The International Mission Board recognized the 100 Southern Baptist churches that gave the largest gift to the 2001 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Also announced were the top 10 givers of the 41 Baptist state conventions and fellowships. Altogether, $113.7 million was gathered from the offering, which pushed the 114-years old offering, which was named after a missionary who died giving the gospel to the Chinese, to $2.2 billion.
Southern Baptist churches are now receiving the 2002 Lottie Moon Offering, having the goal set to $125 million. The money will be used to support the 5,500 missionaries on the board. This year the offering is more important than ever since the number of Southern Baptist churches overseas mission service is increasing faster than what is given from churches.
"The missionary force is growing three times faster than receipts coming through the Lottie Moon offering and the Cooperative Program [the Southern Baptist Convention's unified funding channel]," IMB President Jerry Rankin said.
"Lottie Moon's passion to rally Southern Baptists to sacrificial giving is perhaps more relevant today than in her lifetime because reaching the world with the gospel is truly possible in this generation."
Just recently, the International Mission Board accepted a $290.1 million budget for 2003; this is the largest budget the board had ever dealt with. The board is anticipating a $21.3 million increase in Lottie Moon Christmas Offering receipts and $6.5 million increase in giving through the Cooperative Program, the Southern Baptist Convention's unified budget for next year.
By Tony C.