While COVID-19 continues to reshape and affect everything across America and the world in 2020, I want to share a few wonderful things God has done through our work together as Southern Baptists despite a pandemic.
In our fiscal year ending Sept. 30, Southern Baptists gave:
- $467,073,000 through the Cooperative Program, which is the financial fuel that funds our Great Commission work in our states as well as nationally and internationally.
- $159.5 million to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, which is the second-highest offering in its history.
- $49.3 million to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. Following three record-breaking offerings, this remains an awesome level of commitment to giving despite the onset of the pandemic at the time this offering was being collected.
When you add that up, it means more than $675,873,000 has been given by our churches to our Great Commission missions and ministries during this year of uncertainty. Beyond this amount, millions of dollars have also been given to other Southern Baptist needs beyond these three major financial priorities.
Even in the midst of this global pandemic year, we have appointed 416 new missionaries to take the gospel to the nations.
Southern Baptists have the third largest disaster relief organization in America, following only the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Through the ministries of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief:
- 753,977 meals were prepared for survivors of national disasters
- 668,687 hours of work were given by volunteers
- 7,975 recovery jobs were completed by volunteers, which includes chainsaw jobs, as well as flood and fire recovery and debris removal
- 6,813 gospel presentations were made
- 875 people made the decision to follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
Send Relief is a partnership between the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board that inspires, equips and trains people to meet physical needs on the ground in dozens of countries, sharing the hope of the gospel across the world. Send Relief is about meeting needs and changing lives. For example, in 2020:
- More than 700 projects took place across North America and in 77 countries around the world
- 228,000 N-95 masks and protective suits were donated to hospitals and first responders in 13 states
- 304,000 meals were distributed through Send Relief ministry centers throughout America
While facing extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances, our six Southern Baptist seminaries were able to prepare and equip:
- 25,023 students for gospel ministry
- 3,287 of those students graduated
In addition, Mission:Dignity, a ministry of GuideStone Financial Resources that assists retired Southern Baptist ministers or their widows, is on track to set a record for fund-raising, having raised more than $1 million on Mission:Dignity Sunday and almost $900,000 on the nationwide #GivingTuesday emphasis.
This is not a comprehensive list of all we were able to do together as Southern Baptists. Each of our national entities, 42 state conventions and 1,200-plus associations can tell their own story of all God has done through our work together despite this COVID-19 pandemic.
Everything we do is only possible because of the work God is doing through our Southern Baptist churches across this nation. If each of our 51,000 churches and congregations could tell their own story, we would hear thousands of stories that would astound us and greatly increase our faith in God.
Be encouraged: God has done so many things this year and He is preparing each of us for even greater things in the year to come.
Great is God’s faithfulness to each of us and our churches. Each day, remember these words:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Now is the time to lead.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee.)