‘Missouri Matters’ when it comes to missions
“And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning in…Missouri”
I pray that I have not offended you with my partial paraphrase of Luke 24:47. I know that you know the verse actually says “…beginning in Jerusalem.” But what does that mean to you and me? May I suggest to you that it means simply, start at home. And so, for us, Missouri is the place to start as we proclaim the message of the forgiveness and salvation of Jesus Christ. Starting at home is the purpose of the Rheubin L. South Missouri Missions Offering (MMO). MMO is the annual Missouri specific Show-Me state missions offering. Every MMO dollar collected in the next few weeks will go to do missions and ministry either inside the state or through the people of our Missouri Baptist churches.
The theme of the 2007 Rheubin L. South Missouri Missions Offering is “Missouri Matters.” The idea behind the theme is that Missouri – the state of Missouri, the people of Missouri, the churches of Missouri, the culture of Missouri – everything about and every person in Missouri matters a great deal to God. “Missouri Matters” so much to God that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for us – for Missouri. “Missouri Matters” so much to God that He raised His Son from the dead, thereby providing for the everlasting life of everyone in Missouri who will believe in the Gospel and make Jesus Christ Lord of their lives. “Missouri Matters” to God.
“Missouri Matters” to God and to the people of God called Missouri Baptists. That last sentence is a phrase you will hear on every segment of the 2007 MMO promotional DVD. The voice of MMO this year is John Francis, worship specialist for your Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). Likely, you have already received the promotional packet. Look in your church office or look through the mail again. If you don’t find the packet, call 800.736.6227 extension #207. Karen Howell will be quick to send you another one. When you receive the packet, look at the abundance of promotional materials and resources inside. There are bulletin inserts including a history of the MMO, a current MMO budget, sermon helps, resources for children, even some fun trivia about the annual Missouri Missions Offering. And there is that DVD – if you need a VCR video tape, just call us, we will get it to you quickly. I hope that every Missouri Baptist Church will utilize the resources and participate in MMO this year. There are ten different segments on the video – ten vignettes relating to various MBC ministries funded by the Missouri Missions Offering. Watch the video and you will see Missouri Baptists and Missouri Baptist dollars at work in multi-cultural and in multi-housing ministries, you will see and hear about Missouri Baptist student ministries, partnership missions, associational partnerships, disaster relief. You will see Missouri Baptists involved in small church assistance, and in how that you are helping children in crisis through the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home. But the phrase, repeated by John Francis in every video segment is that “…Missouri matters to God and to the people of God called Missouri Baptists.”
But, is it really true that “Missouri Matters” to God and to the people of God called Missouri Baptists? We obviously know with certainty that “Missouri Matters” to God. But what about the people of God called Missouri Baptists? Does the lostness of our state really matter to us? Does it matter to you that some of your friends and neighbors, co-workers, for some of us even family members, are lost without Christ and heading toward an eternity separated from God in a place called hell? Does that really matter? Does it matter to you that the morals of our state are going downhill year after year? Does it matter that families in Missouri are falling apart everyday? Does it really matter to any of us that many of our Missouri Baptists churches are not effectively reaching the Show-Me state? Does it matter to us that, as a convention of churches, we are winning fewer to Christ than we did in years gone by. Does it matter to us that there are fewer people attending our churches today that were attending in the 1960s? “Missouri Matters” to God and, I pray, to the people of God called Missouri Baptists.
Several years ago, I read that the old Standard Oil Company tried to hire a missionary to China. They wanted him to head up their operations in China. The oil company offered the missionary an enormous amount of money. But he quickly turned them down. Immediately the oil company doubled the already exorbitant salary. But the missionary turned them down again. Finally, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Standard Oil Company personally visited the missionary in China. The CEO gave the missionary a blank check. “Anything you want “, he said. Graciously the missionary replied, “Sir, you don’t understand. It’s not that the money is too small. The job is too small.”
Missouri Baptists have a big job in front of us. We have been commissioned to reach Missouri and the world for Jesus Christ. Will we do it? Are you aware that, although Coca-Cola has been around for only 80 years, 97% of the world has heard of Coca-Cola? 72% of the world has seen a can of Coke? 51% of the world has actually tasted Coca-Cola. If God had given the task of evangelism to the Coke company, it would likely be done by now.
One of the statements you will hear on the new MMO promotional video is this important truth: “Missouri has long been known as the Show-Me state.” The phrase means that Missouri people don’t just talk about what we might do. We actually do it. And, as Missouri Baptists, we don’t just talk about missions and evangelism; we actually do missions and evangelism.” Missouri is the Show-Me state. And I am praying that every Missouri Baptist church will participate and that many Missouri Baptists will give generously to “hometown” missions and evangelism through the Rheubin L. South Missouri Missions Offering because “Missouri Matters” to God and, I pray, to the people of God called Missouri Baptists!
“…Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning in…Missouri!”