton, president of Omaha Baptist Bible College (now Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, IA) asked me to consider teaching Christian Education for a year or two while an instructor was on leave pursuing a doctorate degree. I felt God leading me to accept, so I went to OBBC in the fall of 1966.

After teaching one year in Omaha and one year in Ankeny, I made the move to the Chicago area to work at Regular Baptist Press.At the time, RBP did not have curriculum for two- and three-year-olds. That age group was of special interest to me, so I talked to the executive editor, Dr. Merle Hull (another BBS grad), about writing that curriculum. I thought I would be there a year or two and then return to teaching. But God had other plans. I had found my "home," and He would use my work in countries around the world, fulfilling my heart's desire to be a missionary.

When I first arrived at Regular Baptist Press in August 1968, I thought I would soon return to teaching. Then Dr. Hull asked me to edit Vacation Bible School material, another first for RBP, and I accepted the challenge. The first year of VBS publication was the summer of 1972. When the book editor left, I added book editing to my responsibilities. The managing editor for Sunday school materials died early in 1979, so I assumed her responsibilities (though not her title). This arrangement continued until the mid-80s. At that time RBP hired a youth/adult editor, and I worked with the four children's departments and books. For the final five or six years at RBP, I was the director of editorial services, and I gave oversight to all the publications.

God fulfilled my desire to teach. During all the years at RBP, I was very active in our Sunday school conference ministry. Between 1968 and 2007, I was involved in 352 conferences (11,289 workshops!) in 35 states, three Canadian provinces, and one foreign country.

The Bible, theology, and Christian Education courses at BBS were just the training I needed for all the different areas in which I served through my years at Regular Baptist Press. I served there from August 1, 1968 until December 31, 2007.

In 1990 a pastor's wife talked to me about publishing a women's Bible study. That was the start of RBP's line of women's Bible studies. RBP published two of my studies while I was still employed, both based on studies I led with the ladies at First Baptist Church, Arlington Heights, IL. After I spent a year teaching Acts at church, I talked to Kevin Mungons, Editorial Director - Publications at RBP about publishing a more in-depth Bible study. RBP decided to give it a try, and that led to the publication of
"Living in the Power of the Spirit" (Acts 1-12), "Serving in the Power of the Spirit" (Acts 13-20), and "Persevering in the Power of the Spirit" (Acts 21-28).

My published studies have grown out of our group studies that I lead at my church. I feel this is one of the ways God uses my gifts and allows my work to go to other countries as well as be used in the U.S.

I have liked to write as far back as I can remember.I won a couple of awards for poetry when I was in high school. In graduate school, I worked for a professor who was a prolific writer for the Baptist Sunday School Board. I edited his material before sending it to the publisher.

But I never thought of having a career in writing; I view myself as a teacher. Just about all of the writing I have done has had a teaching element to it. Most of my years at RBP were spent editing what other people wrote, and even that had a teaching aspect to it. I wanted to help writers develop their skills.

I serve the Lord through First Baptist church in Arlington Heights. I teach a junior Sunday school class (grades 5 and 6). I lead the ladies' Bible study on Wednesday nights all year long. I lead the team that facilitates our ladies' ministries and activities throughout the year. I play the piano on a rotating basis, and I assist my pastor and his wife with various editorial jobs or in any other ways I can help them.

Contact Info:

Valerie's Bible Studies include:
"Pearls from Proverbs"
"God's Grand Plan: The Story of Redemption"
"Trusting the Bible"
"Welcome to the Family"
"Living in the Power of the Spirit" (Acts 1-12)
"Serving in the Power of the Spirit" (Acts 13-20)
"Persevering in the Power of the Spirit" (Act 21-28)

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers outstanding Christian higher education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to think biblically, grow spiritually, and serve faithfully as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

To learn more, go to or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 9/6/2013 1:02:44 PM

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