Sunday, December 9, 2007

'Tis the Season for Missions Giving

In many churches I have been in, I have felt that our goal for the Christmas missions offering (Lottie Moon for all you Southern Baptists) was quite low given the number and financial make-up of the congregations. Yet, at the same time, Christmas is a time where people are being bombarded with requests for money from a variety of good causes. Here is my question. What are some ways we can increase giving to missions while not putting a lot of pressure on people to give -- especially at a time when finances are often tight already. Here are a few ideas I have come up with:

Ideas to increase Lottie Moon giving:

1. Have a pledge drive for missions – have members pledge to set aside money each week/month for the next year (this idea actually came from my "home" church, TRBC -- they call it "Love Offering for Jesus").

2. Put missions on your Christmas list (before you budget for gift buying) – commit to give God your best by giving to missions as much or more than the top person on your Christmas list.

3. Have a restaurant fast for missions – give up eating out for the month of December and give what you would have spent to missions. (This would work for a variety of things, not just restaurants).

I'm working on building a much bigger list and that's where you come in. I’m looking for ideas, thoughts or opinions from all my readers. What do you think of these ideas? Do you have a creative idea of your own? Here is your chance to leave a comment on my blog.


-- Todd

p.s. Here's an incentive: Someday when I write my best-selling book, I'll quote you and you'll be famous! :-)


Chris said...

I have never understood the need to do it at Christmas (or Easter time).
Why not some other time of the year when that can be the main emphasis?

Todd Benkert said...

There are at least two reasons for a Christmas-time missions offering.

1. Pragmatics. In American culture, gift-giving is an inherent part of the Christmas clebration. People are prepared and more inclined to give during this season. Nearly all non-profit organizations rely on the Christmas season for a large portion of their budget needs.

2. Tradition. In Southern Baptist life, the Christmas offering for missions has a long history. In response to appeals by Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong organized the first Christmas missions offering of the WMU to raise support for two new missionaries in December 1888. The offering raised enough to send not two, but three missionaries. Ironically, several years later, Lottie Moon died on Christmas Eve. The offering was later named for her.