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Small church in Sylvania with big heart budgets for missions year-round

 

SYLVANIA (BP) — Whether giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering or the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, giving to missions is a year-around project at McDonald Baptist Church.

While many Southern Baptist churches around the country are gearing up this month for the Lottie Moon offering season, McDonald Baptist began collecting for the offering back in the spring – an effort that results in a hefty per capita gift.

On Nov. 6 Gary Leutzinger, associational missionary for Middle Baptist Association, presented a certificate to pastor Paul Moore, right, and McDonald Baptist Church. The certificate stated the church as being the top giver in the association to the 2004 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Throughout the year, the 116-member church gives 8 percent of its operating budget to missions. From April through December, they give 8 percent to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions; from January to April, the church gives the same amount to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Then, in addition to that 8 percent, whatever the church collects for the offerings is matched through budget receipts.

“Some churches only worry about it during the particular emphasis,” said Paul Moore, pastor of the Sylvania congregation. “[But] you can’t be successful with raising money for missions when you only worry about it once a year.”

Last year, the church gave $70,957 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. They ranked 11th nationally among churches in per capita giving and, in their association, they were the top giver and top per capita giver. McDonald Baptist’s per capita gift was $611.70; the average per capita gift of Southern Baptist churches was $8.37 last year.

McDonald Baptist also has members who challenge the church to raise a certain amount, and then they match it.

‘They’ll say, ‘Look, if you give $10,000, we will match it with $10,000,’” Moore said. “It’s a very mission-oriented church.”

The pastor describes the church as a traditional congregation, located in a “blue-collar” city about 75 miles north of Savannah, with a population of about 2,500 people.

One of the reasons Moore said he became pastor of the church was its strong focus on missions. The church is actively involved in local mission efforts in the community, such as ministering in a community nursing home and other outreach programs. They also plan to send out an overseas missions team in the near future.

“They have a desire [for missions],” the pastor said. “We could have [given offering money] to all types of construction. But they feel that the majority of the money should be going to missions.”

Churches such as McDonald Baptist Church should be commended for their sacrificial giving, said Billy Hoffman, director of development for the International Mission Board.

“That is the only [church] I’ve heard of that does that,” he said. “To match it from the budget; I’ve never heard of that. That’s astounding!”

This year’s national Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal is $150 million. Last year, Southern Baptists gave $133,886,221.58. The amount fell just short of the previous year’s $136 million total and of the 2004 $150 million goal.

Despite the shortfall, it was the offering’s second-largest total collected to support more than 5,200 missionaries on the field.

For more information about how churches can plug into giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, call (800) 999-3113 or go online at http://ime.imb.org/.