‘The harvest is plentiful …’

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”  Matthew 9:37

I was overwhelmed by the response.

Last fall the Board of Trustees for the Missouri Baptist Foundation decided they wanted to demonstrate their commitment to Christian higher education and to the students.  (We are so blessed to have three great Baptist Universities in our state, each led by a capable Christian scholar/administrator; plus, we have the unique benefit of an SBC Seminary in Missouri as well, and one that is in revival!)  So, the board decided to create seven new scholarships valued at $2,000 each to a cross section of Missouri Baptist students who are pursuing a degree.

One scholarship was available for Missouri Baptist students attending each of the four schools as follows: Hannibal-LaGrange University, Missouri Baptist University, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Southwest Baptist University.  Another was offered to a child or family who were fostering, or had adopted through the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, one was offered to a child of a Missouri Baptist pastor or church staff member and a final one was offered to a child of an employee of The Baptist Home.

I hoped we would receive a couple of applications for each scholarship.  To my surprise, when it was all said and done, we heard from 54 students who were articulating their desire for Christian higher education and their financial needs.  We were both encouraged and concerned, such great need, while limited in resources.

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I wish I could read you the stories of these students! They shared their calling and rationale for wanting to go to a Christian college, how it would impact them and in turn, impact the world.  Our hearts were stirred and so the Board decided to take an unprecedented step.  The MBF board would offer all 54 applying students a scholarship! 

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Now, we were only prepared to fund 7 scholarships at $2000 each, not all 54.  So, the MBF board has set aside additional funds for the remaining 47 students to receive a $250 scholarship.  While I know it will not go very far toward their educational expenses (I have three of my immediate family engaged in education pursuits and understand the cost) we are at least giving to encourage the Baptist students among us.

Maybe you would like to help a student next year.  Maybe you attended a Christian College and know the value or wished you would have attended one.  Perhaps you can help a student now.  There are lots of ways you can help, one way is to make a contribution directly to the institution of your choice and earmark it for student scholarships. 

Or maybe you might want to consider creating a Donor Advised Fund. These potentially tax-advantaged funds allow you to contribute any amount of money either once or on an ongoing basis, which can then be distributed to the ministries in which you are most interested.

Can you imagine the impact on our world if every student who wanted to go to one of our Baptist universities received a $2,000 scholarship from us?  Come join the harvest.  Contact the Missouri Baptist Foundation today and join us in making a difference in the life of a student.

Dr. Neil Franks, president of the Missouri Baptist Foundation, is available to help you or your church plan your intentional generosity.

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