By Vickie Anderson
Exec. Dir., TN Woman’s Missionary Union
One hundred twenty years ago, W.C. and Mildred Golden challenged Tennessee Baptists to pray for our Tennessee mission field and give to the first state missions offering. That first offering in 1902 was $800. The offering was named after the Goldens in 1943. Today, churches are still encouraged to learn about, pray for, give to and serve in missions and ministries in Tennessee.
I think the 2021-22 Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions will be the year that Tennessee Baptists break the $2 million mark for the first time and reach the offering goal of $2.1 million. What a great way to celebrate the 120th year of our state missions offering! While many things may look different from what they did in 1902, much is still the same, including that Tennessee is still a mission field.
- There are more than 4 million unchurched/spiritually lost people in Tennessee.
- Every hour three Tennesseans die without Christ.
- Eighty percent of the population of most counties will not worship in any church this Sunday.
If current trends continue, nine out of 10 children born after 9/11 will not accept Christ in their lifetime.
- Tennessee has over 350,000 college students. Only 20 percent attend religious services on a weekly basis. Seventy percent of high school students in the church will walk away from church during college.
- Tennessee is home to more than one million people of immigrant or refugee background.
- 89 out of 95 counties in Tennessee have double-digit poverty rates.
- 19 counties have poverty rates at more than 20 percent.
- Tennessee has a 13.9 percent overall poverty rate, with over 920,000 Tennesseans living below the poverty line.
- Tennessee ranks third in the country for prescription drug abuse.
- Each month more than 94 children are trafficked for sex.
The Week of Prayer for State Missions and the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions highlight and support missions and ministries that are making a difference in lives all across Tennessee. And while the offering is taken year-round, and the ministries happen throughout the year, in September we spotlight how together Tennessee Baptists support missions and ministries in Tennessee.
The suggested date for churches to observe the Week of Prayer is September 12-19. The 2021-22 Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions goal is $2,100,000 and will be collected from Sept.1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2022.
Our theme this year is Same Jesus. Sharing Hope & Truth and the emphasis Scriptures are: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ ” (John 14:6).
Tennessee Baptists are being encouraged through this emphasis to:
- Pray and fast for the spiritually lost in our state.
- Pray that the hearts of Tennesseans will be opened so they will know the hope of His calling.
- Share the grace and truth of the gospel.
- Try new ways to reach out, meet needs and connect with those around you.
- Work together to reach OUR mission field — Tennessee.
- Give thanks for W.C. and Mildred Golden who began the week of prayer and offering for state missions 120 years ago.
- Give God the glory for what He has done and will do.
If Tennessee is going to be reached for Christ, it will require the efforts of all Tennessee Baptists working together, looking beyond the walls of our churches, meeting needs through the love of Christ, having Gospel conversations and being ready to share our story of what God has done in our lives.
Through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, our contributions provide invaluable financial support for Tennessee ministries like disaster relief, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, compassion ministries, church planting, literacy missions, Christmas backpacks and church revitalization.
Visit www.goldenoffering.org for promotional materials, videos and more information about our state missions offering.
Thank you, Tennessee Baptists, for helping to make it happen through your prayers, gifts and involvement.
Tennessee is OUR mission field!