Tomorrow begins the Week of Prayer for International Missions as called for by the SBC’s International Mission Board (IMB). Many churches are being very creative in how they raise funds for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This past Friday night, Arapahoe Road Baptist Church’s senior adults held an auction of homemade donated items that did really well and was for a great cause. (What have some of your churches done to raise money for missions?)
Below are some statistics given by IMB to give us an idea of what Southern Baptists are doing—but also the work that’s ahead to reach all the unreached people groups for Christ. (For more Fast Facts, click here.)
Field personnel under appointment (11/16/11): 4,887
2-yr. ISC/Journeymen/Masters: 633
Field personnel appointed 2010: 381
2-yr. ISC/Journeymen/Masters: 166
Student volunteers 2010: 4,100
Overseas baptisms 2010*: 360,879
Overseas churches 2010*: 163,756
Overseas church membership 2010*: 3.1 million
New churches 2010*: 29,237
People groups engaged**: 763
Unreached People Groups not Engaged**: 3,629
World population 2010**: 6.8 billion
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) goal for Christmas 2010 is $175 million.
LMCO receipts for Christmas 2010 was $145.6 million.
These statistics bring home the fact that much work needs to be done in reaching the unreached people groups of the world. It’s more than simply making a one-week trip, but it’s about making an investment.
I’m grateful to the International Missions Board for their dedication to promoting, rallying, equipping, and sending missionaries to the nations. But the main weapon God uses and will use in reaching the unreached is our local churches. No longer can American Christians simply throw money at the issue (as much as that is needed to fund those who are called), but we need to rally and rise up to reach the nations.
The Nations are our Neighbors
Today, I had the chance to meet with nine others at a church member’s house to hear Wes Tucker who has a passion to reach Muslim college students for Christ. He goes up and down the range in Colorado, making good inroads at Colorado State University, and hopes to make inroads in area colleges here.
Over and over, it kept coming up that the nations are our neighbors due to the great influx of international students coming to study here.
At my previous church (Boone’s Creek Baptist Church in Lexington, KY), J.D. Payne came to speak at our Neighbors to the Nations Sunday on how the nations are our neighbors. He notes: “The United States is the world’s largest migrant receiving nation–absorbing 20% of the world’s annual international migrants.” I recommend you going and reading up on his presentations about this issue. Maybe God will stir your hearts to be neighbors to the nations among us.