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Mission:Dignity: Pastor rallies church’s giving

June 23 is Mission:Dignity Sunday in the Southern Baptist Convention.

YORKTOWN, Va. (BP) — Bethel Baptist Church in Yorktown, Va., has long been missions-oriented, but a trip to the Southern Baptist Convention put Mission:Dignity on their radar.

With a 179-year history of serving one of Virginia’s most historic areas, Bethel Baptist’s 700-plus members come from all walks of life. Many serve at nearby military outposts like Langley Air Force Base and the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center. Bethel also partners with the SBC of Virginia convention in serving the needs of churches across Virginia.

Upon hearing about Mission:Dignity from O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources, at the 2017 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix, BBC pastor Doug Echols made a commitment to support retired Southern Baptist ministers, workers and their widows in financial need.

To get the church involved, he immediately ordered materials when he returned to Yorktown.

The stories on Mission:Dignity videos shown at the SBC prompted Echols to realize he was blessed to serve in a church that could provide a comfortable salary and benefits. He was convinced that Bethel needed to be involved in giving back.

In its first year assisting Mission:Dignity, Bethel Baptist collected more than $10,000.

“I was overwhelmed by the response of our people,” Echols said. “We simply share the videos that are provided and try to tell the stories of how the offering is benefiting retired pastors. We do not set a church goal for this offering. We just ask our people to give sacrificially, and they have responded.”

The church has a large senior adult population who can relate to living on a fixed income, Echols noted. The Mission:Dignity stories have resonated with many of BBC’s senior adults and inspired them to give.

“We have seen people really get behind the Mission:Dignity emphasis,” he said. “We have people that give once a year and others that have made this a part of their regular giving. I believe that showing the videos and telling the stories have made the greatest impact on our people.”

This year, Mission:Dignity Sunday is June 23. GuideStone provides promotional posters, flyers and videos available to download for free at MDSunday.org. Crowdfunding opportunities also are available to pick a fundraising goal for a church, Sunday School class or Bible study and give together for Mission:Dignity.

Churches may hold their Mission:Dignity Sunday at any time during the year. All materials are undated to allow for flexibility in timing. Every dollar given goes directly to retired ministers, workers and their widows thanks to an endowment that covers all administrative costs.

Follow @MissionDignity on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) for up-to-date information and testimonies of people assisted by Mission:Dignity.

Individuals wishing to donate or refer potential recipients can do so through MissionDignity.org. In addition, all proceeds of the sale of Hawkins’ “Code” books go to support the ministry. Visit oshawkins.com/books for more information.

    About the Author

  • Susan Ervien

    Susan Ervien is a marketing strategist for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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