By Greg McCoy
It was in 1894 that the Tennessee Baptist Convention first asked its churches to donate to the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes (then called the Tennessee Baptist Orphanage.) This was our first statewide offering, but it was far from our last.
Since 1963, The Mother’s Day Offering (MDO) has been the biggest single way for Tennessee’s Baptist churches to give to the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes. This annual statewide offering accounts for about 36 percent of TBCH’s operating budget — funds that go directly toward the care of children.
Last year we launched the Denise and George Shinn Foster Care Program, along with our Caring Community Ministries of churches. Our residential care program has received some much-needed updates, too: technology upgrades, building maintenance, and increased staff. Our ministry has expanded to fill a gap in our state’s efforts to care for children and families in crisis. This expansion comes at a cost, though, and with our recently reduced allotment from the Cooperative Program, that cost will have to be made up elsewhere.
Our fundraising goal last year was $2.5 million. Tennessee Baptist churches gave faithfully but we fell short of our goal. We are grateful for God’s provision over the years, and we are confident that this year we will meet or exceed our goal. None of this happens without the help and support of Tennessee Baptists across our great state.
TBCH sends free promotional materials to churches who wish to announce the start of the Mother’s Day Offering. These materials are packed and mailed out in bulk, and with the hundreds of items that must be sent to each of the over 3,000 Baptist churches in our state, it can become an overwhelming job.
Thankfully, volunteers have always stepped up when TBCH has been in need. Youth groups from local churches, women’s and men’s Bible Study groups, and even 97-year old Edith Parks, have served this year to assist in this crucial mail-out. This is to say nothing of the Woman’s Missionary Union leaders who take those promotional materials and spread the word within their local churches and communities.
These extraordinary men and women work tirelessly in support of children, because they understand that it is what Jesus Christ calls us all to do.
Of course the Mother’s Day Offering isn’t simply a way to give towards the TBCH ministry. It’s a way to honor the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and other amazing women who have impacted our own lives. This includes foster mothers, and even our own residential care “house mothers.”
One such housemother on our Brentwood campus (Kim Robinson) knows better than most what Jesus means by “whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me.” She and her husband adopted five little girls from TBCH while working as houseparents in the early 2000s.
“I am far from the example of a perfect mom,” says Mrs. Robinson. “I have fallen on my face more times than I want to admit. The only good in me is Christ and if I touch a child’s life in any way at all it is nothing in me — only Him. My goal in life (although I fail all the time) is to point others toward Jesus!”
The Mother’s Day Offering honors women like Kim Robinson, and the millions of selfless Tennessee women who put the lives of their children ahead of their own.
Mothers, fathers, church leaders, and congregations — it takes everyone, united, to care for Tennessee’s children!