Although the focus on missions giving is beginning to turn toward North America with the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, many North Carolina Baptist churches are sharing their 2011 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering results.
While each church has their own approach – year-round giving, fundraisers or a big push in December – the focus on helping the gospel reach the ends of the earth remains the same. The offering supports the work of nearly 5,000 IMB (International Mission Board) missionaries overseas. The national goal for the 2011 Lottie Moon offering is $175 million.
Last year, 18 of North Carolina’s Baptist churches ranked in the Top 200 for the 2010 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
Some of those top-giving churches shared their results for the 2011 offering. Those reports included: Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, $504,855; Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia, $289,986.06; Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Boone, $235,798.26; Hickory Grove Baptist Church, Charlotte, $132,200; Green Street Baptist Church, High Point, $121,300; First Baptist Church, Cary, $115,314.83; Hendersonville Baptist Church, Hendersonville, $108,000; First Baptist Church, Durham, $107,974.70; and First Baptist Church, Charlotte, $100,000.
One year’s support
Other churches around the state also shared their offering results and their passion for international missions.
In early December Scott Davis, pastor of Pitts Baptist Church in Concord, presented an IMB (International Mission Board) chart to the congregation. The chart showed that the average dollar amount it takes to support one IMB missionary family each year is about $48,000.
Davis encouraged the congregation to keep that amount in mind as they gave their 2011 offering. Because of economic challenges in the community, Davis said the church decided to keep their goal at $35,000, which was the goal for 2010. But he encouraged them to give above the $39,497 raised the year before.
“We’ve had missionaries ready to go, but they [couldn’t] because of a lack of funds,” Davis told his congregation that averages around 720 in worship each week. “These are not the days to be drawing back. The needs of the world have never been greater.”
At press time, the church had raised $49,572.85, which is more than enough to support one family.
‘The best plan’
Brushy Fork Baptist Church in North Vilas – that averages about 130 people in worship – shattered their goal of $4,000 by raising $8,500 for international missions. The past two years the church has given an average of $1,500.
Pastor Toby Oliver credits the results partly to “heavily publicizing” the offering. They also invited an IMB couple, serving in Hungary, to share about their overseas work.
“We saw the impact that [the offering] makes across the world and what we can do to spread the gospel,” said Oliver, a bi-vocational pastor who also works in insurance. He became the church’s pastor in August of 2011. “I believe the Southern Baptist Convention has the best plan to give to missions,” he said.
Godwin Heights Baptist Church in Lumberton – another similarly sized congregation of about 160 people – gave $10,300, which is $300 over their goal.
Center Road Baptist Church of Bladenboro – a church of about 100 people – beat their goal of $6,300 by giving $9,903.
The cost of ministry
It’s this support that helps ministry efforts around the globe. Every penny given to the offering is used to support IMB missionaries.
For example, one Southern Baptist worker in a European city, shared how the offering supports his work at a refugee center that feeds people both physically and spiritually. About 500 refugees visit the center each week.
According to IMB figures, rent for the center is $1,840 per month. A bag of groceries provided to refugees is $7. Each hot meal costs less than a $1. A complete Bible in the local language is a little more than $16. The Lottie Moon offering helps make all of this possible.
For more examples go to imb.org/main/give/lmw/. To learn more about the offering, go to imb.org/offering.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Laura Moore, editorial aide for the Biblical Recorder, and figures from imb.org contributed to this story.)