For any of you that know me, you know my passion for missions. I have closely worked with International Mission Board (IMB) personnel (Southern Baptist Convention), particularly in Asia, for the last couple of decades. It pains me that the IMB is currently cutting the largest missions force in the world by 600-800 people due to decreased giving. Now is the time for our churches to give more than ever before to insure that the gospel is reaching the ends of the world. Below are some ways your church can strive to increase awareness and giving through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions.
God deserves the worship of all people, and that is why we send to the nations.
Prayerfully commit to More Than Ever Before (MTEB). Pray for a spirit of generosity and sacrifice to engulf your people.
Research, then set the goal.
Discover your church’s largest gift to date to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO). This information is usually reported each year on your church’s Annual Church Profile. Together with church leadership, set a MTEB goal for the church. Consider a goal of…
- “More Than Ever Before.”
- $51,400 – The cost to keep one missionary family on the field for one year.
- $4,283 – The cost to keep one missionary family on the field for one month.
- Remember – make a “God-sized” goal, step out on faith, challenge your people. If you challenge them, they will respond!
Plan your LMCO promo.
Plan to promote the offering in every worship service, in your Bible study groups, discipleship groups, senior adult and student ministry gatherings, choir rehearsals – promote the offering throughout the church’s ministry. Remember, use every opportunity to bathe the offering in prayer. Prayer is essential!! Ask God to move upon the church to do “More Than Ever Before.”
- Plan to preach a multi-week sermon series on the biblical imperative of reaching the nations with the Gospel. Consider passages such as Genesis 12, Matthew 28, Acts 1, Romans 1, Romans 15, Revelation 5, etc. . Help your people see in scripture God’s heart for the nations!
- You can find excellent promotional resources entitled, Because of Who He Is, available at IMB.org. Utilize all the resources, especially the videos to encourage and challenge your people. (website incomplete currently–more resources being added in the next few days)
- Consider hosting a missionary on Stateside Assignment for a Sunday service. They could preach about global disciple-making or simply share a testimony about the impact of the LMCO on their ministry. Remember to cover their travel expenses. (The Office of Great Commission Partnerships at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina can help you contact missionaries in your area. For assistance contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Consider Skyping with an IMB missionary during a morning worship service.
- Utilize testimonies of those from within your congregation who have served in the field with IMB missionaries during a short-term mission trip.
Issue a personal giving challenge to your people.
Challenge your people to give the largest personal gift they have ever given to the LMCO. Your church can’t give her largest offering if your people don’t give their largest offering.
- Consider challenging families to give $988, the amount needed to keep a missionary family on the field for one week, or…
- Consider challenging families to make their gift to the LMCO of greater value than the cost of all Christmas gifts given within the family. In 2014, the average American family spent $781 on Christmas gifts or…
- Consider challenging your families to make their gift to the LMCO equal to one month’s rent or mortgage payment on their home.
As you challenge them to give, challenge them to pray. They need God to provide a way for them to give “More Than Ever Before.” Remember, prayer is essential!!
Pastor and staff families must set the example and model sacrificial giving.
Announce to your people four weeks before the offering is received, the sacrifice your family will be making. Let your folks know your family will give “$988 to keep a missionary on the field for one week” or you will give, “an amount equal to our mortgage payment.” When your people see your sacrifice they will follow your sacrificial example.
Help your people think through ways God might choose to provide extra income for their offering.
Identify ways adults, teenagers and children can sacrifice for the LMCO.
- Adults can sacrifice their time by working an extra shift or two, donating the extra income as a part of their offering.
- Students can sacrifice their time providing childcare during the Christmas season or lawn care, donating the extra income as a part of their offering.
- Families can have a “Garage/Yard Sale,” donating the proceeds as a part of their offering.
- Children can give their allowance.
- Remember to remind your folks not to forget good old fashion sacrifice.
Receive the offering as an act of worship.
Plan a special Sunday morning service where everyone gives their offering on the same day, as a unified act of worship unto the Father.
- Consider a “March to the Manger” where families come to the altar together and lay their offering in a make shift manger. Such a “parade of giving” can be a powerful moment of worship for every church family.
- Count the offering, announce the total, and celebrate all that God has done. Offer to the Father a prayer of thanksgiving! Remember, prayer is essential!!
Thanks to Chuck Register, executive leader of the Church Planting and Missions Development Group for the Baptist State Convention of NC for writing this guide.
This guide is available in a downloadable PDF here.
See also: 12 Ways to Assist Returning Southern Baptist Missionaries