As I was thinking about the Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions, I went to the resources at www.IMB.org. There I saw a story that reminded me of the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando.
There, I saw the International Mission Board’s (IMB) display booth. The display’s central graphic component was a large wall of the world with tan stickers bearing the names of people groups with less than 2 percent evangelicals.
Behind the tan stickers were faces representing each of the people groups on the wall. Those who visited the booth were challenged to pick a sticker and to pray for the unreached people group.
Many of the people groups represented by this display did not have access to Bibles. They had no churches. There were no missionaries working among them.
When we served in Oklahoma, my wife, Sharon, worked part-time for the state evangelism team. One of her co-workers was Suzanne Lillard, the associate director of Baptist Collegiate Ministries. Suzanne is the person you want praying for you when you are taking a journey through a valley in life or when you want someone to covenant with you to claim a soul for Christ.
From the context of her education background, when Suzanne saw the display, she said that the map and the stickers help students understand the lostness of the world. Students want to put their hands on something tangible and real to help them relate to the prayer need. “This generation needs to feel like, ‘I’m doing something that’s going to impact the world,’” Suzanne said. “The more individually connected a student can get, the better it is for them.” Suzanne is a state missionary challenging young adults to reach the world.
I’ve learned enough about life to know that older, mature adults are no different than the students. We just have older skin. We too want to impact the world and create a legacy for the cause of Christ that makes Him famous throughout the world. Sometimes we need a map with stickers to help us grasp just how lost this world is. Such a model places in our hands and our hearts the name of a specific group that needs Christ.
IMB spokesman, Ed Cox says that people attending the Orlando convention claimed every sticker representing one of the 6,426 unreached people groups. Someone is praying for those lost souls.
However, to reach the group, someone must develop a strategy and begin working with the people group. That means that Cooperative Program support from Southern Baptist churches and Lottie Moon giving are essential.
Missouri Baptists, we can do this. We can pray but we must also learn to give by faith and teach generations how to cooperate with God in our offerings that support our missionaries. The normal method of “tipping” God with mission giving through our local churches is significantly less than God’s best for Missouri Baptists. What happened to our asking God for the amount the Lord wants us to give beyond our tithe directly to International Missions through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering?
We can do this! The walk of faith is much more simple than what some imply. Pray for a people group without Christ or without access to the gospel. Then ask the Lord to prompt you with an amount to give this year to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Be careful what you pray because the Lord loves you enough to stretch your faith. Obey Him and watch God do something special through your faith.
JOHN YEATS / MBC Executive Director