Missouri Baptists focus on Lottie Moon offering
SBC-wide goalset at $150 million
By Brian Koonce
November 29, 2005
RICHMOND , Va. – It has become almost as much a part of the Christmas season as gingerbread houses and caroling: the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Each December, Southern Baptist churches collect the offering for the sole purpose of supporting international missions. Every penny of the offering goes to the International Mission Board’s overseas budget, thus supporting more than 5,400 missionaries.
“One hundred percent of this is used for special projects, material and equipment: things that assist and enhance the work of our missionaries,” said Norm Howell, partnership missions specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention. “It’s not like all of this goes to someone’s salary. This goes toward opening doors. It targets specific unreached people groups, helping get translation materials to where it’s most needed in the hands of the people that need it most.”
According to the International Mission Board (IMB), 67 Missouri Baptist churches have set goals totaling $241,155.51 as of press time. With nearly 2,000 Baptist congregations in the state, there is still time and the resources to meet Missouri’s fair share of the $150 million nation-wide goal.
“If you’re a church that says you’re ‘mission-minded,’ you need to put your money where your mouth is,” Howell said. “If we say we’re really mission-minded, and we’re global-focused, then we cannot avoid giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. You can’t avoid it no more than the Annie Armstrong (Easter Offering for North American missions). If you’re going to be an Acts 1:8 church, you have to look at your Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.”
With Hurricane Katrina tapping many Christian and non-Christian wallets, there is the possibility that giving fatigue may keep Lottie Moon from reaching the $150 million goal.
“We just hope that people give generously as the Lord blesses them,” said David Tolliver, MBC Cooperative Program specialist said.
The IMB is also asking churches to set aside Dec. 4-11 as a week of prayer for international missions and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
It’s fitting that the offering should take place in December. It seems every event in its namesake’s life occurred during the twelfth month.
Lottie (short for Charlotte) Moon is one of the world’s most well known missionaries. She was born in Dec. 12, 1840 in Ablemarle County, Va. She accepted Christ in Dec. 1858 while at Ablemarle Female Institute (the women’s counterpart to the University of Virginia. One of the first women in the South to earn a master’s degree, she taught school during the Civil War before the IMB appointed her a missionary to China in 1873.
She served there 39 years until her death at age 72 on Christmas Eve, 1912. She taught girls’ school in Shantung, China, but also made frequent trips to the country’s interior specifically to share the Gospel with women and girls.