Southern Baptists generously support missions

By June 18, 2015

USA (IMB) — As they plan creative new ways to reach the lost, the International Mission Board and Woman’s Missionary Union leaders expressed gratitude to Southern Baptists for the generous support churches gave to the 2014 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions.

Finalized in early June, the 2014 Lottie Moon offering totaled $153,002,394.13 — the second-highest total in the 126-year history of the offering. While it fell about $1 million short of 2013’s all-time record offering of $154 million, the 2014 total surpassed the previous record, $150.4 million in 2007, by more than $2.5 million.

“We have so much grace from God to celebrate in this offering,” said IMB President David Platt. “This is the second-largest Lottie Moon offering ever. It will supply more than half of our total IMB budget. We are deeply grateful for the faithfulness and obedience of the countless churches and individuals who have given sacrificially to this offering. Because they love God more than the pleasures, possessions, and pursuits of this world, and because they want to glorify His name among all nations, we’ll be able to partner with them and missionaries sent from Southern Baptist churches around the world to take the gospel to people who have never heard it.

“Every dollar given to the Lottie Moon offering will enable a man, woman, or family to stay on the field, to lift the light of Jesus Christ amidst some of the darkest, most dangerous and difficult-to-reach places, and to make disciples among unreached peoples,” Platt added. “God has given His people wealth for the sake of His worship, and I praise Him for how this money will serve as a tool in His hands for the multiplication of the church and the magnification of His name.”

Wanda Lee, executive director/treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), which promotes the offering in partnership with IMB, also expressed gratitude.

Photo Courtesy of IMB

(Photo Courtesy of IMB)

“We are grateful for the continued strong financial support and fervent prayers of Southern Baptists for international missions,” Lee said. “Praying for our missionaries and giving of our resources to aid in the work of overseas missions is at the heart of who we are in WMU. As Southern Baptists learn how God is at work around the world, they give of their resources and offer more informed prayers for those who have committed their lives to following the Great Commission into all the world so the gospel will be proclaimed among all people.”

Platt, who was elected last year to lead Southern Baptists into a new era of international missions, wants to greatly expand pathways for churches and individuals to participate in God’s global mission–especially in cities and difficult places. Those avenues will include many new ways for congregations, professionals, students, retirees, and others to join “limitless teams” to reach the unreached.

Full-time missionaries are more important than ever in new approaches. They will lead many of those teams and continue to be the key strategic workers in some of the toughest areas on earth. That’s why the Lottie Moon offering is so crucial: more than 4,700 IMB missionaries depend on it to pay day-to-day expenses and fund their efforts to spread the gospel.

The Lottie Moon offering–and regular missions giving by churches through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program–fund missionary salaries, housing, medical care, children’s education, field transportation, and other expenses. Supporting one fully-funded missionary overseas costs an average of $141 per day, or about $51,000 per year. Every penny of the Lottie Moon offering, named for Southern Baptists’ most famous missionary, goes to the IMB overseas budget, which directly supports missionaries and their work. The 2014 offering will account for more than half of the total 2015 IMB budget of $301.1 million.

The offering enables missionaries to go into areas untouched by the gospel, engage people groups with no believers or Scriptures, start churches, and make disciples. IMB missionaries and their ministry partners communicated the gospel to more than 1.7 million people, led nearly 275,000 people to faith in Christ, baptized more than 190,000 new believers, and started more than 13,000 churches and many more believer groups that will become churches, according to IMB’s 2014 annual statistical report (reflecting 2013 year-end statistics). Beyond that, trained disciples among 235 people groups engaged their own people inside their countries. Disciples among 62 people groups engaged different groups or cities within their countries–and workers representing 26 peoples went beyond their own countries to reach different groups.

Two of the missionaries supported by Lottie Moon gifts represent the commitment of many others:

Photo Courtesy of IMB

(Photo Courtesy of IMB)

Robert and Maridith Lane took a major risk when they moved to South Sudan, a battleground nation in northeast Africa. But they see it as a risk worth taking. When the Lanes first visited in 2010, their hearts became burdened for the more than 400,000 people unreached by the gospel in South Sudan, which became independent of Sudan in 2011. They came back for good in 2013.

Now, the Lanes and their missionary teammates are learning to live a life more difficult than they ever imagined as they reach out to the Dinka Rek people group, who number nearly 3 million. (Watch their story.)

“We need to be ready for those hardships, ready for those difficulties, ready to be used as a sacrifice for Christ as we try to make His name famous,” Robert explained. “The Dinka are very strong and proud. In tradition, they’re extremely war-like. They say, ‘We hate our enemy, we hate this other people group, we hate people who try to take anything from us or keep us from political power.’”

However, the Lanes have no doubt South Sudan is where God has called them. Getting into the country is usually difficult, but they’ve been able to gain access, set up a house and build relationships with local people in a short period of time. “It’s not been easy by any stretch of the imagination,” Robert said. “But in a lot of ways we’ve been able to do something that should really be impossible, and I see that as a very big confirmation of God’s will to have us in South Sudan.”

They stay there with the Lord’s help, the support of their missionary co-workers–and Southern Baptists’ prayers and giving through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Cooperative Program.

Multiply their story by several thousand, and you get a glimpse of the real impact of the Lottie Moon offering in the ministry of more than 4,700 missionaries worldwide.

4 Comments

  • Jennifer says:

    I would like to know how I could join, as I am in Australia, not involved in anything and reading this, I enjoy living with out the material lifestyle. I’d prefer to do God’s work for the rest of my life. I’m gifted in music, and would love to contribute that to any ministry.

  • “Supporting one fully-funded missionary overseas costs an average of $141 per day, or about $51,000 per year.”

    I hope that is not the amount being sent to missionaries in third world countries where the cost of living is a fraction of that in the US. I am a missionary in the Philippines and my budget is no where close to that amount. In fact, since I arrived here in 2011 I have spent less than $30,000 (less than $20 a day) which includes the funds that go directly to the people God sent me here to serve.

    I know many missionaries here who do receive amounts like those mentioned in this article, but rather than the funds going to the ministry, it instead provides them with homes in exclusive gated subdivisions, nice SUVs, the latest gadgets and the ability to continue their western lifestyle.

    I suggest some of those who support missionaries in third world countries drop in unannounced and observe their day to day activities for a few days. They may be surprised on how some missionaries in the field are spending the hard earned money of their supporters. (Hint: You will likely find them in the malls or at Starbucks)

    As a missionary myself, it hurts me to see how much money is wasted in the mission field on a daily basis. I know this message will come across as judgmental (I am not talking about all missionaries), but there is a tremendous amount of waste in the mission field and the churches need to address this problem separate the wheat from the chaff.

    If a missionary can not live at the same economic level as the average person in the country they are sent, maybe it is not God who called them there to serve.

  • Alice King says:

    We were in the Philippines 1967-1969 (my husband was serving in the military at the naval base in Olongapo). We lived in the local economy for a year before housing was available at the base. We traveled some while we were there and met several of the Southern Baptist missionaries while we were there and none of them were living a luxurious lifestyle. On the contrary, they were adapting to the Philippine culture and reaching out to the people in various ways. To be sure, none of them were living in the nipa huts that many of the locals were living in. That was, of course, 45+ years ago, but I don’t remember seeing any gated communities; and if SUV’s were available then, they probably belonged to Navy personnel who were exploring the island. Nor did we ever see a gated community or Starbucks. When we lived in Olongapo, we lived in a house that was built by the family who lived in a hut next to us for themselves but they ran out of money before it was completely finished. It had only cold running water, and a hot plate for a stove. Granted, that was luxurious compared to what the family next to us was living in, but I sure was happy to move to the base where I could have a hot shower. If some missionary families who are living on the local economy are living in their western life styles and going to malls and Starbucks, then the Philippines has made a drastic change since we were there! My guess is they would be a very tiny minority of the missionaries who were working with the people there.

  • I thank God that using you and your group to help the work of God.

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