RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Southern Baptists tackling the challenge of the $120 million Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions will find an array of resources available on the Internet.
Video, music, photo essays, prayer pointers and virtual prayerwalks are are among the aids at the 2001 International Missions Emphasis website, www.imb.org/ime.
Also available: feature articles, testimonies, clip art, downloadable photos, key statistics and colorful graphs to help convey the urgency of taking the good news of salvation to those who have never heard.
The missions emphasis theme — “The Unfinished Task: Planting with Passion” — focuses on the work of Southern Baptist missionaries in planting their lives among their people groups to multiply disciples and new churches into church-planting movements.
The IME site offers ideas for promoting the offering, which provides nearly half the support of nearly 5,100 missionaries serving 1,117 people groups around the world. Links for ordering IME resources also can be found at the website.
A breakdown of what it costs to support missionaries — by the minute, the hour, the day, etc. — also is posted on the site. A detailed biography of the legendary Southern Baptist missionary for whom the offering is named can be found there as well.
Every dollar given to the offering is used 100 percent for overseas witness and ministry. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering provides 46 percent of the support for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board and 5,043 missionaries engaging 1,125 people groups in 185 countries. The Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified budget generates 36 percent of the IMB’s income.
Southern Baptists across the country will collect the offering in December, with a special emphasis on a missions study and week of prayer Dec. 2-9.
That missions study focuses on the ways God is using cultural, physical and political changes among the Maasai of eastern Africa to open their eyes to the truth of his Word. Teaching guides for adults, youth, children and preschool and a promotional packet are available in LifeWay Christian Stores and from Woman’s Missionary Union (www.wmu.com).
Additional free resources to raise missions awareness — a special edition of The Commission magazine, a “Planting with Passion” video and a CD with PowerPoint presentations, people group profiles, video clips and a photo gallery — are available on the International Mission Board’s website (www.imb.org/resources).
Contributions to the offering have risen steadily from $23.2 million in 1974 to more than $113 million in 2000. Total receipts for the offering since its inception in 1888 stand at almost $2.1 billion.
The $3,000 collected in the first offering was used to send three women to China to help Moon, who sailed to China as a Southern Baptist missionary in 1873 and served 39 years.
Along the way, she challenged established norms — refusing to be confined to the schoolteacher role reserved for young women, leaving the safety of the Baptist compound to live in “wild” villages and giving up Western comforts for local ways.
Moon pushed the bounds that kept her from taking the gospel to the edge. And she paid a price in friendships, in privacy, and with her life — giving her own food to others suffering in the famine of 1912. She died from starvation on Christmas Eve 1912 in the harbor at Kobe, Japan.
Woman’s Missionary Union also can be contacted by calling toll-free 1-800-968-7301. (BP) logo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Logo title: THE UNFINISHED TASK 2001.
— Video: Lottie Moon’s journey of faith: http://real.imb.org:8080/ramgen/Media/1200222_hi.rm.
— Music: Zambian Acapella sings “Reach Out”: http://real.imb.org:8080/ramgen/Media/Reach_Out.rm.
— More IME videos, music, virtual prayerwalks: http://www.imb.org/ime/gallery.htm.