Last year proved to be a good year for one Louisiana Baptist Convention offering, but four others did not fare so well.
By Brian Blackwell
Last year proved to be a good year for one Louisiana
Baptist Convention offering, but four others did not fare so well.
State leaders celebrated the fact that the 2005 Georgia Barnette
Offering for State Missions closed the year with a record
$1,215,339.47, an increase of $115,097.96 (10 percent) from the
The total marks the tenth consecutive year for
receipts to close at more than $1 million and the fourth straight year
at more than $1.1 million.
In that last five years, Louisiana Baptists have
given more than $5.5 million through the offering. And setting another
record this year could be crucial since the state offering funds are
used exclusively in Louisiana, which was significantly affected by the
recent hurricanes this past year.
The offering supports a host of missions and
ministry efforts throughout the state, especially related to mission
churches and mission pastors.
“Besides the fact that people like to give to the
Georgia Barnette Offering, we did special things to promote it through
the (Woman’s Missionary Union),” said David Hankins, LBC executive
director. “We were more aggressive and will continue to be this year
(to promote the offering), as well as for the Cooperative Program
promotion. The more people learn about it, the more we think they will
give to it.”
While the state missions offering set a record,
other offerings such as the Cooperative Program budget failed to meet
its 2005 goal. The giving total of $20,109,027.36 fell about $1,900,000
shy of its $22 million goal.
Hankins said the shortfall is due to two reasons.
The first was due to the impact of Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita. Katrina made landfall Aug. 29 in the southeastern
part of the state while Rita touched down one month later in Southwest
The second reason was due to the reallocation of
funds to pay the salaries of the directors of missions from money that
was given to the Cooperative Program in the past. During the 2004 LBC
annual meeting, messengers approved a motion to reallocate
Cooperative Program gifts to the association, so they can assume the
employment of their directors of missions.
“This was the first year churches directed their
Cooperative Program money to pay for directors of missions,” Hankins
said. “The convention maybe last year expected churches would increase
their budget while directing funds. It didn’t happen that way.
“Given those two situations, people did real well to
stay at the level we did,” he continued. “Louisiana Baptists gave money
to refugees, churches and other disaster relief initiatives. So it’s
not a negative (not meeting the budget) but a positive in light of all
To meet this year’s budget, messengers to the 2005
LBC annual meeting in West Monroe approved a $21 million Cooperative
Program budget. The reduced budget was due to the impact the hurricanes
may have on the state’s churches ability to give.
However, Hankins is optimistic that budget will be met this year.
“For that to happen, there needs to be some churches
not in the affected areas to increase the Cooperative Program
percentage or amount,” he explained. “Plus, we anticipate churches will
“When they grow numerically, they then grow
financially,” he continued. “And that increases Cooperative Program
Meanwhile, three other offerings experienced reduced giving. They are:
• The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North
American Missions. This annual offering supports a host of missions and
ministry efforts throughout the United States, serving as a major
source of funding for the work of the Southern Baptist North American
Receipts for this offering totaled $1,598,946.78, a
decrease of more than $23,000 (1.5 percent) behind the record 2004
However, the tally marks the fourth straight year for receipts to close
at more than $1.5 million and fell just shy of closing at more than
$1.6 million for the second consecutive year. It also continues a
string of 16 consecutive years that receipts for the annual offering
have surpassed the $1 million mark.
In the last five years, Louisiana Baptists have
contributed more than $7.7 million through the missions offering.
• The World Hunger Offering. This annual offering is
used entirely for hunger-related ministry and relief efforts. It
contributes to work on the state, national and world levels alike.
Louisiana Baptist gifts through the offering totaled
$191,806.09 last year, a decrease of almost $26,911 (13 percent) from
2004. It marks the 20th highest figure in state history, but the lowest
tally since 1995.
In the last five years, Louisiana Baptists have
given more than $1.08 million through the annual state offering.
• The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for
International Missions. This annual offering supports a host of
worldwide missions and ministry efforts, providing major funding for
the work of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
The annual offering runs on a June 1 to May 1 basis
each year. With five months remaining in the 2005 giving year,
Louisiana receipts total $744,425.13, a decrease of almost $25,000 (2
percent) from the same time the previous year.