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Monday, October 04, 2010 

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering: Ideas to Up Your Small Church Giving

As a small Church pastor, sometimes I am overwhelmed by the need that I see around the world and the lack of resources that my Church has to offer. I want to lead my Church to give as much as possible to international missions (IMB - Lottie Moon), domestic missions (NAMB - Annie Armstrong, hunger relief (World Hunger & Relief Fund), child evangelism (Samaritan's Purse - Operation Christmas Child), and tons of local ministries like food banks, shelters, clothes closets, battered women's shelters, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation ministries. In short, there is so much need, but few resources in a small Church like ours.

Out of all of those, by far our largest offering each year is the Lottie Moon Christian Offering, which goes to support international missions through the IMB of the Southern Baptist Convention. Over the past two years, our giving to LMCO has more than doubled previous years' offerings. During my first year as pastor in 2008, we gave over $2500, an amount close to $50 per active member. Last year (2009), our Church gave almost $4300, which is over $80 per active member.

So how did we do it? How did we raise our giving by $30 per active member? Quite simply, we did one simple fundraiser - A YARD SALE! That's right. All we did is hold a Church-wide yard sale on the property. That sale, combined with a small benevolence offering, took in over $1700. That's almost as much as we gave in personal offerings!

This past Saturday we held our yard sale for this year. It was another successful year. Despite not being listed in the local paper (which was the paper's fault, not ours), we still raised over $700, which is 25% of our offering goal. So in essence, due to a simple 5-hour yard sale, our giving is going to be 25% higher than our simple offering contribution.

Another way we plan on upping our giving by an additional 10-15% is through what we call the "Lottie Moon Post Office". In a small Church like ours, everyone sends Christmas cards to everyone else in the Church. Instead of sending them through the mail and paying the Post Office 44 cents per card, we give 50 cents per card to our youth group members, who then deliver the cards before our worship service on Sunday mornings during the month of December. We estimate that this year we will raise some $300-400 more through the "Lottie Moon Post Office."

I hope that if you are a small Church pastor (or even a member of a small Church), these suggestions will help you to raise your international missions giving this year. If every small church our size raised just $700 through a yard sale and/or a "Lottie Moon Post Office", then our giving over last years total Lottie Moon Christmas Offering would be $17.6 million. That's an incredible amount of ministry that could be done simply by selling our unnecessary junk and sending Christmas cards to one another.

If you're a pastor or a member of a small Church, let me know what other programs have worked in your Church, which have fueled your Lottie Moon giving to new heights.

As a good Southern boy, I enjoy sweet tea, but this year I have decided to drink water instead and save that $1 per cup for LMCO instead.

I encourage everyone else to "fast" from something in order to support something more eternal....

Andrew,

Great idea of fasting for the purpose of giving more. And there's certainly plenty of things we could fast from - going to movies, eating out at restaurants, Starbucks (for the coffeeholics), etc.

Sacrificing for the sake of others is something that we need to learn to do in the American Christian culture.

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Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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