By Tim Patrick
DERIDDER, La. – Many of you know we lost our oldest son in October. David was an IMB (Southern Baptist) missionary. His death gives me an inside view that many of you do not possess. This year, that view carries greater weight than ever.
I share this view with you so that (hopefully) you will consider your responsibility in supporting SBC mission causes. According to records, only about 50 percent of SBC churches give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. That is tragic! If we worked together, think how much we could accomplish in reaching our world for Christ.
This year’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal is $175 million. According to records there are 14,525,579 members in Southern Baptist churches. If only 25 percent of our members would give $100, our income for the offering would be $400 million.
When David died in October, I saw the caliber of missionaries we support. There were between 30 and 40 missionary units (families) who drove and flew from around the country to pay their respects and support David’s family. These missionaries share a strong camaraderie in their passion to see the Gospel touch every corner of our globe. Seeing the caliber of our missionaries reminds me, Lottie Moon is a vital link to our world. Jesus instructed us to go into all the world (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
When David died in October, I saw the character of our International Mission Board, in at least three ways.
First, they care about the individual. IMB President Paul Chitwood was quick to call and share his condolences. In addition, a representative from the board attended David’s funeral. There are 3,585 IMB missionaries, as of June 30. They care about each one of our missionaries.
Second, I saw the board’s character as they reached out to support our daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. They were generous in supporting our family’s needs during this difficult season.
Third, I saw the board’s character by the way they train and support our missionaries. Our missionaries are thoroughly trained and prepared for the ministry they perform. They go through an extensive training at the IMB’s headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, before going overseas. Each year hundreds of our missionaries are persecuted. This was true for our son and many of his colleagues, who attended his funeral. Many of these individuals received the board’s support and protection in the months prior to David’s funeral. The board teaches them skills for dealing with persecution and the difficulties of putting their lives on the line for Christ and fellow Southern Baptists. They represent you!
As a father, who lost an IMB missionary son on Oct. 14, I challenge you Southern Baptists. There are many who have not heard the name of Jesus. We have a worthy vehicle for sharing the Good News with a lost world. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is a vital offering!
Tim Patrick is director of missions for Beauregard Baptist Association.