The year 2020 changed the course of history as the world was engulfed in a global pandemic. Words like “coronavirus” and “COVID-19” entered our vocabularies, while practices like masking, social distancing and quarantines became part of our lifestyles. Businesses folded, economies crashed, hospitals surpassed capacities and schools closed. Sadly, COVID-19 caused approximately 375,000 deaths in the United States alone in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control. North Carolina was not immune to the heartache.

But for a moment, consider a tragedy that’s more horrific, more crippling and more devastating than COVID. It’s the global pandemic of lostness. The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention tells us that nearly 155,000 people die every day without Christ. That means around the world, more people enter eternity without Christ every 2.5 days than the total number of people who died of COVID-19 in the United States in all of 2020. That equates to more than 55.5 million people who die each year without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Stop, and let that sink in.

Yet in the face of such staggering spiritual death, North Carolina Baptists have not attacked this spiritual pandemic as we should. Did you know that in 2019, only 50% of North Carolina Baptist churches reported giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering? This is the one offering in Southern Baptist life specifically devoted to attacking global, spiritual darkness, but only 50% of N.C. Baptist churches reported giving to it. Our Lord deserves better, and our Lord demands better.

Nearly 155,000 people die every day without Christ.

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commanded us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (NKJV). Being obedient to the Great Commission means every believer and every church has a responsibility and role in reaching the nations.

So this year the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is issuing a challenge to be a part of “Every Church 2021.” This challenge is a call for every North Carolina Baptist church — large or small, rural or urban, regardless of language or ethnicity — to give to this year’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and join the “Every Church 2021” movement.

Normally received by Southern Baptist churches in the month of December, this vital offering supports more than 3,600 missionaries who proclaim the gospel around the world. In 2019, the most recent year of comprehensive reporting, these missionaries engaged more than 1,200 people groups and urban centers with the gospel, and they facilitated planting nearly 12,400 new churches.

Come on, North Carolina Baptist pastor! This year, let’s step up to the challenge. Let’s be obedient to the Lord. Let’s lead our churches to attack this deadly, spiritual pandemic by giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. In the weeks ahead, the state convention will be producing and sharing videos, social media graphics and other promotional resources to help you lead your church in giving to this critical offering.

Will you make a private, personal commitment to the Lord to lead your congregation to give? Imagine the eternal impact we could have if every North Carolina Baptist church committed to give. Commit today, and lead your church to be a part of “Every Church 2021.”