ST. CHARLES — Missions and ministry are what marked Vivian McCaughan, coworkers, ministry partners, friends and family repeatedly emphasized at two services April 23-24 celebrating her life.
The longtime North American Mission Board missionary passed away April 18 at her home after a battle with ovarian cancer. She was 62.
She told a NAMB writer that missions was in her DNA when interviewed as a featured missionary for the 2010 Week of Prayer for North American Missions. Part of that DNA came from her father, a pastor widely known in Missouri for his missions heart. Vivian used to accompany her dad all across the state when he served on the convention’s missions staff.
But people who benefited from her work or who worked with her or who heard her speak or who simply sat and talked with her for a few minutes discovered her missions heart firsthand.
“Vivian was a source of strength and encouragement,” said national Woman’s Missionary Union executive director Wanda Lee at a celebration service April 24 at First Baptist Church, Jefferson City. “She was a leader of influence…. She left us a legacy of what it means to be a true fighter…a legacy of commitment and stickability.”
Born in Kansas City on March 6, 1948, Vivian heard God call her to missions at age 13. To prepare for that call, she earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary and music education at Grand Canyon College in Phoenix, Ariz.
She served the Lord while in college with the Home (now North American) Mission Board — as a summer missionary in Cleveland, Ohio, and one summer as a secretary at the board’s headquarters in Atlanta, Ga.
After graduating from college, Vivian served as a Foreign (now International) Mission Board Journeyman at the Accra Goodwill Center in Accra, Ghana, West Africa, from 1969-1971. Then she enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where she earned a master of divinity degree in 1974.
The Foreign Mission Board appointed her a missionary on April 9, 1974, and she served in Ghana through 1977. Then she taught in public schools in Crozet, Va., and in Jefferson City. While teaching at Callaway Hills Elementary, she started Backyard Bible clubs in a trailer park where many of her students lived. That ministry led to her lifelong commitment to multihousing ministry.
In December 1987, she was appointed by the Home Mission Board to serve as a multi-family housing consultant for mid-Missouri, based at First Baptist Church, Jefferson City. She began work with the Missouri Baptist Convention and Concord Baptist Association in January 1988.
In 1991, the state team was reduced from eight positions to four and workers were moved to serve regions. Vivian was relocated to St. Louis.
She was elected to a two-year term as president of the Southern Baptist Multihousing Association in 1994. Now called the National Association of Multihousing Ministries and Congregations, the organization honored her with its Dr. Daniel Sanchez Award for Multihousing Ministry Excellence at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in 2008.
On April 26, 1997, she married Jim McCaughan, who serves as minister of missions at Parker Road Baptist Church in Florissant, where she served as treasurer and a Sunday School teacher.
She was a church planting strategist, weekday ministries director and state evangelism director. With MBC reorganization in 2000, Vivian was named coordinator for the convention’s missions mobilization team. Since 2003, she served as a multihousing church planting missionary and church multiplication specialist. Later, WMU became part of her responsibilities and WMU/Women’s Ministry Specialist was added to her growing list of titles. In 2009, she became team leader of the convention’s Missions and Evangelism Team.
She is survived by her husband, Jim, of St. Charles; three stepchildren; her mother, Imogene Hargrove of Jefferson City; and two sisters, Theresa Blanchard of Atlanta, Ga., and Karen Smith of Rolla.