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Missions: It takes a lot of faith

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, with a goal of $170 million in gifts through Southern Baptist churches, will support the ministry of more than 5,300 missionaries worldwide appointed by the International Mission Board.

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Missionaries who raise their own support are often called “faith” missionaries in contrast with those sent out by denominational entities such as the International Mission Board, which provides support and benefits.

However, the IMB does not generate income to support the more than 5,500 missionaries overseas receiving financial support. We are totally dependent on the gifts of Southern Baptists.

It takes faith to believe God will provide $170 million through a once-a-year missions offering named after a 19th-century missionary. It takes faith to trust Southern Baptists to have a mission heart and allocate a percentage of their church gifts to the Cooperative Program.

Last year the IMB sent out 841 new missionaries — none were delayed in leaving for their field of assignment because they couldn’t raise funds. They followed God’s will, confident God would provide for their needs through our churches.

Earlier this year I had the privilege of meeting three young missionaries on our Xtreme Team in the jungles of Peru’s Amazon Basin. After a flight to a city in the northwestern part of the country, we flew in a chartered plane to a remote landing strip near the border with Brazil. Following a five-hour ride in a motorized canoe, we reached a Yaminahua village where the Xtreme team members had been living for a couple months.

Missionaries like these who have been sent out by the IMB are able to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth because of the faithful giving of Southern Baptists. Your support through the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering enables these young men to live among this indigenous people group, where there is now a thriving church.

It is a joy to represent the entity that serves the churches of our denomination by channeling support to those sharing the Gospel among the nations.

Never forget, it is a challenging world to which God is calling us to go and tell the Gospel. We cannot wait while multitudes enter eternity without Christ. I pray that we as Southern Baptists will be found faithful and obedient in our giving and will challenge the next generation to be faithful in fulfilling our missions task.
Jerry Rankin is president of the International Mission Board. Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to support Southern Baptists’ global outreach can be made at www.imb.org/offering.

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  • Jerry Rankin