One Sunday morning, Pete Hypes, pastor of Mission Community Church in Chester, Virginia, told his congregation that the size of their congregation should not hold them back from mission involvement. The church averages fifty-five people in Sunday morning worship attendance.
“I don’t think about the size of our church,” Hypes said. “I think about God, and I think about what God is able to do with us.”
In the last few years, Hypes has led his congregation to become a faithful and fruitful partner with IMB missionary teams in South Africa.
The eternal impact of this small congregation in Virginia is not an exception. It is a picture of what the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention represents: churches of all sizes and diverse backgrounds partnering together for the sake of the Glory of God among the nations. Our cooperation allows churches like Mission Community Church to accomplish far more than what they could ever accomplish alone.
It is this kind of cooperation through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® that supports Southern Baptist missionaries to plant churches across Africa, South America, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. One of those churches planted last year in a European city recently baptized six people. Of the six new believers, two were of European descent, one was Chinese, and the other three were Iranian. God is reaching the nations through these new local churches.
These churches and their stories are a beautiful representation of IMB’s heart: Every Church. Every Nation.
At the IMB, we believe that every church, regardless of its location, size, or resources, has a part to play in reaching the nations with the Gospel. And the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is one way—a vital way—your church can engage and reach the unreached. In fact, Lottie Moon herself gave voice to this more than one hundred years ago.
“Should we not press it home upon our consciences that the sole object of our conversion was not the salvation of our own souls,” she wrote, “but that we might become coworkers with our Lord and Master in the conversion of the world?”
Together with you, every member of your congregation, and IMB missionaries around the world, we are those coworkers Lottie Moon envisioned. And God is doing a great thing in and through hearts and lives surrendered to Him and His command to make disciples.
- In just the last year, IMB missionaries and local believers have engaged 811 people groups with the Gospel. That includes an unreached people group in South Asia that historically has been inaccessible. God opened doors, and people are hearing the Good News for the first time.
- IMB missionaries and local leaders trained 160 national pastors and missionaries to reach thirty-two people in the Democratic Republic of Congo who did not have access to the Bible. These trainees are a part of the 14,817 pastors trained in the past year.
- A Yezidi refugee fleeing ISIS found rescue and redemption in Jesus Christ, and then publicly professed faith through baptism. That individual is one of the 108,714 who gave their lives to Christ. Thanks to your gifts through the Lottie Moon offering, Southern Baptists were on site to partner with national believers introducing refugees to eternal hope found in Christ.
Every church, including yours, can play a part in continuing this good work. The size of your mission budget or your membership doesn’t matter. Every contribution makes a difference. You have a role in reaching every nation.
What does that look like?
Pray. The key to the missionary’s difficult task is prayer. Ask God to inspire and send laborers willing to go to unreached peoples and places. Ask God to open doors in difficult places and the hearts of people who need to hear His Gospel. Ask Him to sustain believers already serving Him on mission. You can join thousands of others in concerted prayer during the Week of Prayer for International Missions, December 2–9.
Give. Every dollar you give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering makes a difference to Southern Baptist missionaries around the world. Every gift is part of reaching the nations with the Gospel.
Go. Start right where you are. Reach out to the nations in your own community. That’s what Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, is doing among Syrian Muslim refugees who have resettled in their area. That work has led to a partnership with IMB workers serving in refugee camps and centers throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. Other ideas? Get in touch with IMB at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how your church can serve an IMB missionary team. Plan a trip with members of your church. The opportunities are many.
The Lottie Moon season offers each of us a chance to discover how we can get involved in global missions. Bolstered by the Great Commission, let’s take on Lottie Moon’s challenge and become coworkers in helping every church reach every nation.
Learn more about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Week of Prayer for International Missions at imb.org/lmco.
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® is a registered trademark of Woman’s Missionary Union.
Edgar R. Aponte is vice president of mobilization for the International Mission Board, is a visiting professor of theology and hermeneutics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is a member of Salem Baptist Church in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia.