Good news: Lottie Moon Offering expected to be an increase over last year (by William Thornton)

by Guest Blogger on May 19, 2014 · 21 comments

William Thornton is the SBC Plodder

The International Mission Board will announce the 2013 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions at the convention next month but is “estimating a $3-5 million increase” over the $149.3 million offering for 2012. This would mean the largest Lottie Moon offering in history, something around $153 million. In 2006 and 2007 the LMCO went above $150 million but not since and never above $150.4 million.

While the offering is short of the $175 million goal, the unrealistic goal that was set in 2009 and kept each year since, it is a healthy increase and one that should be celebrated by Southern Baptists who are concerned about sharing the Gospel around the world.

Let’s be candid here. There has not been much financial news in Southern Baptist life lately that is positive. A Lottie Moon offering of $153 million, an increase of a few million over the previous year, is not breathtaking (the LMCO increased by over $12 million in 2006 and by almost $21 million in 2003, both pre-economic crisis years) but it is significant. It shows a greater degree of commitment to international missions than to other parts of Southern Baptist life.

With Cooperative Program receipts flat or declining and LMCO receipts increasing only slightly (a $4 million increase over 2012 is about 2.5%) the IMB is looking at different methods of funding international missions. More on that later.

1 Dave Miller May 19, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Perhaps it’s not time to sing the Hallelujah Chorus, but it is good to hear a bit of good statistical news from time to time.

2 D. L. Payton May 19, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Dave

You are right it is not time to sing the Hallelujah Chorus, but it would be in order to as least hum the bass part. We would like to see more, but this is good. I agree it is good to see a positive in the financial area.

Thank you for posting this

3 dr. james willingham May 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Remember: our members, the masses of them, that is, are unemployed. This is due to the end of tobacco, the textile mills, and the furniture factories as well as the automobile assembly lines (try flying arms of robots). All of this is due to automation, computerization, and robotics, and it is only going to get worse, if God does not do something to really help the average, common man. Don’t know yet where the 3-D printer thing will go, but I understand that it spells the end of the factory system in China and elsewhere altogether. The talk about getting rid of the excess population is troubling. The idea of going to the stars sounds much more attractive, a way to handle the excess population, a new frontier sure enough. Add the multitudes of converts in the next 20,000-900,000 years on a quadrillion new planets and well you get the idea that Revelation 7:9 might be literal.

4 Andy May 19, 2014 at 2:54 pm

You keep talking about going to the stars and other planets…do you have a website somewhere that explains what you are talking about more fully?

Thanks,

5 dr. james willingham May 20, 2014 at 9:01 am

Dear Andy: I do not have a website explaining such things. Just google warp drive, William lyne (you will find a lot of criticisms of him), ralph ring, tesla, T. Townsend Brown, UFOs, electro-magnetic propulsion, electro-static propulsion, and make use of the videos on youtube for these subjects…where you can often here the people involved speaking in their own language. If you want to open a dialogue with me, my email is jimwillingham@centurylink.net However, I have some limitations on my time, having to care for an invalid wife. Once you contact me, we can exchange phone numbers and can talk about the matter.

6 Andy May 20, 2014 at 9:20 am

I don’t have the time to investigate this much, but what I read from William Lyne tells me I don’t need to go any further.

Suffice to say it seems that God’s revelation about the future involves heaven coming down to earth, not vise versa. If people end up going to other planets, fine. Apparently it’s not something God though we needed to know.

7 Dale Pugh May 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Revelation 7:9, figuratively OR literally, says nothing at all about “multitudes of converts in the next 20,000-900,000 years on a quadrillion new planets.” I seriously doubt that our Lottie Moon offerings will one day “go where no man has gone before.”

8 dr. james willingham May 20, 2014 at 9:03 am

Say, don’t you folks know about the Bible being inspired the Omniscient God which means that it must reflect the depth of wisdom commensurate with that fact, inerrant and infallible? Our problem is we lack the wherewithal of grasping that depth, and that is one of the reasons why God demands that we wait on His timing.

9 Dale Pugh May 20, 2014 at 9:18 am

Dr. J, your uninspired interpretation of the inspired Word is what is in question here. Not God’s Word. Let’s drop it and leave it at that. Okay?

10 Dean Stewart May 19, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Dr. J,
You have got to lay off the peyote in the afternoons. ;)

11 dr. james willingham May 20, 2014 at 9:06 am

Dear Dean: the only drugs I take are those prescribed by the doctors. Not exactly the kind designed to make you see angels and hear birds singing. More likely to upset one’s stomach on their way to treating the heart. My perspectives on the depth of scripture developed out of six years of research in church history (well actually much longer), training in Intellectual History (the Bible is the world’s supremely intellectual book) and professional counseling besides my theology degrees.

12 Andy May 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I’ll be the first to point out the obvious so no one else has to:

Many churches, especially since the GCR, are intentionally decreasing their CP and increasing their Lottie Moon giving at the same time, so the numbers are not surprising, and this quote from the OP nails it on the head:

“It shows a greater degree of commitment to international missions than to other parts of Southern Baptist life.”

13 William Thornton May 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I’ve been noting that trend for several years now both on my blog and on occasion here. Don’t think the denominational and state convention leadership are unaware of the trend.

The CP in particular has not recovered from the economic meltdown either in real dollars or percent of church offerings whereas LM and Annie Armstrong have shown modest growth, nothing spectacular. Churches look at the CP think it is a great system but do not see any compelling reason to increase their giving. Other causes win the opportunity cost evaluation and decision.

There is no leader in SBC life who is talking about the CP with any vision for improvement. Frank Page has an increase plan but hasn’t put forth any new vision to make it more attractive or compelling.

14 Tarheel May 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Yep.

15 D. L. Payton May 19, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Andy

You make a very valid assessment. People will give to causes that speak to their heart and mind. It this case it seems to be International missions.

The question becomes; Why? What is being said or done that causes folks to give to International missions. If we can answer that question and apply the answer to other areas i.e. stateside missions then perhaps good increases will come there as well. My point is simply people have more to give than what is given to LMCO. They simple need to hear a good reason to do so and be convinced of its validity.

16 William Thornton May 19, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Whatever the imperfections of the IMB, SBCers recognize the far greater need for the Gospel in places where it has little or no voice. It hasn’t helped state side missions that NAMB was dysfunctional for a decade or so before Ezell with two failed leaders, legacy allocation schemes that showed a departure from reality, and big messes to clean up.

While I’m at it, how many pastors here who live in the legacy SBC states where their state convention has undergone severe budget cuts have noticed much change at the local church level? Nothing personal in all this. The CP is approaching 90, the convention 170, and were structured for the mid-20th century.

But I am pleased that SBCers recognize and respond to international needs.

17 D. L. Payton May 19, 2014 at 4:27 pm

William T

Good comments. You are correct, it has been hard to get behind NAMB with what has gone on in the past.

What can be done to see more support for state side work? Do you think the church planting emphasis will do the trick?

18 William Thornton May 19, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Don’t know. I like the idea, the requiring of all planters to have an SBC sponsor church, the beefed up training, and the promise of honest statistics and reporting. SEND-NA is the only SBC program these days that shows much enthusiasm.

19 D. L. Payton May 19, 2014 at 5:17 pm

William T

Yes good strides have been made in church plating. This is very much a positive. I do have some concern about the lack of emphasis on existing churches especially in the health area. One could argue that this lack of emphasis could reflect negatively on church planting.

20 Adam Blosser May 20, 2014 at 8:40 am

Praise God!

21 dr. james willingham June 28, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I had forgotten about this particular blog, and so I did not follow up on answering my critics. As to William Lyne, what he has to say dovetails with a lot of information that I have garnered from a multitude of sources. This is not to say he is right all the time, but he does have something to say that appears to be worth considering. Along with him there are the comments of Ralph Ring whose remarks I shall leave to be considered. And then there is T. Townsend Brown, Otis Carr (that Ring mentions), Nikola Tesla the really big cheese, along with Brown and Carr as followers, and there are others. I should observe that Miguel Alcubierre, a physicist at the Univ. of Mexico, presented the theory for warp drive in ’94. The only problem with his presentation is that in ’93 the late Ben Rich, the head of the Skunk Works of Lockheed which developed the Stealth Fighters, etc., said to the graduating class of UCLA, “We already had the means to go to the stars….” Really, well I had figured, from having learned to think out side the box, that we had tried to go to the stars in the early 40s. That reflection fitted nicely with an observation made by Lyne in West Texas in ’43. Two folks associated with the intelligence community, more or less, confirmed my reflections, except one noted that it was the early 40s and not the early 50s (they had a problem at the time, it seems. They did not know there was a gravity warp between the earth and the moon so they did not know where the ship went, when they launched it.).

As to the time involved, 20,000 to 900,000 years that is based upon the conflation of a number of verses (think of a man dying at the age of 100 being considered a child…I’ll let you look that one up.” And as to Rev.7:9, it says “no one will be able to number the redeemed.” Really? Really! Add to that the verses foretelling the Gospel occupying the whole earth and then that the angels gather the elect from one end of the heaven to the other (Mt.24:31). You might want to read and plead the prophecies and promises recorded in Jonathan Edwards’ Humble Attempt which inspired the Great Century of Missions or the modern missionary movement plus, likely, the Second Great Awakening, at least from 1800-1820. You ought to see the conniption kitties that made the folks have who think they run the world. Look at Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope to see their beliefs and what beliefs they oppose.

And Andy there is more to the truth of “Heaven coming down to earth” than you have imagined. Just note the two references to our Lord’s coming to us in Jn.14: They are in the present tense, but rendered by the KJV as though future. Haw! Future my eye. And then there is the issue of where the heart and center of Heaven is located. Tried Hebs.12:22ff.

You all might want to consider I Chron. 16:15 about a thousand generations along with the length of such generations. It might well be that the folks who are bringing us our present wars will finally turn their attention to us in concentration camps, etc., and we will find that Heaven does indeed or, rather, has indeed come down to earth or is indeed coming down to earth. Imagine how the presence of God Himself in just a little inkling of His awesome reality can melt the hearts of unbelief, turn atheists from their idiocies (I speak as one to whom such happened. Check with D.L. above as he has knowledge of it.

Dale, my interpretations are, of course, uninspired just like yours. The only question open to us is this: “Whose interpretation comes the closest to reflecting what the Bible actually teaches?” And Dean: There is no drug more blinding than the kind that is composed of ideas making a filter through which we interpret the word of God instead of letting it say exactly what God wants it to say. Just think of how about three hundred or so years ago, a plan was made to get a certain institution off the hook of being considered the antichrist and now we no longer look on them as such (which might well be true), but we are looking now for some individual instead of an institution or a movement, etc. You all should read the biography of C.I. Scofield by the late David Lutzweiler. There is more, much more, but just try to get Edwards’ Humble Attempt adopted as a manual for a prayer meeting to last for years and see how you do and the opposition you will encounter….and yet that is the work that produced our missionary movement. O yes, and try to figure out, if you can, how the doctrines of grace are evangelistic and missionary and more so than any other views set forth by so many others…!

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