JEFFERSON CITY – Imagine providing rape survivors with clean clothes, hygiene kits, and teddy bears. Or creating a “farm system” for bi-vocational ministers and spouses to serve as licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Or connecting local churches with partnering congregations in the Americas and Europe.
Missouri Baptists can engage in these ministries – and more – as they give to the Rheubin L. South Missouri Missions Offering (MMO).
Next week, the Missouri Baptist Convention is mailing packets of promotional materials to church leaders across the state to help them prepare for the 2021 state missions offering. The packets should arrive early in July, giving church leaders ample time to prepare for MMO’s fall promotion and week of prayer, slated for Sept. 12-19.
The theme of this year’s offering is drawn from 2 Corinthians 8:5. Paul praises the churches of Macedonia for begging to be included in a collection for suffering saints in Jerusalem. And he appeals to believers in Corinth to follow through on their commitment to do the same.
Concerning the Macedonians, Paul writes, “They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us by God’s will.”
Reflecting on this passage, MBC Executive Director John Yeats notes, “What a privilege Missouri Baptists have to contribute to God’s work of grace in the hearts of people across our state. When we give back to Him a portion of His abundance through MMO, we are investing in the transformation of lives and communities with the gospel all across Missouri.”
Last year, 733 Missouri Baptist churches supported MMO, down slightly from the previous year. Yeats expressed his hope that the number of participating churches tops 800 this year: “If your church hasn’t been taking up an MMO offering, please review the promotional resources arriving soon and bless your people with an opportunity to give willingly to the Lord’s work across our state.”
The statewide goal this year is $725,000. Last year, Missouri Baptists refused to let Covid-19 slow their passion for missions. Despite the challenges of sheltering in place, virtual worship services, social distancing, and the temporary banishment of the offering plate, Missouri Baptists exceeded the goal for MMO, contributing $736,628. Further, it marked the eighth straight year of MMO giving above $700,000.
Supporting missions projects
MMO is our state’s annual missions offering, named after Rheubin L. South, the late MBC executive director who pioneered the annual giving emphasis that today supports projects in four areas of ministry:
(1) Making disciples – sports evangelism; VBS ministry training and resource development; youth evangelism and missions; certified nursing assistant healthcare training; and the state fair ministry of the Missouri DOM Fellowship.
(2) Collegiate ministries – summer missions mentoring initiative; creation of an LPN “farm system” through Baptist Homes; Hannibal-LaGrange’s “Freedom on the Inside” prison ministry; a worldview workshop for Missouri high school students; sexual assault care packages; a technical school initiative; and collegiate ministry networks.
(3) Multiplying churches – next-step requests for church multipliers; partnership missions in Mexico, Italy, Minnesota/Wisconsin, and Montana; and strategic missionary development.
(4) Developing leaders – disaster relief equipment and volunteer readiness; Missouri WMU; church leader development; new pastors’ conference and revitalization pastors’ conference; Missouri Baptist Resound Network; collegiate disaster relief; hunger relief; and Baptist Builders / volunteer mobilization.
In addition, 17 percent of MMO receipts go to the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, which provides spiritual guidance, counseling, and a safe haven from abuse and neglect at five state campuses.
And 10 percent of MMO gifts go back to the associations of contributing churches, where the funds support regional mission projects.
The promotional packets feature a getting-started guide, posters, prayer guide, allocations budget, associational report, clip art, sample giving envelope, and an order card.
Most of these resources are available as free downloads at mobaptist.org/mmo. The move toward electronic resources enables the MBC to significantly reduce postage fees and invest more in MMO mission projects.
“We encourage you to set a faith goal for your church and use the promotional resources to show how the Lord uses even the smallest gift to do great things,” said Yeats.
There are four simple ways to order MMO materials:
• Complete the order card in the promotional mailer and send it back. All materials are free of charge.
• Click on mobaptist.org/mmo to download materials or to place an order electronically.
• Call 1.800.736.6227, ext. 303, to tell us which resources to send.
•Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.