By Vickie Anderson
Tennessee WMU Executive Director
According to www.nationaldaycalendar.com, the month of September has a variety of things to observe or celebrate: baby safety, better breakfast, blueberry popsicles, chicken, classical music, courtesy, fall hats, honey, mushrooms, rice, piano, self-care, self-improvement, square dancing, whole grains, and more.
For Tennessee Baptists, September brings the opportunity to observe and participate in the Week of Prayer for State Missions and the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions. And while the offering is taken year-round, and the ministries happen throughout the year, in September, we spotlight how together we 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.
The suggested date for churches to observe the Week of Prayer is Sept. 8-15. The 2019-20 Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions goal is $2,100,000 and will be collected from Sept. 1, 2019-Aug. 31, 2020.
Our theme this year is See Tennessee, Go Harvest and the Scripture is “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35b). Tennessee Baptists are being encouraged through this emphasis to see the overwhelming needs and spiritual lostness in OUR mission field – Tennessee. Here are some things you need to know.
- An estimated four million people in Tennessee are unchurched/spiritually lost.
- Tennessee is home to approximately 143 different 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.
- There are 132,000 people in corrective services in Tennessee.
- Approximately 2,700-2,800 Tennessee Baptist churches are plateaued or declining.
- 30-40 Tennessee Baptist churches close every year.
- Each year, between 500-2,000 refugees are resettled in Tennessee from over 20 different countries.
- Tennessee has 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.
- 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.
- Each month, 94 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, looking up from the distractions around us, having Gospel conversations, and meeting needs through the love of Christ.
Our contributions through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions provide invaluable financial support for Tennessee ministries like disaster relief, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, compassion ministries, Jesus Tent at Bonnaroo, 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.