RICHMOND, Va. (BP) – Southern Baptist church members gave $156.6 million to support international missionaries in 2018-2019, the third-highest Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions ever received.
“Because you and your church gave through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, you are a part of reaching the unreached in every nation,” said IMB President Paul Chitwood. “When you make LMCO a priority in your church, by God’s grace, we see the numbers rise exponentially of those who meet Jesus for the first time, of those who follow our Lord in baptism, and of new churches planted.”
IMB closed the books for the 2018-19 offering Sept. 30, and the Lottie Moon offering exceeded by $2.2 million the 174-year-old organization’s 2018-19 LMCO budgeted goal of $154.4 million, Rodney Freeman, IMB’s treasurer and chief financial officer, reported. IMB also received $99.3 million from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program for 2018-19.
Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director of national Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), reflected on sacrificial giving to international missions efforts. She related a quote dated 100 years ago as printed in the December 1919 issue of Home and Foreign Fields: “I wish to seek by my life and by my money, as far as I can, to glorify God in the salvation of the lost and the construction of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, so that God’s will may be done in all the earth.”
Wisdom-Martin said, “One hundred years later, that continues to be the testimony of Southern Baptists as evidenced by their generous gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.”
The Lottie Moon offering supports nearly 3,700 full-time missionaries, who are sharing the Gospel in towns, villages and cities around the world. This year’s offering accounts for nearly three-fourths of IMB’s overseas budget. The overseas budget provides both ministry funds and missionary support, including missionary salaries, housing, medical care, children’s education, field transportation and other expenses. The remainder of the overseas budget is funded through regular giving by churches to the Cooperative Program.