Each year prior to the SBC annual meeting the IMB reports the total for the previous year’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.
The $153 million is a huge sum but is about one million dollars less than last year’s record total of $154 million. The decrease is less than one percent.
As a pastor, I always led my churches to try and give a little more. Almost always, they responded. I know things have changed in SBC life and that the LMCO, while important, does not carry the same priority with churches that it once did. I wish it did. The LMCO is the best way to spend a missions dollar in my view.
A few of things leave me flummoxed about pastors, churches, and mission spending these days:
1. I know some churches that promote an overseas mission offering and send it all to the IMB as if it were LMCO. I don’t understand why church leadership doesn’t promote it as the LMCO for International Missions. Seems to me that every generation of SBC members has to be educated. Why not make it a continual process even in a church that isn’t old line SBC but likes SBC missions?
2. Some churches partner directly with IMB and give heavily. I presume that this stream of income is not reported as LM. Perhaps this impacts the LMCO total.
3. It is within reach for even the smallest SBC church or individual to participate directly in “overseas” missions and ministry. I hardly hear of a church that doesn’t tout the fact that they send groups to Honduras, or Haiti, or India, or West Africa or other destination. Some partner with IMB ensuring that strategic goals are being served along with continuity in the work. It is not politically and ecclesiastically correct to say it but Southern Baptists fritter many millions on mission travel that has little or no impact on Kingdom work.
4. I appreciate that IMB is positive about whatever amount they receive from Southern Baptists. I, on the other hand, am entitled to express some disappointment.
5. Changes are coming to the missions funding model that we have had for generations. I wonder what such will entail.
To those here who gave and whose churches gave, I commend you for investing in global missions in the best way possible. If not as hot and sexy a topic as transgenderism or politics, the LMCO ought at least to be acknowledged in any SBC-oriented site.