Today marks the first day of a focused week of prayer for international missions. I had the opportunity to speak to my church family this morning in order to inform and call for us who follow Christ to examine how we view this opportunity to send harvesters.
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is received annually to support our international Christian workers who are serving through the IMB. 100% of the collected offering goes directly to support their work.
In recent years, funding goals have fallen short and the IMB has come under new leadership. Assets have been sold to manage the shortfall but that could not last forever. And right now, currently underway, over 500 Christian workers are being recalled from the field through various means, mainly early retirement incentives.
Allow me to provide some perspective. It breaks my heart to hear that Americans will spend $350 million dollars on costumes for pets or a whopping $6 billion on just decorating our homes for the holidays with all the latest LED lights and inflatable santas, yet the Church has not met a funding goal to support gospel work across the world.
I’m not sharing these things to make anyone feel guilty. But I do think there is a clear call to examine ourselves. I want to be totally transparent. I myself spent plenty of years ignoring this and other annual offerings. But if there’s one thing that God has shown me in this life-changing journey: He is worth it.
To those who have been faithful to giving to this and other offerings (like the cooperative program), thank you. The Kingdom is pushing new boundaries today because of your sending support. If we are complete the great commission and reach every unreached people with the gospel, it will require obedience and sacrifice in new ways.
The IMB recognizes this. Under new leadership, there’s a shift happening in their role. One, they recognize they aren’t the sending body. It is the Church that sends–it is why the Church was founded–and the IMB exists to train, resource, and support churches who send. Second, they want to equip you and me to leverage our lives to go and send, and not view global missions as if we have to give up our lives. Why not take what we do here and go do it there for Kingdom impact?
The point is, I don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that we can throw money at missions and sit back in our comforts. This offering is just the beginning of our expression of trust and faithfulness to God’s commands to reach the nations.
To whoever is reading this today, as you gather with your family for a meal and throughout this week, use one of the resources provided below and begin focused prayer this week. Each day, there is a story that will make what we are talking about real, and a need that you can pray on behalf of. That’s my ask of you this week. Just pray. And consider what your support of global disciple-making looks like.
I think about how much we spend on ourselves in the holidays and don’t wonder, what impact could our resources make if we made it a goal to match what we spend on gifts for ourselves as an offering to global gospel work? Maybe that’s your sacrifice. Or maybe it’s your next step to simply send a text stating “IMB” to 80888 to donate $10. Or as you are shopping online, you use smile.amazon.com and select the IMB as your charity of choice to give a small percentange of your costs.
Whatever it looks like for you, I stood before my church family this morning, and I write this to my website, to offer the testimony that I would rather risk all I have for the sake of Christ than to sit back in my comfort, safety, and disobedience. Because the person who has nothing and Christ has everything. I want my life to count. So let’s be a part of taking Christ to the unreached nations.