RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–The International Mission Board has recognized the 100 Southern Baptist churches that gave the largest gifts to the 2000 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.
That $113.1 million ingathering, named after the venerable missionary who gave her life taking the gospel to the Chinese people, pushed the cumulative total for the 113-year-old offering past $2 billion.
“Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering meet critical needs overseas,” said IMB President Jerry Rankin. “It means being able to keep pressing forward with the unprecedented opportunities to reach a lost world and continue to appoint record numbers of new missionaries.
“Without the financial commitment of Southern Baptist churches, our efforts to lead Southern Baptists to share the gospel with all peoples of the world would never come close to meeting the need.”
Rankin thanked the churches for giving sacrificially and challenged them to “keep measuring your gifts not in comparison to the year before, but relative to what is needed to fulfill the Great Commission.”
The leading congregation in total dollar giving for the 2000 offering was Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C. That congregation’s $399,064.91 gift surpassed the next largest gift by more than $124,000. The 10th ranked church, Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta, gave $186,077.99.
The top 10 churches gave almost $2.4 million to the offering, just over 2.4 percent of the total, noted Billy Hoffman, the IMB’s director of development. The top 100 churches gave a total of $11.5 million, or 10.1 percent of the total.
The ranking was based on information received from state conventions, Hoffman said. Next year the board also plans to compile a list of church gifts compared to resident membership, so the sacrificial example set by more than 40,000 smaller congregations can be recognized as well.
“While these 100 congregations have given a very substantial portion of the total offering, it’s still important to note that almost 90 percent of the offering comes from congregations faithfully giving smaller gifts,” Hoffman said. “This offering couldn’t succeed without the thousands of churches committed to the missionaries it supports.”
Many churches still are in the process of promoting and receiving the 2001 Lottie Moon Offering, which has a goal of $120 million. Every penny received will go to support the board’s 5,100 missionaries and their ministries.
In 2000, those missionaries witnessed the baptism of more than 451,000 new believers and the birth of more than 6,500 churches.
The top 100 churches received a letter of appreciation from Rankin and a commemorative plaque with a medallion indicating the year of award. There is room on the plaque for 10 medallions.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: OFFERING RESULTS.