Making the gospel resound this Christmas season

by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., Executive Director-Treasurer


Friday, December 2, 2016

This Christmas season, you have the wonderful opportunity to be part of an offering that is near and dear to my heart. Every Christmas season, the International Mission Board (IMB) holds the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) in memory of Lottie Moon, a missionary to China.

Lottie Moon spent almost 40 years sharing the gospel with and showing God’s love to people in China. Until her death on Christmas Eve in 1912, she encouraged Southern Baptists to make a greater commitment to making an impact for God’s Kingdom. Now, the offering that bears her name helps support more than 3,650 missionaries who are serving in countries around the world through the IMB. 

This year, the annual offering’s goal is $155 million. One hundred percent of the funds received from this offering go directly to support these missionaries. 

David Platt, IMB president, announced at our 2016 Annual Meeting in November that the trustees of the IMB were able to approve a balanced budget for 2017 for the first time in a number of years because of generous giving from churches across this nation and in North Carolina. This increase in giving also means that additional personnel will be appointed to the field in 2017. Platt especially expressed his appreciation for North Carolina Baptists’ generosity in 2015. 

I also want to express my appreciation for those North Carolina Baptists who sacrificially gave to the LMCO in 2015. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina gave $14,645,892, which is more than any other state convention in the Southern Baptist Convention. So far in 2016, North Carolina Baptists have given 9.73 percent more than in the same time period in 2015.

Another way North Carolina Baptists can support IMB missionaries is by participating in the week of prayer during Dec. 4-11. I praise the Lord that we as Southern Baptists have the opportunity to unite in prayer for these servants of God during this time. 

Please join me during this special week – those who have answered God’s call to serve as missionaries encounter daily trials and joys that are unique to the work that they do. Let us all be sure to unite together to pray for them and for the work that they do for God’s kingdom.

The need to spread the gospel throughout the earth is great – although we have made great progress in advancing the gospel, there is still much work to be done. Today, 6.3 billion people on earth are not Christian, and approximately 1.7 billion people still have no access to the gospel of Jesus Christ. While the task is great, I am confident that North Carolina Baptists are up to the challenge. 

Together, we can work to fulfill God’s Great Commission mandate to “go … and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). 

“You have … heard about this hope in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world, just as it has among you since the day you heard it” – Colossians 1:5-6.

Editor's note: For more information about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, visit imb.org/lottie-moon-christmas-offering