04 December, 2007

Sacrifice Hurts, but Missions is Worth It

FT. MYERS, FL – December is the time of year when Southern Baptist churches take up their annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. As you would expect, some churches sacrifice for missions while others do not. Most churches give at least something to the annual international missions offering, but the amounts vary widely.

TBNN has learned of one church that has given new meaning to sacrifice. At Southside Baptist Church of Ft. Myers, the body has decided to sacrifice their own needs and wants in order to support overseas missions work. According to Senior Pastor Donald Watts, “Jesus gave us the Great Commission, and we are willing to hurt to make it happen.”

Last year, Southside Baptist gave only $750 to the Lottie Moon Offering (this from a church with a membership of 850 and weekly attendance of 300). Both the pastoral staff and the deacons were embarrassed by this low amount. Deacon Herman Thomas informed us, “Last December we had to tell the local association how much we had given. I felt ashamed. We are one of the larger SBC churches in our area, but our $750 was the lowest amount given to Lottie Moon. We didn’t want to look bad again this year.”

What was Southside to do? The church leadership formed a 12-step action plan this past March to deal with the problem. Southside’s goal, which was warmly embraced by about 62% of the church body at a business meeting, was to raise the most money in their association for Lottie Moon 2007. The plan involved sacrifice and discomfort, but the church decided that missions is worth it.

The action plan involved denial in several areas. They are as follows:

1. Weekly pulpit flowers will be downsized from large to medium.
2. Starbucks coffee will no longer be served at the Welcome Center (Folgers is now offered).
3. The proposed construction of the softball field on church grounds will be delayed until March 2008.
4. Weekly church newsletters are now bi-monthly.
5. Youth pizza parties will be sponsored by the hosting parents.
6. No new Christmas greens will be purchased this year.
7. Any money designated for local and state missions will be allocated for Lottie Moon.
8. Barbecue will no longer be served at Wednesday night suppers (sweet tea and banana pudding remain).
9. The Lord’s Supper will be held only once every six months (grape juice is expensive).
10. Tuesday night evangelism will be canceled (to save electricity).
11. Giving will be the sermon topic each Sunday in October and November.
12. The pastoral staff and deacons will be expected to tithe on a regular basis.

According to Pastor Watts, “We feel comfortable that we will have a much better showing than last year. This 12-step plan, which we call Sacrifice Hurts but Missions is Worth It, will ensure that we meet this year’s Lottie Moon goal of $3000. I guarantee you that we will not be lowest in our association this year. It’s all about the missionaries.”

Deacon Thomas agreed, saying, “We just want to obey Jesus. He told us, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ No matter how hard it is, we must obey Him and follow His example.”

11 comments:

Jamesr said...

"...I guarantee you that we will not be lowest in our association this year. It’s all about the missionaries.”

Truthfully, it's all about our bent halo.

I love those "sacrifices"!

How about adding to #2 - We will reuse all tea bags at least once (before sending them to the missionaries, of course).

And a new one...

The pastor will preach on the "Plague of Darkness" that fell upon Pharaoh, and all the lights in the auditorium will be turned off - to save electricity.

Darrin said...

So much for the left hand not kowing what the right hand is doing. (Matt. 6:3)

Another cost-saver would be to reduce the maintenance visits for the indoor pool - Oh wait, that's at the Methodist church.

Joseph said...

Methodists absolutely do NOT have indoor pools! Some might see it and think that dunking goes on in there!

brian said...

Will you guys look at your comments?? What glory have you given God in it? This is what makes me sick sometimes about so called Christians. I read the post, and agree there is more that could be done, but seriously, your comments truly give no glory to God. Sometimes it is better to just keep your slanderous comments to yourself, so that new beleivers and non-Christians have a better view of our faith and LOVE for others, whether they are right or wrong by your standards!

Brother Slawson said...

Brian,

I'm curious of your definition of "Giving Glory to God." I'm guessing it is quite narrow. Must it be done with words for you to hear (or see)?

brian said...

Brother, I do not wish to, nor am I going to get into a match here, nor will I question your definition of Glory, nor call it narrow, because I do not know you other than by your blog.

I fail miserably every day in giving God glory in all things I do, and in the things that I should do, but do not do.

But I do take 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 to heart, and again I fail at it every day. Praise God for his sovereign grace, and unconditional love!

23"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.........
31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

So sorry for venting last night, but I read blogs like this every day, and people start typing out words and I try to think, are we as Christians doing what is benefical, is God glorified and honored in my every thought, every action, every word? Am I doing it for my good or the good of others.

So take my narrow minded point of view from here and do as you wish.

B Nettles said...

Brian,
I don't think what you've pointed out is narrow-minded at all. You have certainly laid out a challenging thought: is satire edifying? I think it can be. Of course, not everything is edifying to everyone all the time, so remember that. And certainly edifying doesn't necessarily entail ignoring the errors that are spouted by people in the name of Christ.

In order for satire to be edifying, one should consider the following:
1) It should not be for strictly entertainment. 2) It should be to challenge rethinking of traditions. 3) It should be to point out sloppy thinking. 4) It should make us re-examine our own lives. 5) It must be taken with the idea that part of encouragement is to challenge and be challenged--satire does it with humor rather than with dourness (is that a word?) or non-smiling piety.

Brian, you simply did what TITB does - present a challenge to what someone in the Church is doing. You just did it with a less humorous, brute force method.

I appreciate your causing me to think.

All the Best in Christ.

Darrin said...

Brian,
Some of us so-called Christians don't take well to being called slanderous, so please take your time and choose your words more carefully when exhorting in your introductory rants.

brian said...

James, Darrin, Joseph, & Brother Lawson, I do apologize for my use of words and for offending you in any way and truly ask for your forgivenss.

I have allowed the god of this world to interfere with brotherly love towards my fellow Christians.

I have no clue who any of you are, and yet I blasted out, in frustration and miss understanding, words that have hurt you and for that I am regretful.

So I ask for your forgiveness, and must say, lesson learned.

Brother Slawson said...

Brian,

Don't give it another thought, brother. I'm sorry also. Let's go forward with heads held high, not of our own works, but because of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us.

But I do want to leave it open to encourage discussion of the ideas.

Darrin said...

Ditto to what Bro Slawson wrote. Thanks, Brian, for your sincerity and taking the time to respond.