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Hispanic church demonstrates sacrificial missions giving


RICHMOND, VA (BP)–As more and more Hispanic churches declare a passion for overseas missions, some congregations are matching their words with sacrificial giving.

Central Baptist Church, a Hispanic congregation in Greenacres, Fla., posted a greater than 10-fold increase in their 2004 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

With about 90 members, the church gave more than $15,000 for international missions, up from the previous year’s $1,200.

Members of the congregation increased the goal after Alvarez challenged them to examine their spending and pray about how much God would have them give to the offering.

“They realized how much they gave for Christmas gifts, and they decided they needed to change their priorities,” Alvarez said.

“[The congregation] realizes the importance of sacrificial giving. We feel we can change the lives of people by a giving heart.”

One man at the church subtracted his Lottie Moon Christmas Offering from his meager earnings as an ice cream truck driver, the pastor said, noting, “We’re talking about someone who works with pennies and quarters.”

Alvarez and other church leaders attended a conference to learn more about missions and how they can impact their world for Christ at the International Mission Board’s Missionary Learning Center in Virginia in January.

Central Baptist’s sacrificial giving and passion for missions do not surprise Billy Hoffman, director of development for the International Mission Board.

“There is an emerging interest from ethnic churches in supporting international missions,” Hoffman said.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the growing number of opportunities ethnic churches have with missions,” he added. “And many of these churches are taking more ownership of their involvement with the offering.”

This type of commitment takes both passion and leadership, said Jason Carlisle, the IMB’s director of Hispanic church strategies.

“First, the people have to be burdened for the lost or no one is going to give up their comfort,” Carlisle said. “And the pastor [at Central Baptist Church] has given them a constant vision of global responsibility.

“I think there is a sense of this being the time for Hispanics to take a serious role in world missions,” he said.

Even a small church collecting “pennies and quarters” can make a difference with missions, Alvarez said.

“We must believe that God can really provide.”
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For more information about Hispanic missions opportunities, contact Jason Carlisle at 1-800-999-3113, ext. 1725, or go to http://hispanos.imb.org/. To learn more about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, visit http://ime.imb.org.

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  • Shawn Hendricks