Published November 1, 2019
LOUISVILLE—How crucial is the Lottie Moon offering to support missionaries around the world? Pastor Nate Bishop says it's "absolutely crucial" to the work of spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Bishop is pastor of Forest Baptist Church who just completed his first term as a trustee for the International Mission Board. He is quick to point out that when he is communicating the importance of the Lottie Moon Offering and Cooperative Program giving, he explains how effective those two programs are to the work of reaching the nations for Christ.
"One thing that makes IMB missionaries unique is the fact that, since they're fully funded, they have the opportunity and ability to be fully focused on the mission field. And that makes all the difference when you know you have the full support of not only your local church, but the entire Southern Baptist Convention behind you. That makes so much of a difference, especially when the missionaries are in remote and often lonely places.
"So when individual churches are able to send funds through Lottie Moon and through the Cooperative Program — even though they may not have individuals from their congregation who have gone to do missions — they have the opportunity to participate with the other churches in the work of gospel ministry and in obedience to the Great Commission to make disciples. So being able to participate gives us the opportunity to obey the Great Commission and participate in what the Lord is doing."
Bishop says it's important for Baptists to understand that 100 percent of the monies given to the Lottie Moon Offering goes directly to fund the missionaries. There is nothing taken out for administrative purposes. "Lottie Moon is our budget — it is our missions budget. What comes into Lottie Moon is what pretty much funds the entire organization. It's at least 50 percent of our overall operating expenses."
In Bishop's case, seeing what happens on the mission field is communicated to his church, and that sparks increased giving.
"I go on mission trips personally to make sure that the church knows — not only from the pastoral standpoint that we're concerned about the local body and our local community — but that the gospel has international implications. I try to make sure I'm participating and I always encourage the congregation to be faithful in their giving because through our faithfulness we are able to do things like mission trips.
"Not only do I go, but in the past we have gone on mission trips as a church with multiple individuals and in 2020 we're planning another one," Bishop said. "Congregational involvement in missions is important. Then, we clearly communicate the go-send-pray model where you may be the individual called to go or you may be the individual called to help someone else go. Then together we are praying. We make sure to communicate that not only from the pulpit, but with our actions."
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