It has often been called the "best kept secret of Southern Baptists." In 1996, nearly 300 Southern Baptist hunger ministries relieved the hungry in fifty-eight countries including the United States. Countless testimonies reveal lives changed by the Gospel as Christ's love was shown through these ministries to peoples' needs.
Southern Baptist hunger ministries do not receive funding through the Cooperative Program or the Lottie Moon or Annie Armstrong Offerings. They are totally dependent upon gifts to the Southern Baptist world hunger fund. Unlike other relief agencies who use a substantial portion of their receipts for salaries and promotion, 100 percent of gifts to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund go directly to feed the hungry. When hunger relief funds arrive at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the Executive Committee, they are fully distributed 80 percent to the International Mission Board and 20 percent to the North American Mission Board.
In emergency situations, such as famines or disaster relief, food distribution is crucial and Southern Baptist ministries respond immediately. In non-emergency situations, Southern Baptist ministries are designed to foster independence.
Four years of agricultural training in India has resulted in the start of over 400 new churches and thousands of families receiving a steady diet. In Serbia, through the ministry of the First Baptist Church of Belgrade, 3,000 refugee families per month receive rations which mean the difference between starvation and survival. In North Korea, 50,000 people survive on one meal per day provided through Southern Baptist efforts.
At home, 100 people per week receive meals at a church in Chickasha, Okla., while children receive a hot breakfast each Sunday in Searcy, Ark. The Grace Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City served 130,000 meals last year. These ministries along with many others in the U.S. last year played a significant role in over 8,600 professions of faith.
Some churches meet the biblical mandate for ministry to the poor on a local level through food pantries, homeless shelters, and benevolence ministries. However, churches can also have a world-wide impact through regular and systematic support of the Southern Baptist world hunger fund through which $8.33 will feed a Brazilian street child for one month, or $1.49 will feed a flood victim in North Korea for one month, or $17.70 will provide a milk goat for a family in Indonesia, or $1.00 will provide a hot meal to a homeless or needy person in the Graffiti Baptist Shelter in New York City.
Churches can support the Southern Baptist world hunger fund, through a special offering, a rice bowl campaign, or through any number of ways. As a result, needs are met and hearts are more receptive to the Gospel. A single church can do a little. But with God's help, churches working together can do a lot.
May "the best kept secret of Southern Baptists" be secret no longer.
World Hunger Day
World Hunger Day will be observed October 12, 1997. While this is a time Southern Baptists give concentrated focus to the need, Steve Nelson emphasizes that concern for feeding the hungry should be a way of life for Christians. For more information on "rice bowl campaigns," collection canisters, and other creative ways to integrate hunger emphasis into church life, call Steve at (615) 244-2495.
SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION
June 17-19, 1997
RESOLUTION ON SOUTHERN BAPTIST WORLD HUNGER FUND
WHEREAS, Hunger ministry opens countless doors for sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists sponsor over 200 hunger ministries worldwide; and
WHEREAS, Though hunger ministries are promoted through Cooperative Program funds through the state conventions; they do not receive direct Cooperative Program support; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptist hunger ministries are dependent upon the Southern Baptist world hunger fund for support; and
WHEREAS, Gifts to the Southern Baptist world hunger fund support hunger ministry, both foreign and domestic; and
WHEREAS, Consistent giving for the poor is part of the believer's lifestyle as demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ; and through the Old Testament record; and
WHEREAS, We are seeking spiritual awakening which must include the demonstrated lifestyle of Christ by the believer;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, That we, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 17-19,1997, encourage all church leaders to educate congregations about world hunger and lead churches to support World Hunger Day, October 12, 1997; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we encourage all Southern Baptist churches to actively promote and support the Southern Baptist world hunger fund through innovative means resulting in gifts given regularly and systematically throughout the year; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That the appropriate agencies and auxiliaries of the Southern Baptist Convention be encouraged to continue working aggressively to raise awareness of the hunger issue, and promote support for the Southern Baptist world hunger fund.
Adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention
June 17-19, 1997
Morris H. Chapman
President and Chief Executive Officer Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention