N.C. Baptists recognized for missions givingby BSCNC Communications
By Melissa Lilley
North Carolina Baptists led the Southern Baptist Convention in their support for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in 2012. The churches of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) led all state conventions in gifts to this special offering that supports international missionaries.
International Mission Board (IMB) president Tom Elliff recognized Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSCNC executive director-treasurer, and Mark Harris, BSCNC president, during an IMB hosted breakfast in conjunction with the June 11-12 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas.
Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem was recognized as the top giving church among all Southern Baptist Convention churches.
In 2012, North Carolina Baptists gave $13,498,146.88 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, up $905,000 from the previous year. All total, Southern Baptist churches gave $149,276,303.72 to the 2012 Offering, up more than $2 million from last year.
Elliff expressed appreciation to all the churches that sacrificially give so that missionaries can be sent out to share the gospel around the world. “Working together you see a greater work than you ever could apart,” he said.
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering helps support missionaries serving in some of the hardest areas of the world. Although many lost people live in countries that are not open to the gospel and do not allow individuals to enter the country on a missionary visa, people are hungry for truth.
“The IMB long ago made a decision that because a person was born in those hard places they should not be denied the opportunity to hear the gospel,” Elliff said. “Satan has gotten us to believe that the world’s basic response to the gospel is resistance. The reality is that the world is filled with broken hearted people wondering when someone is going tell them the truth; something that will change their life.”
Nearly one billion people in the world are likely to live and die without ever hearing the gospel.
Two years ago the IMB introduced “Embrace,” an effort to help churches engage unreached, unengaged people groups with the gospel. Instead of only sending out IMB missionaries to live overseas, church members actually become the missionaries as their churches embrace an unreached people group and committing to work among that people group for the sake of the gospel.
Two years ago, the world was home to 3,800 unreached, unengaged people groups. Now, through the work of Southern Baptist churches, that number is 3,047.
“That is the greatest reduction in unreached, unengaged people groups in the history of the Christian faith,” Elliff said. “This is the opportunity for the greatest advancement of the gospel.”
Believers must continue to remain faithful to penetrating lostness and sharing the gospel.
“Missions ought to cause you to weep,” Elliff said. “I pray you will pray desperately for the kind of revival among Southern Baptists that will bring forth laborers for the harvest.”
To learn more about embracing unreached, unengaged people groups visit www.imb.org.