Latest Lottie Moon offering surpasses $160 million
By Paul Chitwood
International Mission Board
For only the second time in history, the 2020 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions will surpass $160 million. And, because of the generosity of Southern Baptists, we will close the books on a second year of growth in the LMCO.
This is a significant turnaround for the International Mission Board. From 2013 to 2018, the number of churches giving through LMCO fell by 10%. Thankfully, that number is growing again.
But there’s even more good news. When we add Southern Baptists’ gifts to Lottie Projects to that $160 million Lottie Offering total, we will surpass our $175 million dollar Lottie goal by at least $2 million. Even more astoundingly, by God’s provision, the total of all the combined IMB revenue streams make this year our best financial year in history.
Another evidence of the growing love of Southern Baptists for the lost among the nations, and another significant turnaround, is the number of missionaries serving through the IMB.
Over the decade from 2008 to 2018, that number fell by more than 2,000 frontline missionaries, a reduction of force of approximately 40%. Thankfully, today the missionary headcount is growing again.
Just recently, 141 adults and kids completed their seven weeks of pre-deployment training.
As the number of Southern Baptist missionaries serving around the world is growing again, so is the impact of Southern Baptists among the nations, particularly among the unreached and unengaged, where IMB focuses most of our resources.
In 2020, IMB missionaries and our Baptist partners engaged 1,400 people groups and places around the globe, 82% being unreached.
While some have claimed that only 1% of mission dollars are spent on reaching the unreached, that claim can never be made of Southern Baptist missions dollars.
The IMB is privileged to steward the largest share of those missions dollars, and most of what we steward is used to get the gospel to the unreached.
In fact, 91% of IMB missionary teams work among the unreached peoples of the world, where the population is less than 2% evangelical Christian. And many are pushing out to the very edge of lostness, to those remaining 3,000 people groups yet unengaged with the gospel.
In 2020, we engaged 55 formerly unengaged people groups, peoples who had no known evangelical Christians or churches.
While we have much to celebrate, much work remains. The IMB has a long way to go to grow out of three decades of revenue growth falling short of inflation. We are finally heading in the right direction, but the journey has just begun.
Statements from EC
We recognize there are diverse perspectives on the recent meeting of the SBC Executive Committee, and we appreciate these diverse points of view.
From our point of view, the EC has demonstrated yet again its support for an effective and independent review and the EC still does not … oppose in principle the fundamental questions at issue, including requests to waive privilege when appropriate and in coordination with the third party commissioned to conduct the inquiry.
The EC fully funded the review — beginning the formal review process — and moved the critical discussions further in a spirit of unity and cooperation even if some substantive issues remain unresolved.
We ask Southern Baptists to pray … that the ultimate outcome of this process strengthens and unifies our Convention as it relates to this independent review but especially as it relates to our collective concern for survivors of sexual abuse.
—spokesperson SBC Executive Committee
We grieve [the] vote by the Executive Committee, who in unprecedented fashion prohibited the will of the messengers for an open and transparent investigation into the EC.
It is our opinion that the failed vote only justifies the need for an open investigation. We join with the messengers who desire justice for survivors of sexual abuse, and we feel this cannot happen so long as the Executive Committee forbids an open and transparent investigation, which must include the waiving of privilege.
We will continue to work within the EC to ensure that the will of the messengers is fully honored by the Committee …
That is what we committed to do when we accepted this trust, and it is what we will pursue as a stewardship before God.
—12 members SBC Executive Committee
The SBC Executive Committee is committed to doing the right thing in the right way in order to elevate the mission of the Convention — eliciting, combining and directing our energies for the global propagation of the gospel.
The SBC Executive Committee stands against all forms of sex abuse, mishandling of abuse, mistreatment of victims and any intimidation of abuse survivors in every Southern Baptist church, association, state convention, entity and affiliated organization.
As president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, I encourage the members of the SBC Executive Committee to work with the Sex Abuse Task Force and the independent review firm in every way possible, but within our fiduciary responsibilities as assigned by the messengers.
President and CEO
SBC Executive Committee
Our convention is struggling right now. We are in a crisis of trust. Our churches want us to work in harmony and for the Executive Committee to lead the way. …
The outcome of the [EC] meeting fell far short of the mandate expressed by the messengers of the SBC annual meeting in June.
Still, the [EC] resolved to continue working in good faith to address the issue of attorney-client privilege and committed up to $1.6 million toward this investigation.
The attorney-client privilege protects the confidentiality of communications between an attorney and a client to the extent that the client has communicated confidential information to an attorney for the purpose of obtaining legal advice.
This means that the attorney may not disclose such information to anyone, even a court of law in any civil or criminal case, unless the client presently is using the information to commit a crime or fraud or intends to commit a crime or fraud.
The purpose of the privilege is to encourage clients to speak freely and frankly to their attorneys so that attorneys have the information that they need to assist their clients.
A client may waive its right to assert the privilege.
Cumberland School of Law
Samford University, Birmingham
To steward is not just to maintain but to move something forward.
GuideStone Financial Resources
Being confessionally based is what separates Southern Baptist seminaries from others.
Letters to the editor
Often these days we hear people giving thanks their home was spared during one of the recent hurricanes.
We can appreciate that, but I recall something a member of Rick Warren’s staff told us in South Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.
He said something like, “Not long ago, we had a flood in my neighborhood. The water came right up to my front door and stopped. And while I was elated, I had to be real careful in saying ‘God did that!’ because my neighbors down the street would be wondering why He didn’t show them the same consideration.”
Best to give God thanks and lend our neighbors a helping hand, but not make statements as to what God did and did not do. Just my opinion.
I recently watched the video interview you did with SBC President Ed Litton (on the TAB Media YouTube channel). The initiative is an outstanding idea.
It is a wonderful interview and is very timely. You touched on the hot-button issues we needed to know about.
A video is oftentimes so much more revealing about who a person is, especially if we have never met or heard the person.
Ed passed the test with flying colors in my opinion. I think he is a thinker outside the box and that is probably what a lot of Southern Baptists need. His theology and heart seems to be very biblical from what I saw and heard.
I will pray for him, his family, his church and his tenure as SBC president.
Thank you for making the video interviews available to all of us.
From the Twitterverse
Gen Z really aren’t looking for cool and trendy leaders to follow, they’re looking for honest and authentic ones.
It always seems impossible until you pray.
‘We need to recover this idea that you can be both courageous and civil. You can stand strong in what you believe but also not dehumanize the people you disagree with.’ @dandarling
Challenged by this wise observation from @jenniferwilkin — “It is the great liability of a teaching ministry: knowing you will likely out-teach your own ability to obey, knowing there will be days when you will not practice what you have preached.”
“The Bible teaches us that when the world is full of bitterness, hatred, and grumbling, Christians are to be marked with the gentleness of Christ.” — @SkylarSpradlin … LifewayResearch
When worship music is more about positivity and mood improvement than proclamation of biblical truths, it’s a problem. Worship isn’t good feelings adjacent to God. It is declaration, adoration and supplication — praise and dependance — orienting us toward God and away from self.
He still sets a table in the presence of so many enemies. They mad, but we eating.
“Don’t believe your own hype” is some of the best advice young leaders can ever receive.
Despite all the noise on Twitter, 95% of our theological tribe is awesome, serving Jesus & trying to get the gospel to all peoples. Loving people & striving to live holy lives. Grateful for so many #SBC pastors and lay leaders. Let’s press forward, together, into a great future.