MBC sets Lottie Moon goal of $4 million
JEFFERSON CITY – As leftover turkey gives ways to the Nativity scenes and caroling, Missouri Baptists are gearing up for the 2006 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 (IMB) overseas budget, thus supporting more than 5,400 missionaries. Those funds represent 53 percent of the IMB’s budget.
The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) has set a statewide goal of $4 million. As of press time, 176 Missouri Baptist churches had registered their individual goals with the IMB. Their stated goal was $518,385.38. If all of the nearly 2,000 churches in the MBC follow this trend, the $4 million mark will be smashed.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s nationwide goal is $150 million, the same as last year’s. The 2005 offering brought in just under $138 million. Although the offering totals had been rising over the past few years, extra giving to disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita depressed last year’s total.
Besides promoting the special offering, the IMB is asking churches to set aside Dec. 3-10 as a week of prayer for international missions and the Lottie Moon offering. Promotional materials target 22 Western Africa countries as a special emphasis in 2006 and encourage prayer for the largely unchurched region. There are only 242 IMB missionaries for 287 million people – less than one missionary per 620,000 lost souls.
It’s fitting that the offering should take place in December. It seems every event in its namesake’s life occurred during the 12th month.
Lottie (short for Charlotte) Moon is one of the world’s most well-known missionaries. She was born Dec. 12, 1840, in Ablemarle County, Va. She accepted Christ in December 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.
On Christmas Day of 1881 families from Cartersville, Ga., came together and left a special offering for her work. 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.