EDITOR’S NOTE: Mission:Dignity Sunday is June 26 on the Southern Baptist Convention calendar, in support of GuideStone Financial Resources’ program to assist needy retired ministers and widows of ministers.
DALLAS (BP)–First Baptist Church in West Carrollton has plenty of reasons for giving to Mission:Dignity.
They enjoy caring for others.
They like to hear how their Mission:Dignity gifts are helping aged pastors and widows.
They have gained a greater sense of responsibility for their own members in need.
But one reason stands above the rest: “Most important to me is that it has a biblical basis,” pastor Mark Scroggins said.
Scroggins has served the Ohio congregation for 35 years and has been the senior pastor since 1981. For the last 26 years, First Baptist — which has a weekly worship attendance of 125 and is part of the Greater Dayton Association of Baptists — has included Mission:Dignity in its annual budget.
First Baptist started with a $50 monthly gift and now is allocating $200 to underwrite the assistance for one widow through Mission:Dignity, a program of GuideStone Financial Resources. The church has have given more than $42,000 to Mission:Dignity and is the fifth longest-giving congregation in the country.
“This is something we are called to do as God’s people.” Scroggins noted. “James says that pure religion is the kind that actually does something for widows and orphans in need.”
Citing the Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy, Scroggins continued, “We have a particular responsibility to those Paul calls ‘widows indeed.’ And not only to them but to couples, too. These people have given themselves in selfless ways in churches that could only eke by and pay very little. We’re delighted to have a part in caring for them.”
Scroggins keeps the Mission:Dignity message in front of First Baptist members as much as possible. “The monthly letters we receive are excellent,” he said. “We also get the Mission:Dignity Sunday materials each year and show the DVD during our offering time to remind our people that a portion of our budget goes to help others in need.”
The church has both a local and national focus in its benevolence. “Mission:Dignity doesn’t excuse a church from taking care of its own,” Scroggins observed. “We still do that. But it has opened the door wider for us, going beyond our local needs to the Kingdom. We’re all in this together.”
Asked how the church has grown in its giving during a period of nationwide recession, Scroggins said, “Even in a tight budget, we’ve remained committed. Just because things are tight doesn’t mean you back off it.”
First Baptist gives generously to a variety of SBC missions and ministry opportunities. “Anytime you can fulfill a biblical mandate without starting a ministry yourself, it’s fantastic,” Scroggins said. “We do it through the Cooperative Program, the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings [for international and North American missions, respectively] and also through Mission:Dignity. People can give out of hearts of compassion and concern and know where their money is going.”
For First Baptist West Carrollton, their hearts of compassion and concern are rooted in following God’s Word.
“When we first heard about Mission:Dignity and the people it was helping, we said this is biblical and we need to do something about it,” Scroggins said. “It’s the right thing to do, so let’s do it.”
John Ambra, as director of development for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, leads its Mission:Dignity ministry. To order free bulletin inserts and a DVD for use in worship services, Sunday School departments or mission-oriented organizations in conjunction with Mission:Dignity Sunday, visit www.MissionDignitySBC.org/ORDER or call 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433).