By Vickie Anderson
Executive director, Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union
Things are looking different this September. Virtual and in-person schools starting back. Some team sports are canceled, others are playing but with limited or no fans present and others playing with no limitations.
Words like masks, social distancing and quarantine have been part of our regular vocabulary. Churches are at different stages of in person or virtual worship, small groups gathering, choirs singing, etc.
While many things may look different this year, there is much that is still the same, including the over four million people in our state who are unchurched or spiritually lost.
In 1902, W.C. and Mildred Golden challenged Tennessee Baptists to pray for our Tennessee mission field and to give to the first state missions 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.
The Week of Prayer for State Missions and the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions highlight and support missions and ministries in 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 Sept. 13-20. The 2020-21 Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions goal is $1,800,000 and will be collected from Sept. 1, 2020-Aug. 31, 2021.
Our theme this year is See & Tell Tennessee and the Scripture is, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you” (Luke 8:39a).
Tennessee Baptists are being encouraged through this emphasis to see the overwhelming needs and spiritual lostness in OUR mission field — Tennessee.
• Tennessee is home to more than 850,000 immigrants or refugees and to individuals from approximately 143 people groups.
• Every hour three Tennesseans die without Christ.
• 15 percent of Tennesseans live below the poverty line.
• Tennessee ranks third in the country for prescription drug abuse.
• Tennessee has over 350,000 college students. Only 20 percent attend religious services on a weekly basis. 70 percent of high school students in the church will walk away from church during college.
• Currently 70 percent of the population of Tennessee live in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Clarksville. It is estimated that 80 percent of the people in these cities have no connection to a faith-based group.
• Every day 30 babies are aborted in Tennessee.
• Every day one Tennessean over the age of 45 commits suicide.
• Every three days a Tennessean between the ages of 10-22 commits suicide.
• Each month over 90 children are trafficked online for sex.
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 .
Our contributions through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions 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. B&R