Southern Baptists: 13 Ways To Make This Year’s Christmas Offering Better Than Ever
Every Christmas Southern Baptists come together to support missionaries around the world. Named after an early Southern Baptist missionary to China, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering© has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for missions over the past 100 years. (Southern Baptists raised nearly $160 billion for international missions through the offering in 2017 alone.)
It’s a big deal.
More than half of the International Mission Board’s budget comes from this annual offering. The IMB supports the largest missionary force on the planet (more than 3,600 missionaries as of September of 2018). According to the IMB, every penny of the offering goes to missionaries serving around the world.
As your church looks to raise money for this year’s offering, here are few ideas about how to make it your biggest offering yet.
1. Set a big goal
Make it a step of faith for your whole church. It’s tempting to set a goal that is easy to achieve just so you don’t look silly if you fail. But big goals have a tendency to create momentum, particularly if you tie it with other actions on this list.
2. Clearly communicate the need
Many people don’t give to missions because they don’t really understand what they’re giving toward. Explain to your congregation about the lack of churches and the unreached people groups in other countries. The IMB website has “fast facts” about each of its regions that can help you with some of this information. For example, here is the one for South Asia.
3. Preach about it
Your church’s pulpit is the rudder that drives everything else. Just because you emphasize the offering in your sermons doesn’t mean you have to hand over your entire December preaching calendar though. Consider making giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering an application step in your sermons.
4. Tie it to short-term mission trips
If your church participates in short-term mission trips to international locations (particularly if they work with Southern Baptist missionaries when they do), make the connection clear to your congregation. Consider having one of the team members share his or her experiences of working with missionaries and about the needs of the people.
5. Check with other SBC missions partners
You can find a variety of resources that will help you promote the offering in your church. The IMB, the Woman’s Missionary Union, and your state Baptist convention all have great resources that will help you get the message out. Many of those resources are free (including promotional videos you can play during worship services).
6. Invite missionaries to speak at your church
Through the IMB, your church has access to furloughed missionaries who can speak at church events about the impact of the offering. Being able to connect your giving to a specific missionary family can help make the offering come alive for your congregation. You have to do it about four to six weeks ahead though. Visit the IMB website for more information.
7. Keep the church updated on the progress
When you keep people up to date on how close you are to the goal, the momentum will grow (assuming you’re making progress). Find a centrally located spot in the church to create a chart showing the progress. Consider enlisting the help of your church’s youth to create it.
8. Let people give on your app
People spend an average of five hours a day on their mobile phones. Many order food, do their holiday shopping, and pay their bills on their mobile devices. When you give people the opportunity to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering on your mobile app, you increase the likelihood that more people will give because you’re making it easier to do so through a medium with which they’ve become comfortable making financial transactions. Pushpay helps many Southern Baptist churches provide mobile-giving options for their Christmas offering. To learn more about a Pushpay mobile app, talk to one of our mobile giving experts.
9. Get the kids and youth involved
Kids and youth often have a lot of fun coming up with ways to raise money for the offering. If you have a missions education ministry in your church (like Royal Ambassadors or Girls in Action), enlist them to help. Often, these groups can hold fundraisers (like car washes or bake sales) that can bring in some additional funds for the offering.
10. Connect giving to discipleship
Help your congregation understand that giving is a part of how they grow as a Christian. We grow when we take steps of faith. In our culture, where money plays such a vital role, few acts demonstrate more faith than giving our resources to others. To drive home this point, consider Sunday School/small group lessons on generosity.
11. Host a specific fundraiser
Be creative here. You can do lots of different activities to raise funds. In the past, some churches have done bake sales, auctions, and missions banquets. If you have people in your church with an entrepreneurial interest, task them with brainstorming additional fundraising ideas.
12. Keep it going all year long
You don’t have to stop giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering when you take down your holiday decorations. Although most churches do the offering during the Christmas season, you can give at any time. Consider doing multiple giving campaigns for the offering throughout the year. At least try to talk about the offering throughout the year so people are ready to give when December hits.
13. Make a big deal out of your reveal.
This may not help you raise more money this year, but it will set the expectations for later years. When you do your announcement of how much your church raised, it gives you another opportunity to make it clear to your church that you think it’s important. Assuming you exceeded your goal, going all in on your reveal will continue the momentum and hopefully push you one step closer to reaching an even bigger goal next year.
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering helps missionaries around the world tell people about Jesus. As you implement some of these tips, you’ll take your offering to the next level and your church will play an important role in accomplishing the Great Commission. Click here to talk to an expert and discover how a mobile app can help you create a successful Lottie Moon fundraising campaign.