Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Record Setting Lottie Moon Offering - What About You?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Record Setting Lottie Moon Offering - What About You?

The Lottie Moon Offering is the annual SBC Christmas offering used for international missions. In the 118 year history of the offering, this year marks the largest collection ever received at over 150 million dollars. With more than 5,100 missionaries around the world, this kind of offering will have a great impact on not only the ability to sustain our current missionaries, but also provide the means to send more into the field. That means more people coming into contact with the message of Jesus Christ. This is great news.

There is greater news still. According to Thom Rainer, over 17 million people will accept Christ if presented with the Gospel. In his book "The Unchurched Next Door," Rainer develops a type of ranking scale for unbelievers. A "U1" is someone who is very close to following Christ, while a "U5" is completely repulsed by anything spiritual. Rainer develops a theme of "walking across the room" where statistically speaking, the odds are very good that a "U1" is standing nearby, simply waiting to hear the good news they need. While the local SBC member should give a hearty "amen" to the report of the Lottie Moon Offering, our hands are far from being washed of evangelical responsibility. I point the finger at myself. How many restaurant servers, family members, church visitors, and apartment managers have I been in repeated contact with and failed to mention Christ? I serve at a church that is highly motivated to give during the Lottie Moon Offering, the amounts are incredible, but what is the motivation for our motivation? For a higher number than last year or for people to know Christ? If it is indeed the latter, is there a parallel passion for the local "unchurched next door?"

I applaud the SBC for our giving. Will we give and pour not only our wallets into offerings but also our lives into people? The two could be certainly be a powerful combination.

4 Comments:

Blogger Barry said...

We Christians seem to be taught to expect that there are "U1's" or at least "U2's" on every street-corner, just chomping at the bit to find that one thing in their lives that's eluding them, making them miserable and lost without any idea why...

In my experience there are not that terribly many U1's or U2's, nor that many U5's (especially in the South) but most in the U3 to U4 range. People who grew up knowing exactly what Christ was and what he taught and represented, but unwilling to believe that the way to happiness and fulfillment is through Him - rather, they find their own path and are most of the time quite happy with it. They don't see a need for Christ in their lives because their lives are quite fulfilled already, thank you, and don't need the extra restrictions and responsibility.

How do you minister to that group, the ones that don't even realize they may be seeking answers to questions they never asked themselves? When you bring up "Christ is the way to learn the Good News", their response (and justified, in their context) is along the lines of, "What do I need that for? Life's good the way it is right now."

June 06, 2007 10:29 AM  
Blogger The Beast said...

Barry,

Thanks for the comment. Allow me to respond in two ways. First, to your comment about the lack of U1's. According to Rainer, there are 160 million unchurched people in the US. The breakdown of the U1-U5 in percentage is like this:
U5 - 5%
U4 - 21%
U3 - 36%
U2 - 27%
U1 - 11%

So, your experience agrees with the higher percentage of U2-U4 people. However, there is still an 11% group of U1's. And that leads me to my second response.

Presenting the Gospel is not about "making life good." The category of U1 is about people who are receptive to the message of spiritual death in sin, not another version of Oprah Winfrey. So, a U1 might be completely happy in life with wealth, health, etc, but still be on the brink of making a decision for Christ. I am not suggesting that you adhere to the properity message, I don't think you do, but whenever the purposes of Christ are prioritized with anything being #1 except the salvation of souls, there is a problem. So, the way to minister to that group, over time, is to continue to educate them on the purpose of the cross. After all, what is a Christian called to? To die to self, think of others before ourselves, and act in submission to the Father. Not exactly a posterbook for "the good life." But, of course, it is the best life.

June 06, 2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

The problem I see with that mode of thinking is that "following Christ" is a different type of life decision than worrying about where your soul is going to end up.

To me, you have to Follow Christ (caps intended to emphasize it as lifestyle change) in order to save your soul. If someone a) asks for salvation, but b) does not make a significant change in their lifestyle then a) is basically invalid. Begging God to save our souls without acknowledging the things we have to do in our lives to praise him, change how we treat others and ourselves and see Jesus as father and brother is no better than paying off somebody who's holding your soul for ransom.

Or like those journalists who were captured by terrorists a few months ago and forced to renounce the West or whatever or they would be killed - they did, on TV, and were released but later revealed they were saying whatever the captors wanted them to say just so they wouldn't be killed.

If one says, "God, save my soul!!!" without really meaning what all is behind it, they're no better off than if they didn't say it all, really. That's why I think it's more important to teach all those "U's" out there with that message as primary importance rather than the actual salvation part. Otherwise you get the drowning victims looking for any lifesaver thrown to them in the water rather than those who are sincere in their desires to ask forgiveness for sins and turns their lives and hearts to Christ.

June 06, 2007 11:09 AM  
Anonymous rexwilder said...

I don't think the Beast's point was that salvation does not require/result in a life change (although there are certainly some technical points there). In nearly every case it will require/result in a change in the lives of the saved, but, he was responding to Barry's statement what if someone says "What do I need that for? Life's good the way it is right now." I think the Beast was saying the answer to that seems to be following Christ is not about how "good" (which one assumes means I have financial security, good family, job whatever...not my life is good because I am going to heaven, I am in God's will, etc.) one's life can be, but that salvation is necessary to follow God's Word. I have my own thoughts on the whole concept, but I think that's the point. Also, in the response, "That's why I think it's more important to teach all those "U's" out there with that message as primary importance rather than the actual salvation part." What is "that message?" Is it being a good person, doing the "right thing", or what? Because in my thinking those are necessary things that a Christian should be, be that does not distinguish a Christian from any other "good" non-Christian person. So, although it is a great thing to be, I don't see how that helps convince someone that they need salvation or can be taught without the salvation message. Anyway, interesting points.

June 06, 2007 3:11 PM  

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