By Randy C. Davis
President and executive director, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
Just look across our state, our country and around the world. We live in days of constant change, high anxiety and rampant fear. In fact, a recent Lifeway Research study found that the feeling people most wanted to avoid, and are most concerned with, is fear. That’s the first time fear has topped the list of the ongoing study.
People feel everything they looked to for life stability is unsettled and spinning out of control. They seek answers but find responses with no substance. What passes for truth is often relative and where they seek peace is often destructive.
There is only one source for the truth that brings hope, stability and peace, and that source is Jesus Christ, “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
That’s the theme of the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions this year: “The same Jesus, sharing hope and truth.” I’ve said countless times that any way you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field. The physical and spiritual needs are overwhelming. Our state is in unprecedented transition with people from all over the country and the world settling in Tennessee. So many don’t know Jesus and research also shows that more than 70 percent have never had the gospel explained to them by a Christian.
But with unprecedented transition comes unprecedented opportunity. There is no greater time in history for Christians to rally and be prolific witnesses to the love, life and peace found in following Jesus as His disciple.
Fortunately, many Tennessee Baptists are not only doing that but supporting that effort through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions. Just this year through GOTM, your financial support has provided an ultrasound machine for a crisis pregnancy center where mothers are hearing the heartbeats of their babies and choosing to keep their children rather than abort them. We hope GOTM funds can continue to provide more ultrasound machines to crisis pregnancy centers across Tennessee in the future. As Tennessee Baptists, we will stand for life.
But your giving has also brought new life to churches through the church revitalization process, helped with compassion ministries that have served some of the most underserved people in our state while also enabling them to hear a clear gospel witness, many of them for the first time.
And on it goes. The Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions is to Tennessee what the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is to the International Mission Board and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is to the North American Mission Board. Every penny you give through GOTM is distributed through Tennessee Baptist ministries to serve the people of Tennessee. Every penny. Not a dime goes toward administrative overhead.
The pandemic year was difficult on everyone, and GOTM giving took a dip after years of exponential growth. However, Tennessee Baptists were still faithful givers, and the result is in transformed lives. Our GOTM planning team was so encouraged with how Tennessee Baptists stayed the course through a challenging year that they dared to ask the question for this year, “Could this be the year we break the $2 million mark, crush the $2.1 million goal, and fund the greatest push to share Jesus with all of Tennessee?”
That’s a huge vision and a God-sized goal. Personally, I believe we can do it as we work together for such a cause as seeing our spiritually lost family, friends and neighbors saved, baptized and set on the road to discipleship. But before you reach for your wallets, let me ask you to pray. All great movements of God, whether movements of generosity or sweeping movements of the Holy Spirit, began with prayer.
The 2021-22 Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions and Season of Prayer for State Missions kicks off Sept. 1 with a suggested date for the Week of Prayer Sept. 12-19. Ask God to guide your sacrificial giving. Pray that He’ll revive believers and churches across our state to have a renewed passion to reach people for our unchanging Jesus. Pray that He’ll multiply GOTM funds so that the most strategic ministry opportunities are fully funded.
I believe this is a great time to be a Tennessee Baptist. I believe we are on the precipice with a view to see God do some amazing things in our state through our churches. And I’m excited for what we can do together through GOTM. We truly do have the Answer for an unsettled world.
As always, it truly is my joy to be with you on this journey. B&R