By Vickie Anderson
Executive Dir., TN WMU
It is almost here, one of my favorite times of the year — September. I love getting to spend time with family and friends over Labor Day weekend and that fall weather and cooler temperatures begin to arrive. But the thing I love the most about September is that it is state missions emphasis month. For Tennessee Baptists, September brings the opportunity to observe and participate in the season of prayer for state missions and the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions. And while the offering is taken year-round and the ministries happen through the year, we spotlight in September how together we support missions and ministries in Tennessee.
I am often asked, “Why do we have/need a state missions offering?” My answer is “Because Tennessee is a mission field!”
- It is estimated that almost four million Tennesseans do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
- 80 percent of our neighbors are not in any church on Sunday morning.
- 16.7 percent of Tennesseans (over one million people) live below the poverty line.
- 23.8 percent of the children in Tennessee live in poverty.
- Tennessee has the 12th highest poverty rate among all 50 U.S. states.
- There are 156 languages spoken in Tennessee representing 145 different people groups from over 100 different nations. The vast majority of these internationals are spiritually lost.
- If current trends continue, nine out of 10 of our children 18 years and younger will not accept Christ by adulthood.
- Currently, the millennial generation (ages 18-34) outnumbers all other generations and is the first generation that the majority has not been “raised in church.”
- There are 350,000 students on Tennessee’s college and university campuses. Seven out of 10 of these students are spiritually lost.
- There are more than 7,500 international students enrolled in Tennessee colleges and universities. A large majority of them have never been in an American home.
The Week of Prayer for State Missions and the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions highlight and support missions and ministries in Tennessee. In 1902 W.C. and Mildred Golden challenged Tennessee Baptists to pray for and give to missions within the state and initiated the offering. The offering was named after them in 1943. Today, churches are still encouraged to learn about, pray for, give to, and serve in missions and ministries in Tennessee.
Our theme this year is At All Costs, OBEY! and Scripture is “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” James 1:22 (NIV). The suggested date for churches to observe the Week of Prayer is Sept. 10-17. The 2017-18 Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions goal is $1,925,000 and will be collected from Sept. 1, 2017-Aug. 31, 2018.
Visit www.goldenoffering.org for promotional materials, videos and more information about our state missions offering. Tennessee Baptists contributing through The Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions provide invaluable financial support for Tennessee ministries. The annual offering sustains ministries not funded through the Cooperative Program. The eternal impact of this offering in the lives of others is immeasurable. Thank you, Tennessee Baptists, for helping to make it happen through your prayers, gifts, and involvement.