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Top Lottie Moon givers honored; IMB poses million-dollar question


RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–The International Mission Board has recognized the 100 Southern Baptist churches that gave the largest gifts to the 2001 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.

The entity also announced which of the 41 Baptist state conventions and fellowships ranked in the top 10 givers according to membership and to percentage of increase over the previous year.

That $113.7 million ingathering, named after the venerable missionary who gave her life taking the gospel to the Chinese people, pushed the cumulative total for the 114-year-old offering to $2.2 billion. The offering recorded a $532,804 increase over 2000 and set an all-time high total, even though it fell short of the $120 million goal.

Many Southern Baptist churches still are in the process of receiving the 2002 Lottie Moon Offering, which has a goal of $125 million. Every penny received will go to support the board’s almost 5,500 missionaries and their ministries.

This year’s offering is even more critical than usual because the number of Southern Baptists answering God’s call to overseas missions service is increasing faster than giving from the churches, said IMB President Jerry Rankin.

“The missionary force is growing three times faster than receipts coming through the Lottie Moon offering and the Cooperative Program [the Southern Baptist Convention’s unified funding channel],” Rankin said.

“Lottie Moon’s passion to rally Southern Baptists to sacrificial giving is perhaps more relevant today than in her lifetime because reaching the world with the gospel is truly possible in this generation.”

TOTAL DOLLAR GIVING

Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., led the nation in total dollar giving for the 2001 offering. That congregation’s $394,698 gift surpassed the next-largest contribution by almost $111,000. The church also ranked first in 2000.

The top 10 churches in the total dollar ranking gave more than $2.5 million to the offering, almost 2.2 percent of the total. The top 100 churches gave more than $11.8 million, or 10.4 percent of the total.

The other churches in the top 10 total dollar category were First Baptist Church of Jackson, Miss., $283,730; First Baptist Church of Dallas, $254,642; First Baptist Church of Rockwall, Texas, $253,255; First Baptist Church of McAlester, Okla., $252,116; First Baptist Church of Roanoke, Va., $229,405; Liberty Baptist Church of Hampton, Va., $229,398; First Baptist Church of Odessa, Texas, $225,592; First Baptist Church of Russellville, Ark., $216,422; and Blackshear Place Baptist Church of Flowery Branch, Ga., $191,324.

“Eighty of the top 100 churches from 2000 ranked in the top 100 again this year,” said Billy Hoffman, the IMB’s director of development. “Those congregations receive a 2001 medallion to place on the plaque they received last year. The 20 new members of the top 100 receive a plaque with the 2001 medallion already mounted.

“Our challenge to the top 100 churches is: ‘Which church will be the first to give $1 million to the Lottie Moon offering?'”

The entity also announced which of the 41 Baptist state conventions and fellowships ranked in the top 10 givers according to membership and to percentage of increase over the previous year.

The per capita and percentage increase rankings are new this year because the entity wants to recognize the sacrificial example set by more than 40,000 smaller Southern Baptist congregations, Hoffman said.

“While the top 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,” he said. “This offering couldn’t succeed without the commitment thousands of churches have to their missionaries.

“We hope that one day we will have the technology and data to recognize the giving of the smaller churches from which the largest portion of the offering comes.”

PER CAPITA GIVING

South Carolina Baptists led the nation in per capita giving for the 2001 offering. South Carolina’s 737,394 church members gave $7,881,895 for a per capita gift of $10.69.

The top 10 state conventions in the per capita ranking gave more than $68.3 million. While they gave 60 percent of the total offering, they account for only 47 percent of the SBC’s 16.1 million members.

The other state conventions that ranked in the top 10 per capita givers were Mississippi, $10.05; North Carolina, $9.55; Virginia, $9.20; Tennessee, $8.29; Alabama, $8.27; Arkansas, $8.17; Georgia, $8.16; Maryland-Delaware, $7.80; and Colorado, $7.49. Southern Baptists give an average of $7.05 to their international missions offering.

PERCENTAGE INCREASE

Alaska led the SBC’s 41 state conventions and fellowships in the percentage increase of giving to the offering. Alaska’s $122,771.86 represented an increase of 83.67 percent over the state’s 2000 offering.

The top 10 state conventions in percentage increase gave almost $19.8 million, or 17.4 percent of the total.

The other state conventions that ranked in the top 10 for percentage increase were New York, 40.37 percent; Georgia, 28.08 percent; Ohio, 20.46 percent; Virginia, 18.10 percent; Michigan, 14.51 percent; Nevada, 14.05 percent; Arizona, 10.09 percent; Montana, 8.97 percent; and West Virginia, 8.26 percent. The 2001 offering represented a 0.47 percent increase over the previous year.

The state conventions and fellowships that led in per capita and percentage giving reflect a godly passion for a lost world, Hoffman said.

“The per capita and percentage increase giving recorded by these state conventions demonstrate the truly sacrificial giving championed by Lottie Moon in the early days of the Christmas offering,” he said. “These conventions deserve special recognition for communicating a missions vision to Southern Baptists in their state.”

The rankings were based on information received from state conventions, Hoffman said. Virginia was the only state represented in all three categories.

The International Mission Board is a Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. The IMB has 5,487 missionaries working among 1,497 people groups worldwide. In 2001, Southern Baptist missionaries and their co-workers baptized more than 395,773 new believers and organized 5,775 churches.

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering provides about 49 percent of the IMB’s budgeted income.
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(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: GIFT BY GIFT.

— International Mission Board: http://www.imb.org.

— Cooperative Program: http://www.cpmissions.net.

— Lottie Moon Christmas Offering: http://ime.imb.org.

2001 LMCO Top 10 Total Dollar Giving:
Calvary, Winston-Salem, NC — $394,698
First, Jackson, Miss. — $283,730
First, Dallas, Texas — $254,642
First, Rockwall, Texas — $253,255
First, McAlester, Okla. — $252,116
First, Roanoke, Va. — $229,405
Liberty, Hampton, Va. — $229,398
First, Odessa, Texas — $225,592
First, Russellville, Ark. — $216,422
Blackshear Place, Flowery Branch, Ga. — $191,324

2001 LMCO Top 10 Per Capita Giving
South Carolina — $10.69
Mississippi — $10.05
North Carolina — $9.55
Virginia — $9.20
Tennessee — $8.29
Alabama — $8.27
Arkansas — $8.17
Georgia — $8.16
Maryland-Delaware — $7.80
Colorado — $7.49
SBC average — $7.05

2001 LMCO Top 10 Percentage Increase
Alaska — 83.67%
New York — 40.37%
Georgia — 28.08%
Ohio — 20.46%
Virginia — 18.10%
Michigan — 14.51%
Nevada — 14.05%
Arizona — 10.09%
Montana — 8.97%
W Virginia — 8.26%
Total increase — 0.47%
* Per capita and percentage increase numbers are reported on state conventions rather than congregations because statistics on resident membership and offering totals from each Southern Baptist church are not available.

    About the Author

  • Mark Kelly