How Important is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions?

(THIS IS AN UPDATED AND CORRECTED POST)

How Important is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions?

Someone asked me that question a few days ago so I thought I would try and put in perspective the importance and value of this annual offering we take this time of the year.  Last year Grace Baptist Church gave $13,075 to the LMCO.  Every penny of this went to the mission field.  It went to buy specific things that the missionaries need to minister in a foreign country.  Many of them, like people we know, minister in lands that are not friendly to the Gospel

Most Baptists are people who believe in international, as well as home missions.  We are very conscious that our Lord gave His commission to the church to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  At Grace we not only give to mission offerings but we personally are committed to taking the Gospel, not just sending others.  Thus we have adopted the  Chancay River Valley in the Andes Mountains of Peru and we expend money, in addition to LMCO and Cooperative Program, to reach these people with the Gospel.

The importance, indeed the urgency, of the LMCO becomes even more apparent when you realize just how little of our Cooperative Program money gets to the International Mission Board.  And of that which does get there a significant portion goes to administration stateside.  But ALL of the LMCO goes to the international field.

So you may ask, how much of our CP dollars actually get to the International Mission Board (IMB)?  This year we will give about $68,762 to the Cooperative Program.  It is sent to the Kentucky Baptist Convention in Louisville where it is split with the Southern Baptist Convention.  The KBC keeps 63% of our money and sends 37% on to the SBC.  That means $43,320.06 stays in Kentucky and $$25,441.94 goes to Nashville.  There the budget for the SBC is administered.  The IMB gets 50% of the SBC budget. So that means that 50% of our $25,441.94 goes to the IMB.  That is a total of $12,720.97.

The LMCO gives us a chance to more than double the money we send throughout the year to reach the nations with the Gospel.

This past summer at the annual meeting of the SBC, President Johnny Hunt appointed a Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.  They are charged with examining how we are spending our money as Southern Baptists and how we can get more to actually go to missions.  In my humble opinion, it is about time!!  We have some bureaucracies that will rival the Federal government for waste and inefficiency.

Don’t get me wrong . . . I love the Southern Baptist Convention.  I believe that we do missions better than most.  I believe we have a good system in place for doing missions in the Cooperative Program.  But I do think we need to do a better job.

So you see the LMCO is indeed very, very important in the cause of International missions.  So as we come to this time of year, and the standard Baptist joke is, “Are we ever going to pay Lottie Moon off?”  The answer is . . . Not until Christ returns or the nations are reached with the Gospel.  Pray and give above your tithe this Christmas season, that the nations may hear about our Lord Jesus Christ.

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2 Responses

  1. Bill… excellent points and well made. The more people in the pew realize some of the points you made, the more of an outcry there will be for reform within the convention. You are right about the bureaucracy on the state and national level (Shhh! That’s not supposed to get out!), but alas… maybe the GCR will come with some decent recommendations.

    Blessings

  2. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your post and for your church’s great support of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. I was saved through the ministry of an International Mission Board missionary on the island of Okinawa and am a great supporter of Lottie Moon as well.

    I’m also a great supporter of the Cooperative Program. Because of the foundational support of CP, which covers IMB’s administrative costs, 100 percent of our Lottie Moon gifts are able to go to the mission field. This is a tremendous blessing!

    The only part of your post I didn’t really agree with was the part about inefficient bureaucracies in Southern Baptist life. I keep hearing people say this but I never hear anyone pointing to anything specific. I don’t have experience with every Baptist organization, of course, but I do have the privilege of serving the Kentucky Baptist Convention and my experience there has been just the opposite.

    I can attest that you won’t meet anywhere a more hardworking or committed staff of Christians who have a strong passion for the Great Commission. These are folks who are working many hours each week in either direct ministries or in ministries that help to strengthen churches so that they can be effective in their own local ministries and be strong supporters of SBC causes.

    Discussing the division of CP resources is a completely legitimate and important process but as we do so, please keep in mind that, at least here in the KBC, we are working with fewer dollars than in the past – not more. In the nearly 12 years that I have been with the convention, Cooperative Program giving has never matched the inflation rate and we have seen the average percentage of undesignated giving from the churches to the Cooperative Program decline from 9.3 percent in 1998 to just under 7 percent last year. Despite this, the Convention has moved to increase the percentage it sends to the SBC each year for the past several years.

    And this year, due to the downturn in the economy, the Kentucky Baptist Mission Board is working on a spendable budget that is less than the budget approved by messengers to the annual meeting. The number of staff has also been reduced during the past 10 years and, again due to the recession, we have some positions that are going unfilled right now.

    In Kentucky, CP gifts through the churches are basically divided three ways. The largest piece of the pie (just over 37 percent) goes to the SBC followed by a slightly smaller slice (36.5 percent) that goes to the Kentucky Baptist Mission Board for its work. Then the smallest piece of the pie (26.4 percent) goes to Christian education and KBC entities such as our children’s ministries, camps, foundation, etc.
    In addition to supporting SBC mission causes through the CP, Kentucky churches are also supporting the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board through the special offerings. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering from Kentucky was more than $4 million this past year and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering was almost $2 million which effectively doubles what the SBC mission boards receive from Kentucky churches.

    Every state convention, seminary, national SBC entity, church and individual Christian should always be looking for better ways to serve and to adapt to the missions and ministry needs of the times. I’m grateful to be a part of a state convention and national convention that is willing and even eager to examine itself and do just that.

    Thanks for your ministry and for the opportunity to respond!

    For more on the allocations in the KBC buget, check out the following links:

    http://www.greatcommissionkentucky.com/2009/07/kentucky-cp-giving-part-of-the-story/

    http://www.greatcommissionkentucky.com/2009/07/kentucky-cp-giving-more-of-the-story/

    http://www.greatcommissionkentucky.com/2009/07/kentucky-cp-giving-the-rest-of-the-story/

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