Recently, my son and I had a conversation about the struggle the IMB is having from a financial standpoint of reaching the lost for Christ.  After that conversation I did a little research and I’d like to share here what I discovered about the state of giving to missions of our Southern Baptist Churches!  The first bit of research was gleaned from the following website: http://www.baptist2baptist.net/b2barticle.asp?id=293

FINDINGS

The International Mission Board has made news repeatedly this year because of its decision to delay the deployment of new missionaries who are ready to be sent to strategic mission assignments.  Approximately 100 candidates have been deferred to next year or put on hold.  The number of new short-term personnel also will be reduced by 30% this year.  To divert more funds to the field, 61 full-time and part-time positions were eliminated.  Of those positions that were eliminated, 37 home office staff members lost their jobs. Perhaps the most significant action to reduce products and services will be suspending publication of the IMB’s flagship magazine, theCOMMISSION. 

STARTLING FACTS RE GIVING TO MISSIONS

Perhaps the most telling statistic for the near future of mission funding for Southern Baptists is the rapid decline in percentage giving through the Cooperative Program.

From an average of 10.5% in the 80s, the percentage has plummeted to 7.39% in 2002. As a percentage of undesignated offerings, local churches have decreased their Cooperative Program giving by 30%

ANALYSIS

Increased local church expenditures due to rising health insurance costs, expansion of facilities, and increasing sizes of church staffs have squeezed out gifts to missions.

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Now, keep in mind that less money translates into less people who will be able to hear about Christ.  Personally, I believe that God has blessed America and especially America’s churches as He has financially, so that we can fund the effort of missions.  (You know, reaching a lost world for Christ!)  But somewhere along the way, as churches and Christian individuals, we have forgotten this and have consumed a greater proportion of these blessings upon ourselves than we should.  So when you pray and ask God to help you be a responsible steward of the blessings He has given you, consider these facts:

Facts about lostness

  • 6,744 people groups are considered unreached (less than 2 percent profess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; as reported April 2011)
  • 3,789 people groups are not engaged at all with the Gospel (as reported April 2011)
  • More than half the world’s people live in cities. Most unreached people groups likely are represented in the world’s urban centers.
  • 1.5 billion Muslims make up 22 percent of the world’s population

“Facts about lostness” statistics taken from:

http://www.imb.org/main/give/page.asp?StoryID=5412&LanguageID=1709

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HERE’S AN IDEA!

An online article that I read suggested that if every church would increase their gifts to the Cooperative Program by 1%, over 100 million dollars would be generated.  Go to this website to read more about this idea:

(http://www.sbclife.org/Articles/2011/10/SLA9.asp)

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 That’s just one idea, folks.  Can you imagine (whew! my head is spinning) if all 45,000 churches began seriously praying for God to show them ways they could give more to missions so that more people would hear about Christ, then I think we might experience something akin to the miracle of giving found in Ex. 36:4-7, “

 4-5 All the artisans who were at work making everything involved in constructing the Sanctuary came, one after another, to Moses, saying, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing this work that God has commanded us to do!”  6-7 So Moses sent out orders through the camp: “Men! Women! No more offerings for the building of the Sanctuary!”

   The people were ordered to stop bringing offerings! There was plenty of material for all the work to be done. Enough and more than enough. (MSG)

! let me wrap up this post by sharing a quote from the website from Facts about Lostness. And as you read it, focus on this:  “the task is doable”

There is much work to be done. With more than 45,000 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, the task is doable, but it will take all of us – starting with our own church!  and I might add–starting with ourselves!