Southeastern President Issues Challenge to Support International Missions with “Christmas in August”
WAKE FOREST, N.C. – In the midst of tough economic times Southern Baptists are being challenged to dig deeply and financially support international missions by giving to a special Lottie Moon Christmas offering during August.
Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., said on Tuesday, June 23, at the Southern Baptist Convention that it is his desire to see Southeastern students, alumni and friends, and eventually all of the Southern Baptist Convention, to give so more can go overseas. The challenge came about during a sermon on the text of Romans 15:14-21 in which he said he dreams of Southern Baptists taking the gospel message to non-believers all around the word.
In light of news that the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention – the international missions arm of the SBC – is no longer financially able to send all of the eligible missionaries, Akin said, “It breaks my heart that people want to go, but we don’t have the funds to send them. I am not going to tell our students to look for a home assignment just because of a shortage of funds. I am going to tell them to look for a movement of God to get the necessary funds to get them to the fields.”
To encourage his own students to give sacrificially, trusting God for his provision, Akin announced that on August 25, the day of the Convocation chapel ceremony at Southeastern, he will have a time of offering, so students can support the work of missionaries. The money raised that day will be designated as part of the Lottie Moon Christmas offering, although taking place in August.
Akin said, “Southern Baptists are a Great Commission people. At moments of crisis and need, I have watched our people step up and respond time and time again.” He said the recent shortfall in the annual Lottie Moon Christmas offering “provides us with another opportunity to demonstrate our devotion to Christ and passion for the lost. That is what Christmas in August is all about.”
Akin said he desires that not only Southeastern students give, but that God would ignite a passion for the lost in all Southern Baptists, leading them to give financially in support of missions.
“I believe God will move His people to give joyfully and sacrificially to see that the gospel continues to go forth to the more than 6,000 unreached peoples around the globe,” Akin said. “This is no time to pull back or retreat. I am convinced we won’t!”
Churches around the area are responding to Akin’s encouragement to give in faith. Marty Jacumin, senior pastor Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., said his church will give as part of Christmas in August.
“Bay Leaf Baptist Church has this lost world on our hearts, and we are currently making plans to participate in Christmas in August,” Jacumin said. “Not only do we send, but we also give. My hope is that God will stir the hearts of the people at Bay Leaf to give sacrificially so that the IMB can send as many as are willing to go.”
“I know these are hard economic times, but I also know that we serve a great God, who according to Haggai 2:8, owns all of the silver and gold in this world,” Akin said in a recent email to students, faculty and staff. Akin said it was his desire to challenge churches to have Christmas in August to help make up the shortfall in Lottie Moon giving. “Let’s help bring the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to those who have never heard the gospel before.”