By Leslie Peacock Caldwell
RICHMOND, Va. — The International Mission Board is reporting a 2019-20 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering total of $159.5 million, the second highest offering in history. This total exceeds by $4.5 million the 175-year-old organization’s budgeted goal of $155 million. IMB also received $97.2 million from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program for 2019-20.
“I’m thrilled to report that the Lottie offering is growing again,” said IMB President Paul Chitwood. “A growing Lottie offering means that more lost people, not fewer, will hear the Gospel and be saved. A growing Lottie offering means that more hurting people, not fewer, will be helped and offered hope. A growing Lottie offering means more missionaries, not fewer, will go to the ends of the earth to carry the Good News. Thank you, Southern Baptists, for growing the Lottie offering!”
The offering reflects the commitment of Southern Baptist churches to support international missionaries and reach every language, people, tribe and nation with the Gospel. One hundred percent of gifts given to the offering is used for the support of missionaries.
This year’s generous gift is all the more celebrated during a year in which many families worldwide experienced significant loss of income due to COVID-19.
“Everything we thought COVID-19 would take away from us, God gave back – and more – through the Lottie Moon offering and the generosity of the Southern Baptist family,” said Price Jett, IMB vice president of finance, logistics, travel and technology. “God has blessed IMB the past year, just as He has for 175 years. I have to believe He has big plans in store for Southern Baptist missions.”
Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director of national Woman’s Mission Union, also celebrated the faithfulness of churches and the way God led people to give sacrificially.
“The sacrificial gifts offered by faithful Southern Baptists this giving cycle are substantial enough to tip the scales of eternity in favor of the Kingdom,” Wisdom-Martin said. “Names will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life as a result of what was stewarded well. What a privilege to join God in His redemptive work in the world.”
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering supports more than 3,500 full-time missionaries and their families. These personnel live among the lost in order to reach the nations with the Gospel.
In an address to IMB trustees at their board meeting Sept. 30, Chitwood spoke of the multitudes who remain unreached: “As an organization representing Southern Baptists and their calling before God to share Christ among the nations, we have felt a great responsibility during this pandemic to care for the gifts they so graciously entrusted us. To Southern Baptists, again, I want to say, thank you for allowing us to serve you in carrying out the Great Commission in partnership with you and your church. Much remains to be accomplished, but together, under the power of Christ, we can continue to welcome the multitudes before His throne” (Revelation 7:9).
This year’s Lottie Moon and Week of Prayer stories emphasize God’s goodness of provision, but also the vast needs that remain. From a children’s shelter in Kenya, to a fish farm in Peru, to a radio ministry in Europe and a clinic in Thailand, God is at work but also revealing the significant need of the nations to turn to Him.
Charlie and Shannon Worthy build strong partnerships with believers in Italy to advance the Gospel. They understand that working alongside local believers to plant churches and disciple believers will produce fruit long after their time there as missionaries comes to an end. And the support they receive from Southern Baptists makes all the difference.
“The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is critical to what we do,” Charlie said. “We are grateful for Southern Baptists, and we are grateful and honored to be Southern Baptists.Chitwood urged churches to remain committed to the task, even as they take time to celebrate His generous provision.
“Please join us as we step into a new fiscal year, trusting God and calling upon you to be generous in your praying, sending, going, and your increased giving through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. There is no greater work than the one we share in proclaiming Christ to people groups who have never heard of His great name!” B&R