June 16, 1999
Lottie tops $101 million
___RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--Southern Baptists collected their largest-ever offering for missions during the 1998 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions. When the books closed May 31, total receipts for the offering were $101.7 million, a sixth year of record receipts.
___"While we did not meet our $110 million goal in 1998, we praise God for the largest amount ever received for the offering," said IMB President Jerry Rankin.
___Southern Baptists surpassed the $100 million mark for the first time with the 1997 offering. The 1998 offering is an increase of more than $1.6 million over 1997.
___The record offering is added to a growing list of "first-evers" the IMB is experiencing. The 885 new missionaries sent overseas in 1998 represented a 33.4 percent increase over 1997--more than double the highest net growth of any previous year in the IMB's 154-year history.
___And the record numbers of new missionaries are entering fields where God is drawing people to Christ in record numbers, leaders say. The 333,034 new believers baptized in 1998 marked a 13.1 percent increase over 1997's total. The year also saw 4,223 new churches started, a 25.4 percent increase over 1997, and 31,567 new preaching points established, a 41.7 percent jump.
___More than $102 million of the $110 million offering goal had been earmarked for overseas operations in the 1999 budget. The remaining $8 million budgeted for overseas capital needs will be unfunded. IMB trustees will discuss how to handle the shortfall during their July meeting.
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