RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Southern Baptists have set another record by giving more than $105 million to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.
“Once again God has proved himself faithful through Southern Baptists in providing the resources needed to continue our missions advance through the Lottie Moon Offering and Cooperative Program,” said International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin.
“This record level of giving will help provide support and funds for ministry as our missionaries share the gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost world,” Rankin said.
The new executive director of the SBC’s Woman’s Missionary Union praised WMU members and pastors for challenging their churches to give sacrificially to international missions.
“It is a great testimony to the dedication WMU members have to promoting and encouraging their church families to support the offering,” said Wanda Lee. “We owe a great debt to the women and children who give their time and efforts to promoting the offering.
“We also owe a great debt to pastors who promote the offering before their congregations. They are key to the success of offering promotion in any congregation.”
The total for the 1999 offering, which closed May 31, was $105,443,786.95, the largest offering ever received and an increase of $3,730,720.26 or 3.67 percent over the previous year.
It was the seventh consecutive year of record receipts and an increase of 31.48 percent over the past decade.
Of the offering’s $125 million goal, the board had budgeted $105 million for overseas operations and $5 million for field capital needs. The remaining $15 million was approved as a challenge budget.
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is generally collected in Southern Baptist churches during December of each year. Every dollar received goes to support the board’s mission work overseas, funding nearly half the agency’s budget. The rest of the board’s financial support comes from Southern Baptists’ unified giving plan — the Cooperative Program — and other income, such as investments and hunger and relief receipts.
The offering is named for Charlotte Digges Moon, a devoted Southern Baptist missionary who served in China for 39 years. Her impassioned pleas for help in evangelizing China resulted in the annual missions offering being established.
The first offering was taken in 1888, with a goal of $2,000 — enough to send two other missionaries to help Moon in China. The total collection exceeded $3,000, enough to send three women.
Today, the Christmas offering helps support nearly 5,000 Southern Baptist missionaries in their work overseas. With a growing number of missionaries each year comes the need for increased giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
The goal for Christmas 2000 is $115 million, which will require an increase of 9.06 percent over 1999.