RICHMOND, Va. (BP) – In efforts to promote a “movement of generosity among those who support the International Mission Board,” the IMB has developed unique ways to facilitate giving, said Chris Kennedy, IMB’s chief advancement officer.
“We want to provide avenues for young and old, gifts small and large. We simply want everybody to have the opportunity to exercise the grace God has entrusted them generously,” Kennedy said.
The new giving avenues are in direct support of one IMB’s 2025 Targets: “Increase giving to the IMB by 6 percent annually.” Seeing this final target become a reality makes reaching all of the other targets possible.
Kennedy explained that the 6 percent increase isn’t simply a goal to hit one year and maintain the next. Ideally, for ministry to continue to the ends of the earth, the 6 percent increase in giving would need to happen annually. This is a challenge to individuals and to churches to intentionally increase their giving every year.
“Here is what each of us longs to see: the world transformed by the Gospel, by the name of Jesus being proclaimed in every corner of the earth,” IMB President Paul Chitwood said in his report to messengers at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting. “Let us be united for the sake of this cause.”
He continued: “Will Southern Baptists be Great Commission Baptists? That depends on you and me. We can bring help and hope to a hurting world but only if we are willing to do it together.”
Echoing Chitwood, Kennedy said, “There’s a need for churches to reconnect their members with an understanding of giving as an extension of their worship. There’s no greater end than that of every person in the world having access to this same worship.
“Church members have a responsibility to steward the grace that they’ve been entrusted on behalf of the multitudes without the Gospel.”
Several global realities make increased giving necessary – inflation as well urbanization and the high cost of living in cities.
One new way the IMB has built to facilitate giving is through the 7:9 Community. This community works like similar subscription services. Each month, contributors commit to give to the IMB. In return, they receive first access to event registration, discounts to the IMB’s online store, and other exclusive communication from the IMB.
Monthly gifts can be in any amount. Every penny of the gifts to the 7:9 Community goes directly to support IMB missionaries overseas.
“The 7:9 Community is for those making a statement that missions, for them, is a 365-day endeavor and something they’re doing with a community of others,” Kennedy said.
Chitwood said to those who choose to be a part of the 7:9 Community, “Your monthly commitment helps transform lives around the world 365 days a year. 100% of every dollar you give directly supports ministry overseas, and every gift, of any amount, gives help and hope to those who need it most.”
Creative ways to give
While traditional giving through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is the highest priority, other giving platforms are being developed, in addition to the 7:9 Community.
One of the newest methods is the donation of business interests. When individuals sell a vested interest in a business, they can now structure it in a way that they can make a charitable gift to the IMB and reduce their income tax.
Additionally, the IMB can now receive any tangible good. This means that old jewelry, fur coats, and even cars can be turned into missions dollars for the work of reaching the vision in Revelation 7:9.
Crowdfunding is another way individuals can “inspire others toward generosity,” Kennedy said.
This crowdfunding can take the form of “Little Lulu’s Lemonade Stand” for missions, where people can give credit card donations directly to the IMB. Memorial pages for deceased loved ones are another avenue of giving to support the advancement of the Great Commission.
Profile pages for churches are another giving avenue. An individual can make a gift and name his or her church as part of the gift. Their church will receive notice of anonymous gifts that are being given directly toward IMB, so the church can count that toward its offering.
Even IMB missionaries who are already “making sacrifices at the ends of the earth” are giving sacrificially, Kennedy said.
“Generosity is woven into the fabric of who we are as an organization,” he said. “Right now, we are seeing over a million dollars a month being committed by our current and former field personnel as a part of their estate gifts.
“That’s an incredible statement of generosity. They’re choosing to make a statement with the financial resources they’ve been entrusted for how important this work is.”
To find out more about how individuals and churches can be involved in seeing the Gospel reach the ends of the earth, visit IMB.org/generosity. Campaigns for specific giving funds are available through this link as well.