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The International Mission Offering: What Is It, And Why Does It Matter?

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The International Mission Offering: What Is It, And Why Does It Matter?

by Andrew Brafford on December 17, 2018

The International Mission Offering is quickly approaching, and it's more important than ever to be educated about what it is, why it exists, and why Parkwood places such a heavy emphasis on it. You'll find all the answers to those questions below, and hopefully walk away with a greater desire to be used by God through this offering.


What is the International Mission Offering? What is its origin?

The International Mission Offering is an annual offering which uses 100% of its receipts to send and support international missionaries and their work. The offering is historically known to Southern Baptists as the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering because it is in honor of Lottie Moon, a missionary to China from 1872 until her death in 1912, and because it is received every year at Christmas. How do Lottie, Christmas, and the Offering go together? You can read David Brady’s answer below and find links to a podcast and other information about Lottie Moon and the origin of the International Mission Offering here.

David Brady writes:

For Southern Baptists, Lottie Moon and Christmas go together as naturally as presents and wrapping paper. But many of us have not considered the reasons we connect Lottie Moon and our Christmas offering to international missions.

Lottie’s earthly life both began and ended in December. She was born on December 12, 1840, and she died seventy-two years later on December 24, 1912. Those dates strengthened her connection to the annual offering for missions, but they are not the reason the offering is received at Christmas.

Quite simply, the reason we have a Christmas offering for missions is because it was Lottie’s idea. She advocated for it thirty-five years before her death. Lottie wrote many letters from China, some of which were published in the Foreign Mission Board’s journal.

Lottie was a woman with numerous gifts, but none was greater than her ability to write with clarity and conviction. Many a spark from Lottie’s pen in northern China lit a fire in the United States. The spiritual power of her words motivated countless women and men to greater involvement in getting the good news of Jesus Christ to the unreached.


How does Parkwood's giving affect the offering?

For Parkwood specifically, the money we give to the International Mission Offering sends Jacob, Carmen and Kelsey to Central Asia; it pays for their training before departure; and it pays for their rent, living expenses, and language school so they can remain on the field. The funds that we give send and support all of our Partners and Sent Workers. While Lottie Moon and workers of her time had to raise support, write letters, and even return home to raise more support when money ran out, the International Mission Offering sends and keeps workers on the field, providing Parkwood with an integral opportunity to support the mission.


Why does Parkwood Baptist Church participate in this offering, when there's so many other ministries we could support?

Among the many ministries and avenues for missions to which we could give, Parkwood supports the International Mission Offering far and above any other because of its focus. The International Mission Offering, through the leadership and strategy of the International Mission Board, has as its focus the unreached people groups in major cities and hard to reach places. Other ministries and missionary offerings support the gospel among the nations, but the International Mission Offering supports the gospel among the unreached.

The missionary question is not ‘Where are there unbelievers?’ … there are unbelievers everywhere. The missionary question is ‘Where are people [unreached]?’”

There are 7,000 unreached people groups with more than 3 billion unreached people. The International Mission Offering sends and supports missionary work specifically among these unreached people, to people and places where they might never hear the gospel unless we specifically work to get to them.


Preparing Yourself to Give

If we are simply to give, this action requires essentially no preparation for Americans. If we are to give faithfully and sacrificially, however, this type of giving requires preparation.

  1. Spend time in the Word meditating on Scriptures such as 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. Paul writes in this text about giving that is cheerful and inspired by the Spirit. He writes about the Father’s supply and provision, and ultimately about the inexpressible gift of the surpassing grace of God in Christ Jesus.
  2. Pray and discuss together with your spouse, if married, how you might give in a manner that is obedient and consistent with a biblical theology of giving, i.e. a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7).
  3. Include in your praying intercession for missionaries that you know personally: pray for their personal needs, their language learning, their relationships, their families, and their work. Also pray for unreached people groups: (perhaps represented by the missionaries for whom you pray) and for God’s provision of seed for sowing and increase of harvest (2 Cor 9:10).
  4. Creatively spur ideas for increasing giving by using suggestions from others, such as you might find from Chuck Lawless.

If you do not know any missionaries, or if you do not know how to pray for them, email , and I will be happy to connect you to a missionary and their update list where you can receive regular updates and ways to intercede.

If you do not know an unreached people group, you can join Parkwood in praying for these five unreached peoples: Avar, Dargin, Lezgi, Ingush, and Chechen, or you can find further information on unreached people groups at www.joshuaproject.net. 


In Conclusion

After preparing congregationally and personally as we discussed above, please consider giving to the International Mission Offering. While you can give any day of the year and designate it to the offering, Parkwood will corporately give on December 23 during the morning worship services. You will not want to miss it! It is such a blessing to be a part of that mass giving opportunity for the sake of God’s glory among the nations.

 


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