RICHMOND, Va. (BP) – Southern Baptists gave an unprecedented $154 million to the 2013 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, breaking the record for the largest total in the offering's 125-year history.
The 2013 offering, finalized June 5, reached $154,057,852.36. The total represents an increase of nearly $4.8 million over 2012, or 3.2 percent. It tops the previous record, $150.4 million in 2007, by more than $3.6 million, and marks the fourth increase since 2008.
"This gives us an opportunity to reflect on the incredible generosity of Southern Baptists over many years," IMB President Tom Elliff said. "The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering represents well over half of our budget each year, so those who give sacrificially and out of concern for the lost can be assured that an enormous portion of all that happens overseas can be directly tied to their support.
"It's estimated that close to 1 billion people living now are very likely to go through life without ever hearing the Gospel in such a fashion that they can understand it and respond to it in faith," Elliff said. "Our missionaries are 'chasers after darkness.' We're looking for those dark corners of the world where the light of the Gospel has yet to be shed so we can get the message of Christ into the hearts of people who need so desperately to hear about it."