Many things come to mind when I think of North Carolina Baptists, but one word that rises to the top is generosity. North Carolina Baptists are generous people, and I don’t take for granted the prayers, the personal involvement through volunteer missions and the financial contributions you make to support missions and ministry efforts in our state, nation and world.
Among the many things we celebrated at our recent annual meeting was the faithful generosity of North Carolina Baptists in their financial support of missions through the Cooperative Program and other special offerings including the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) for international missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions. Support of Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) causes from N.C. Baptist churches last year totaled more than $31.3 million, which was the highest total in our state convention’s history. That figure represented 65% of our total missions receipts. To God be the glory!
As we approach the Christmas season, I want to encourage North Carolina Baptists to once again join me in praying for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and seek the Lord about how you as an individual and how your local congregation might support this special offering this year. As I travel to our different churches, I am pleased to see all the red boxes that individuals and families are filling so these gifts can be distributed to children in countries around our world by Samaritan’s Purse, which is affiliated with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. I want to emphasize that it is equally important that we challenge our people to also financially support the work we are doing through the LMCO.
On a personal note, I am pleased to inform you that it seems every missionary, every state executive director and every Southern Baptist that I talk with about International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood is excited and thankful that Dr. Chitwood is leading the work of our International Mission Board. My wife Gloria and I feel blessed to personally know Paul and Michelle Chitwood, and we are thrilled that he is our IMB president. He is a man of prayer and passion to reach the nations with the gospel. God is using him to help Southern Baptists increase the number of SBC missionaries so we can help fulfil the Great Commission in reaching the nations with the gospel.
The International Mission Board has designated Dec. 1-8 as a week of prayer for international missions and this year’s offering. This national offering goal for 2019 is $165 million.
A number of free resources related to this year’s offering are available online at imb.org/lmco. These resources include prayer points, videos in multiple languages, offering kits and more to help you pray for and promote the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in your church.
Every dollar that’s given to the Lottie Moon offering goes directly to support the work of the more than 3,600 active international missionaries. Many of them are serving in dangerous mission fields where few, if any, people have ever heard the name of Jesus. In the past year alone, nearly 850 people groups were engaged through the work of the IMB.
“Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” — 1 Chronicles 16:24 (NKJV)