FBC St. Joseph led all of SBC in Lottie Moon giving in 2003
January 14, 2005
By Allen Palmeri
ST. JOSEPH – First Baptist Church, St. Joseph, was honored by the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) as the No. 1 church in the nation for per capita giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering by collecting $341,368.35 in 2003.
First St. Joseph wound up giving $912.75 per member, based on its church membership roll of 374.
The death of longtime member Frank Raines triggered a gift of about $340,000 from his will, thus earning the church national recognition. This year, the church has already exceeded its goal of $2,000 for the Lottie Moon offering and is up to $2,200.
“I think the fact that Frank would be willing to do that has both encouraged and challenged our church to do better,” said Pastor David Church, who has been ministering to the congregation since September.
“Of course, I’m new here, and there’s an excitement about many things going on. I’m still on the honeymoon, this church is mission-minded and I just feel like they’re getting involved in more of what God wants. I think the influence of Frank has been major.”
Harvey Parker, minister of music at the church and recording secretary for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), remembered having Raines for a Sunday School teacher in St. Joseph after World War II. Raines was in the Army, and he told his class of teen-age boys that he had made a vow to God that if he came back to the United States he would serve the Lord for the rest of his life. Parker said Raines managed to keep that vow.
“He was just a mentor and a tremendous example in many lives, and in my life,” Parker said.
Raines was a bookkeeper for a packing plant who was known around St. Joseph for his frugal lifestyle. He served the church as a deacon and a Sunday School superintendent. His lifelong habit of saving enabled him to match his gift of $340,000 to the Lottie Moon offering with another gift of $340,000 to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, which was also written into his will.
First Baptist Church, St. Joseph, was the only SBC church to crack the top 10 in both the per capita giving list and overall giving list to the 2003 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.