“Cooperative missions has a name and a face — actually, tens of thousands of them,” Paul Chitwood, president of the International Mission Board (IMB), said. “They are the names and faces of Southern Baptist missionaries who have been sharing the Gospel among the nations for the past 174 years.”
Connecting those faces of the real people who are on the field to the financial resources needed to keep them there is what drives congregational giving.
Peyton Hill, pastor of First Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., found this to be true as he planned his church’s giving goals for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
Hill wanted to answer the question, How can we go further with our giving?
The hurdle comes when the giving is not viewed as tangible — when there is no personal connection between the money and the ministry.
While IMB missionaries make real moves in ministry every day, not every congregation grasps that reality in their weekly giving.
Hill wanted that to change. His goal was to connect the giving with specific, entire missionary units. A missionary unit refers to the support of an entire missionary effort, whether that be a single person, a family or a couple.
The average cost to support one missionary unit for an entire year through the IMB is $62,000.
Hill’s challenge to his church was to support two entire missionary units, a financial goal of $124,000.
Making the personal connection between the finances and the ministry gave the congregation a whole new motivation and inspiration to give. The goal was to put names and faces on the giving.
By defining so precisely where the money given would go and how it would impact the Gospel being spread, Hill saw his church rise up and get excited about giving again.
“The church just ran with it,” Hill said.
Other congregations and pastors latched onto the idea of personalizing the offering by connecting the funds with complete missionary units.
“When we learned that it takes $62,000 on average to support one missionary on the field, our plans changed,” Marshall Blalock, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charleston, S.C., said. “Making the personal connection to fully fund one missionary as a church family is both a joy and a challenge for us.”
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Source: Baptist Press