So much follows that statement.
Because you gave, people across our state are hearing and responding to the gospel, being discipled, planting new churches or are part of a revitalization process at their current church.
Baptist Collegiate Ministries are reaching college students, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief teams and other compassion ministries are serving people in their greatest hours of need, crisis pregnancy centers are being supported, and so much more.
I’ve said for years that any way you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field. And because you gave, together we are reaching our mission field for Jesus Christ.
This year you have given in record amounts out of abundant generosity. We’ve reached the GOTM giving goal For the first time in 15 years and have gone beyond $2 million to set a new record. That represents about 20 percent growth in the GOTM total over the past five years. Keep going! We have about six weeks remaining in this current GOTM fiscal year so if you haven’t had the opportunity to be a part of history, there is still time.
When we release our GOTM promotional videos every year we try to show how your giving is making a difference. Basically, help you see the Kingdom return on your financial investment.
One of the ways you’ve made an impact is in helping plant the first Afghan church in Tennessee. Many Afghans have relocated to the Memphis area, and as you may know, 99.7 percent of all Afghans are Muslim.
However, Pastor Latif Salar is nurturing a budding congregation that holds services every week in their heart language. Brother Latif was a devout Muslim, having been on the annual pilgrimage to Mecca seven times, but began his journey toward saving faith in Jesus Christ through the testimony of a Syrian believer who risked his life to share the gospel with Latif.
Latif has been beaten and tortured along the way but now lives in Memphis and multiple times a week broadcasts via the internet Bible studies into Afghanistan and other Muslim countries. Daily he hears from Muslims across Central Asia and the Middle East who are coming to Christ for salvation as a result of hearing his messages. His good work is continuing locally in planting a church with the help of Tennessee Baptists and their Golden Offering Giving.
And then there is Paul Stouder. Paul was a freshman at Tennessee Tech when he wandered over to a BCM worship service being held in the parking lot. Paul thought it would be a way to blend into the crowd but still learn something about Christianity. That was the gateway. Paul got involved in BCM, came to saving faith in Christ and was discipled by Tech BCM minister Ben Maddox.
It was through BCM that Paul experienced his calling to vocational ministry and eventually met his wife. He’ll tell you that every major event in his adult life was impacted by BCM. Paul now serves as associate pastor at FBC Carthage, under the leadership of another Tech BCM alum, Tim Frank (1978-1982).
Tennessee Baptists had a hand in Paul’s journey (and that of countless others like him) because Tennessee Baptists support the Golden Offering which in turn supports BCM ministry.
The stories go on and on of how Golden Offering funds positively impact the people of our state for Christ. But we can’t rest on what we’ve done. We’ve got to press forward. The spiritual and physical needs in Tennessee are too great. We must work while it is day.
I want to offer you three challenges. The GOTM theme for this coming year, which begins Sept. 1, is “Do a new thing.” We’ve got to be bold for Christ or the wave of spiritually lost people will continue to grow exponentially faster than the number of people coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
The first challenge is to pray that God will give you eyes to see your community in a new way, ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and creativity, then start something new that draws your local body of believers into the marketplace for the purpose of advancing the gospel. The TBMB is here to help in any way we can.
The second challenge is to give sacrificially through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions so that together we can strengthen the effort to win Tennessee for Christ. Our GOTM goal for next year is $2.3 million on our way to a $3 million dollar goal in 2024.
The third challenge is for churches that may not have given before through GOTM. Would you join us? GOTM is to Tennessee what Lottie Moon is to the International Mission Board. Every dime of GOTM giving is utilized for great commission work here in our state.
Tennessee Baptists, I want to again say thank you. Because you gave people are being saved, lives are being changed, Jesus is being exalted and God is being glorified. But let’s not slow down. There is too much at stake.
After all, any way you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field.