What does generous giving look like? Jesus pointed out a great example in Mark 12:41-44. As He watched people put money in the temple treasury, He took note that rich people gave large sums. But the gift that Jesus held up as most outstanding was from a widow who gave two mites. He said the poor woman gave more than all others because she gave out of her poverty. She gave sacrificially.
With our mission dollars dwindling, Southern Baptists need more of our flock to give as this woman gave. It’s time to fan into flames the fading embers of international mission support.
I hope those among us who have great resources will give generously. But our international mission strategy has always depended on the sacrificial gifts of ALL Baptists, not just the “rich” ones.
We printed two formats of the churches in North Carolina who were the top givers to the 2014 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) for International Missions. In one format we show the churches that gave the largest dollar amount. The other list shows the churches that gave the largest gifts on a per capita (per person) basis. Please examine these lists.
Churches who model generous giving in these lists are to be commended. Not all churches can make the list of the largest gifts. But every church can give generously and show up on the list of churches that lead in per capital giving. In fact, many smaller churches are leading the way in generous per capita giving.
Click on the graphic to access the full chart.
There are two observations I want to underscore from these reports. First, 10 churches were in the top 20 of both lists. This is exceptional. We don’t know if the majority of members in these churches are giving sacrificially or someone in the church gave a large gift, making the rest of the people look generous.
In either possibility, these churches have done well. They are:
- Central Baptist, Henderson
- Parkwood Baptist, Gastonia
- Grey Stone Baptist, Durham
- Mount Vernon Baptist, Boone
- First Baptist, Durham
- First Baptist, Cary
- Denver Baptist, Denver
- Calvary Baptist, Winston-Salem
- Green Street Baptist, High Point
- First Baptist, Hickory
Second, churches that are models of generous LMCO support are typically giving an amount that is three to six times their weekly budget offering. I looked into the giving standards of churches on the per capita list. Their pattern is a good model for all churches. Consider a LMCO goal for your church that is three to six times the weekly budget needs. If that is too great to consider at the moment, is your church at least giving an amount to LMCO that equals your weekly budget offerings?
I’ve noticed that many churches believe they are giving generously when they are not. A quick view of the pricy cars in the church parking lot reveals that not many “widow’s mite” gifts are going to LMCO. If missions is a priority for Southern Baptists, we need to give accordingly. Now is the time to practice what we preach.