MBC pursues Lottie Moon goal of $4 million
JEFFERSON CITY – In September of 1887, missionary Lottie Moon wrote these words in her diary: “How many there are who imagine that because Jesus paid it all, they need pay nothing, forgetting that the prime object of their salvation was that they should follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ in bringing back a lost world to God.”
Her words sent shockwaves of the Gospel across China and still ripple across oceans and 120 years to plead with Southern Baptists across the nation and Missouri to give to the annual foreign missions offering that bears her name.
Each December since 1888, Southern Baptist churches have collected 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.
David Tolliver, interim executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), said the annual Christmas offering has taken on a new significance in recent years.
“The greatest source of funding for our IMB is Lottie Moon,” he said. “I encourage everyone to pray and give as the Lord leads. I’m convinced the Lord will lead them to give generously.”
Lottie Moon Christmas Offering funds represent 53 percent of the IMB’s budget, the rest coming from the Cooperative Program and other gifts.
The MBC has set a statewide goal of $4 million. As of Nov. 30, 175 Missouri Baptist churches had registered their individual goals with the IMB. Their stated goal was $1,106,906. If just one third of the 1,984 churches in the MBC followed that pace, the $4 million mark would be met. That’s less than $8 per Missouri Baptist. Last year, churches in Missouri gave $3,244,655.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s nationwide goal is $165 million, the same as last year’s. The 2006 offering brought in just over $150 million.
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 what would become 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.