LMCO marks third largest offering in historycomment (0)
June 13, 2013
Southern Baptists gave $149.3 million to the 2012 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. It surpassed the 2011 offering of $146.8 million by more than $2.4 million and marked the third-highest amount given in the offering’s 124-year history.
Speaking on behalf of missionaries across the globe, International Mission Board (IMB) President Tom Elliff expressed gratitude to God for the generosity of Southern Baptists.
“The significance of the Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions, promoted each year in partnership with national Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), can only be understood in light of eternity,” Elliff said. “[The 2012] offering, showing an increase during financially challenging days for our nation, is a reminder that missions is the stack pole around which Southern Baptists place their hearts, afire for the gospel.”
Southern Baptists’ missions giving is “the clear, undeniable barometer of our passion,” Elliff said, noting that “nothing would so urge God to turn His face away from our convention, its churches and people as a loss of zeal for fulfilling the Great Commission.”
Although recent statistics show a decline of 2.4 percent in overall giving among Southern Baptist churches, Elliff expressed optimism about this increase in their continued missions support.
“I pray this year’s offering is an unmistakable indication that in coming days Southern Baptists will give, go and carry the gospel together — to the ends of the earth,” he said.
Wanda Lee, WMU executive director-treasurer, also expressed gratitude to Southern Baptists for the increase.
“We were excited to hear about the significant increase of $2.4 million over last year’s receipts for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering,” Lee said. “How exciting, after four years of economic challenges, to see Southern Baptists continue to increase their giving to our international missions offering. While we are grateful for this third-largest offering in our history, we are still praying for individuals and churches to understand the biblical call to stewardship and sacrificial giving that will enable more to go and more to hear the wonderful story of Jesus.”
Along with Southern Baptists’ regular giving through the Cooperative Program, the Lottie Moon offering, named for Southern Baptists’ most famous missionary, supports nearly 4,900 missionaries worldwide. It funds salaries, housing, medical care and children’s education. Supporting one missionary overseas costs an average of nearly $50,000 per year — or $136 per day.
Most important, Lottie Moon support made it possible for IMB missionaries, working with their ministry partners around the globe, to communicate the gospel to more than 1.4 million people, lead more than 337,000 to faith in Christ, baptize 266,451 new believers and start more than 24,000 churches, according to IMB’s most recent annual statistical report in 2011.
Though the 2012 offering fell short of the $175-million national goal, “We are grateful first and foremost to the Lord for all that He provides,” said David Steverson, IMB treasurer and vice president for finance. “We have confidence that He knows just exactly what we need and also knows exactly when we need it. We are grateful that He chooses to use Southern Baptists in such a great way to provide the support we need.”
The offering marked the fourth-straight annual increase since the 2008 offering — which fell about 6 percent below the previous year’s total as the global economic downturn that year was felt by churches. The overall giving trend since then has been on the upswing, but “only marginally,” Steverson said.
The Lottie Moon Offering goal for 2013 is $175 million.