Missouri churches cited for Lottie Moon giving
By Brian Koonce
RICHMOND, Va. – The International Mission Board (IMB) recently recognized 331 Missouri Baptist churches for exceptionally high per capita gifts to the 2007 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.
Seventeen Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) churches gave $100 or more per person based on their average Sunday morning attendance to last year’s offering.
The people of Prairie Hill Baptist in Washburn gave the highest per capita Lottie Moon offering, giving $348.60 per person. Prairie Hill and the other 16 churches in that category received the IMB’s Manchuria Award, named after Moon’s mission field.
Fellowship Baptist in Joplin is another of the Manchuria Award winners, a result of a hands-on attitude towards Lottie Moon and missions in general, their pastor, Steve Grace, said.
“Our people have really gotten up close and personal with their involvement in missions overseas, nationwide, statewide and locally,” he said.
That attitude has led the church to not only give during the Christmas season, but they have also added Lottie Moon to their monthly budget along with the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. Plus, the church has sent out a missionary and has a direct relationship with a missionary in India.
“That relationship creates a desire to want to give,” Grace said. “It’s in our heart to give, but we want to do all the glory to God.”
Receiving the Ping’tu Award were 21 MBC churches which gave between $75-$100 per person. Fifty-five churches had $50-$75 per capita giving, earning them the Tingchow Award. These two areas were significant as Moon began her ministry in China.
A total of 238 MBC churches received the Cartersville Award, giving between $25 and $50 per person. Cartersville Baptist Church in Cartersville, Ga., is where Lottie Moon accepted God’s call to missions.
Billy Hoffman, director of development for the IMB, praised the MBC churches for their above average gifts.
“Just as Lottie’s home church supported her, your generous giving provides support for over 5,300 Southern Baptist missionaries who labor for the harvest in places you may never see but will have a part in changing (for all) eternity,” he said.
This year the Week of Prayer for international missions is Nov. 30-Dec. 7 and International Mission Board leaders are asking Missouri Baptists to mobilize in personalized prayer for the missionaries serving in countries located in South America – and to pray for the peoples they seek to reach. IMB leaders also hope Missouri Baptists will join them in informing Southern Baptists about the Lottie Moom Christmas Offering national goal of $170 million and about the critical support Lottie Moom provides for more than 5,300 missionaries serving around the world.