The Biblical Recorder is sharing some of the stories about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) from churches across the state. The money raised goes to support the International Mission Board (IMB) and its missionaries around the globe. Other stories were printed in the Feb. 13 issue. This list represents the five churches that have members on the IMB Board of Trustees.
Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem
News of the financial struggles of the IMB, combined with the urgent desire of Calvary members to share the hope of the gospel, led them to give their largest gift ever towards international missions, according to senior pastor Rob Peters.
Calvary Baptist Church has consistently led the churches of North Carolina with the largest LMCO for many years. The church’s gift of $585,366.62 was the second largest gift from all Southern Baptist churches in 2014. The church reported more than $604,000 has been received for the 2015 offering.
“The people of Calvary sense God is doing something good and new as the IMB reset occurs,” Peters said, “and it is our desire to put all of the weight and resources of Calvary behind this effort. Especially encouraging was our young families’ commitment to participate and sacrifice for this year’s offering.” The church leaders are in the process of evaluating the goal for their 2016 LMCO, with plans to raise their commitment to new heights. Peters serves as a trustee of IMB.
Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia
The second largest LMCO gift among North Carolina churches in 2014 was given by the people of Parkwood Baptist Church. That amount was $446,945.39. But the 2015 gift has exceeded the previous year by more than $100,000.
Jeff Long, Parkwood’s senior pastor, said, “We called the church to a day of prayer and fasting on Dec. 16 for the purpose of asking God what He would have each of us to give to the offering, to pray for the workers and partnerships that we are involved with around the world, and to ask Him to send people from our congregation to the nations.”
The challenge to hold such a day came from the Missions Intensive hosted by the IMB and taught by David Platt in mid-October. The IMB website says, “Missions Intensive is a gathering of senior pastors and church leaders prayerfully seeking God concerning His global mission and the local church’s role in that mission.”
“We left the intensive deeply convicted that even though we are heavily involved in gospel work around the world, we were not giving ourselves to Act 13 prayer. We plan to host at least four days of prayer and fasting throughout the year,” Long added.
On Dec. 20, the church launched the LMCO offering. The total offering is approaching $575,000 for the year.
Long said, “The day of prayer and fasting and the generosity through God’s people at Parkwood are evidence of what Hudson Taylor said, ‘God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.’” Long serves on the board of trustees of IMB.
First Baptist Church, Durham
Eighteen years ago Andrew Davis accepted the call to pastor First Baptist Church in Durham. At that time the typical annual LMCO was $25,000 each year. In 2015 the church’s goal was $150,000. When the offering ended their gifts totaled $153,000.
“Because of the urgency of missions and the need of finances at IMB, the church wanted to respond generously,” Davis said. “I don’t try to put guilt in the people to give, but just to make the need known and let them respond.”
Englewood Baptist Church, Rocky Mount
Last year Englewood Baptist Church gave their largest ever Lottie Moon offering. According to Senior Pastor Michael Cloer the church’s gifts totaled $112,485.08. “However, we did not receive it one month,” he said. “Every Sunday of the year we show a missions video, pray for a different [Unengaged, Unreached People Group], and receive our regular offering including our Lottie Moon gifts. We encourage our people to give to Lottie Moon year-round and they do.”
Two couples are presently serving overseas through the IMB out of the congregation, and the church is in the process of sending an additional couple. They will directly support this couple from the church through IMB as Great Commission Global Connect (GC2) missionaries to South Asia. “While we are directly supporting this family, we did not decrease, but we increased our Lottie Moon giving,” Cloer said.
Coats Baptist Church, Coats
Bobbi Ashford is a member of Coats Baptist Church. She is also serving her fourth year as an IMB trustee. She said the church is in the process of searching for a pastor but set the LMCO goal at $30,000 in 2015. The church gave a little more than $34,000. The Sunday morning worship attendance is 300.