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Churches of all sizes honored for sacrificial Lottie Moon Christmas Offering mission gifts

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–As Southern Baptist churches set their sights on a record $150 million goal for their Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, two groups of churches have been recognized for the sacrificial passion reflected in their gifts to the 2003 offering.

In addition to the 100 top-dollar givers, the International Mission Board has for the first time also recognized the churches that gave the most per member.

IMB President Jerry Rankin said last year’s impressive response to the offering shows that missions is a high priority to Southern Baptist churches of all sizes.

“We are grateful for the impressive offerings of many of our larger churches,” Rankin said. “But it was an emotional experience to receive testimonies from many smaller congregations that went above and beyond what they had ever given before or would envision being a possibility.”

Southern Baptists responded last year by giving a record $136,204,648. That total was an increase of almost $21.2 million — 18.4 percent — over the year before when churches fell $10 million short of their goal.

The 189 churches that made up the two top 100 lists — 11 of them were on both lists — contributed more than $15.3 million, 12.2 percent of the offering’s total amount.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Billy Hoffman, the board’s director of development. “It’s not about being a big church, but it’s about churches getting a passion for missions and giving to missions.

“Jesus said, ‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,'” he added. “These churches have a true heart for missions. We are thankful to Southern Baptists for partnering with us to take Christ to the ends of the earth — we could not do it without them.”

As Southern Baptists have begun collecting their Lottie Moon Offering for this year, their missionaries are looking to them again to support the amazing number of new workers God has been calling to overseas service.

“Southern Baptist missions is faith missions,” Hoffman said. “We trust God will speak to the hearts of Southern Baptists to sacrifice and give generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.”

Last year, there were about 10,000 Southern Baptist churches that didn’t participate in the offering. Hoffman hopes the smaller churches that have set a tremendous example in their giving will encourage other congregations to participate this year.

“These smaller churches helped release missionaries so they could go to the field,” he said. “They can contact friends at other churches and say, ‘Our church made a difference, so can yours.'”

The following is based on offering results that were turned into state conventions by Dec. 31, 2003. Any amount that was turned in after that date will be included in the following year’s results.


First Baptist Church in St. Joseph, Mo., topped the per capita list by collecting $341,368.35. With 374 members, that amount averages out to $912.75 per member. They were the only church to crack the top 10 on both lists.

Bettendorf Mission Baptist Church in Bettendorf, Iowa, made the top five list with only three members, collecting a total of $1,180. That amount averages out to $393.33 per member. Other churches included in the top five were Peninsula Baptist Church in Grove, Calif., $6,000, with 16 members; Peace Haven Baptist Church in Wikesboro, N.C., $3,020.77, with nine members; West Kemper Baptist Church in Kemper, Miss., $12,000, with 36 members.


In 2002, five of the top 10 churches passed the $300,000 mark, but last year, nine of the top 10 churches exceeded that amount. The top five churches in total-dollar contributions gave more than $2.4 million.

Calvary Baptist Church in Winston Salem, N.C., sits at the top of that list after collecting $763,403.27. With about 5,000 members, the church also earned a spot on the top 100 per capita list. Their gift breaks down to an average of $153.08 per member.

The four other churches that made the top five were First Baptist Church Rogers in Rogers, Ark., $515,328.77; First Baptist Church in Fort Smith, Ark., $474,084.89; Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, $377,600; and Concord First Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., $344,170.23.

Though the total amount wasn’t collected until after the Dec. 31 deadline, First Baptist Church of Dallas was the first church to give more than $1.16 million to the offering. It was the largest sum given by a church to Southern Baptist overseas missions. Their end-of-year results rounded out the top 10 with $290,312.24.

Churches who made the top 100 lists for the first time were given a plaque and medallion in recognition of their gift. Those churches that have made the list in previous years received a 2003 medallion to add to their plaque.

Through Southern Baptists’ continued support, more missionaries will be able to reach a lost world, and those already on the field will be able to continue sharing the Gospel.

“We have been able to remove restrictions on missionary appointments, and currently more than 3,000 candidates are in the appointment process,” Rankin said. “We must sustain last year’s level of generous and sacrificial giving to the Lottie Moon Offering that those being called out of our churches can be obedient to go.”

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  • Shawn Hendricks