Why do we identify every model of automobile with names? Why do our beloved sports teams have mascots? Why do we name our mission offerings after people? Think about it: Clifford Compton for our associational offering, Ola Cox (state), Annie Armstrong (home missions), and Lottie Moon (international). Why not use the ‘SBC International Missions Offering?’ What holds our attention when a name is used?
Names can denote location, aspiration, connection, or confession (to name a few). Names associated with a face can easily become recognizable symbols. This is why actors experiment with stage names to create an image, be it one of allure or intrigue. It is why companies spend millions of dollars on brand names and logos to create both recognition and an emotional connection to the company (look at your favorite NASCAR racer’s uniform).
Many of our churches are named for their location (College Avenue, Edgemont, Brushfork, Bridge, Lilly Grove, Pipestem, Isaban) which provides a connection to the local populace; some are named with a reference to our theological confession (Covenant, Immanuel, Grace, Calvary). Our denomination is known as Southern Baptists, which identifies us by location of our historical base of strength (the southern tier of US states) and confession (we believe baptism is reserved for born again believers). The names of God are too numerous and rich to recount here, but many of them denote a confession (Redeemer), location (Redeemer of Israel), connection (God of Abraham, Moses, Jacob) or aspiration (I am the Resurrection, John 11.25). Our Christmas missions offering is named for Lottie Moon. Diminutive in stature (4’3”) but giant in spirit, hers is arguably the most famous Southern Baptist name of all. She was known in China as “Mu La Di” and was one of the first missionaries to wear clothing of her adopted land, to identify totally with the Chinese she wanted to reach for Christ. She was one of the first women of the South to earn a graduate degree and was proficient in languages. She campaigned tirelessly for missions and wrote often to the mission board’s leadership about improvement of missionaries’ support. She advocated for an annual missions offering, the first taken in 1888 when a total of $3315 was enough to support three additional missionaries. Among missionaries her name approaches saintly stature as one who gave of herself relentlessly and ultimately paid with her health and life to share Christ in a foreign setting.
To find free resources for your personal devotionals, SS class, or church go to https://www.imb.org/lottie-moon-christmas-offering. For more on Lottie as a person, see https://www.imb.org/who-was-lottie-moon. Monies given for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering are used 100% for mission causes, 0% for administrative purposes. It is a name and a cause you can trust. Thirty years ago our family was a recipient of that financial support; let’s make sure future generations of missionaries will continue to benefit from Lottie’s legacy